Pray, pray, pray… I have had a difficult relationship with religion, or rather with people who feel that they are the divine interpreters of it. I have always believed that who we worship is good and kind. I have never lost that belief, but… in the first 24 hours after I was diagnosed with breast cancer I had someone say to me, “Do you know why you have breast cancer?” I, of course, said, “No,” and they replied, “It’s because you are a heathen and going to hell.” And in their next breath they said, “By the way, I have had breast cancer twice, but god gave it to me so I can minister to you heathens.” This truly was the most unhelpful and hurtful thing that was said to me during my journey, and she wasn’t the only one who thought that way…many others felt, and said, the same thing. I am sure our gods never intended for people to say such unkind things to one another in the spirit of love, faith and religion.
So yes, pray, pray, pray is a very good thing and I have been blessed with many loving and kind people who have done that for me, and with me-from many different faiths. I have never lost my belief in god… but I am very weary now of people who come up to me and say, “Do you know why you have breast cancer?” It’s kind of like the knock, knock joke with the dumb punch line, and the answers have been: a) you don’t breathe properly, b) you must have drunk out of plastic bottles, c) you didn’t take Amway vitamins (which apparently cure everything), or d) you didn’t eat enough fruit and veggies (don’t worry, I did), and on, and on…
The fact is, one in eight Canadian women will have breast cancer. So the next time you are at a function, look around you and think, if there are 100 women in the room, 10 to 12 either have it, or will get it in their lifetime. Next time you go shopping, watch closely and you will see those in treatment walking through the mall with their heads in a cap, hat or wig… watch closely and you will see the women who are carrying all of their bags in one hand vs. two (because they are too sore to use their other arm). Watch closely when you see a women use a handicap door and you think to yourself, “She’s not handicapped!” (She may very well be because the doors are too heavy due to surgery, chemo and radiation for her to open them without assistance.)
We pray, pray, pray that we can live well, without pain, and with hope. We pray for the families who have said goodbye to a loved one due to breast cancer and the loss of our friends. We pray for a cure. We pray every time a star falls or we find a penny on the ground. And we live with fear, hope, love and laughter every day.
Life is good!
Jordan is a Best Health reader and guest blogger. Find links to all of her posts on the Breast Cancer Blog home page.