Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cancer Sucks

This morning I was feeling really discouraged after a conference call, feeling like my company doesn't really value what I or my peers do. My house is a mess--no matter how often I sweep the floor or pick up clutter, the dust and clutter multiply tenfold--I just can't keep up with it while spending quality time with my children. And keeping up with my three children and their variety of activities and moods...it is exhausting sometimes to have three children and to work outside the home full-time.

However....lest I wallow in self-pity...I cannot. I have my health, and my children and immediate family do as well. We have a roof over our heads, plenty to eat, enough $ to do fun things, and a huge amount of love and laughter in our home and our circle of family and friends. We are not fighting cancer.

Recently, cancer is everywhere I turn...
  • Last fall the daughter of an acquaintance (who used to go to our church) went off to start her freshman year at Princeton and was diagnosed with a massive tumor in her chest...and has been home in Portland undergoing chemo all year. Her mom just shaved her head as a fundraiser for children's cancer, and to match her daughter's bald head.
  • In our Boise office, the IT lead has had a recurrence of cancer, to the extent that involved a 9-hour surgery to remove several major organs...and a followup surgery because of complications that was akin to a liver transplant.
  • Also in Boise, two of my staff are dealing with cancer...one has a husband who was recently diagnosed with throat cancer, and another has a 27-year-old daughter who has an inoperable brain tumor and months to a few years to live. This blog post was written by the former pastor of the employee whose daughter has the brain tumor.
  • My aunt has had a recurrence of malignant melanoma on the back of her leg. The prognosis is good, but melanoma is damn scary.
  • Our small church community has been stricken with an astonishing number of cases of cancer over the past several years. Two people have died from it, one a very sweet, older man, and the other a vibrant woman in her 40s, leaving behind two sons and a husband. In recent months, there have been more cases of colon, breast, and mouth cancer amongst otherwise healthy people.
  • Several days ago I learned that another of my coworkers has been dealing with breast cancer.

Cancer sucks. There's got to be some sort of environmental link going on, because man, it's everywhere. And compared to any piddly little stress I feel related to my job, how I feel my parenting skills might be lacking, or how guilty I feel that I'm not devoting enough time to my marriage, children, friends, or extended family...it's all nothing. Life is too short to waste time on feeling guilty, stressed, or angry. Life is too uncertain to waste energy on holding grudges.

At a recent training I attended, someone led us in a yoga exercise, in which we were to take three slow cleansing breaths and stretches, while saying the following:

"Oh no!"

"Oh crap!"

"Oh well."

Oh well is right. My life is full of blessings, and I need to thank my lucky stars I'm not dealing with cancer. And I'm praying for those I know who are dealing with it themselves or supporting their loved ones through the ordeal...for peace, for wisdom, and for the strength to fight and the will to survive.

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