Thursday, June 16, 2016

I saw it coming.

Like a lighthouse beam searching the horizon, I was expecting the results. I had been expecting such results for decades; and not once in the twenty years since the first sonogram pointed out an inconsistent blip did I let my guards down.

As a sentinel of my own health and that of my children and spouse, I had been an amateur sleuth all my life, reading books, magazines, going to websites and making lists. My Grocery list included vegetables of all colors, ingredients for home made sauces and dressings, whole grain packets from the four corners of the world, and herbs and spices to kill any foreign invaders that managed to sneak in through mouth, ears, eyes and other cavities. My house ran on natural ingredients for eating and for cleaning, utilizing gallon sized vinegar to flavor salads as well as kill errant ants that sought comfort during a seasonal change.

I even made my own pickles!
And my own yogurts.

We ate locally sourced food, and avoided all additives we could. In addition, I bought books on anatomy and medical issues. Yes, I could have listed all the symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, skin cancer, PTSD, psychosis, schizophrenia, etc., etc., etc.

I was certain that I did everything to prevent major illnesses and conditions, and the only thing I couldn't prevent were freak accidents and bad luck.

Yet, in the back of my mind, every time I went in for a mammogram I had the auspicious feeling that my luck was running out. In my mid fifties I had been watched closely for benign cysts, for enlarged glands, for dense breast tissues. Yes, I had breast-fed my last two children successfully; and yes, I was no longer on birth control pills. (Is this too much information? Sorry!)

Yet, at the ripe old age of 74, yep, some of you could have figured that out, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer a few months ago. I have begun treatments, and I am feeling grateful for the help and knowledge our medical profession has developed for treating this problem.

I didn't panic for too long. I stood up and counted my blessings, actually. I'm old enough to have had a good long life already, raised my children, saw grandchildren born and even about to graduate from college. I have no job and no small children to attend to. I can sit at this computer and spend all morning rattling on and on and on. I can also do my own research.

Yes, if you live past your sixties, you too will start collecting social security, medicare, and a long list of possible diseases that seem to cluster in old age. Sure, you might have a history of these, and you too might see them coming. Like me, you will go on line and school yourself thoroughly on what to do and how to prevent this or that. But we will all die of something or other, even if it is just pure and simple, unadulterated old age.

You must see that coming.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How do we stop gun violence?

Years ago, when I was new to blogging, these lovely badges were passed around freely. I remember the very day I received this one, and thought, really? Really? We need to pass around badges, ribbons and stickers to tell each other THIS IS HONEST STUFF?

Why write a blog at all if our intention is to deceive and to misrepresent ourselves? Why?
And yet, how often are we truly honest? Honest as in I DON'T CARE TO OFFEND YOU, MY READERS. I RATHER OFFEND YOU THAN DECEIVE YOU. We are, after all, dependent on approval and support in just about anything we do.

Take two people in an early relationship. Don't they act absolutely impeccably toward each other? Don't they say just the right thing, at the right time? And when one slips and declares, I TRULY DISLIKE THIS KIND OF MOVIE, CAN'T WE GO SEE SOMETHING ELSE, the relationship begins to be questioned, enters another stage, the stage that questions everything said and done as IS THIS REALLY, REALLY WHAT YOU'D LIKE TO DO? ARE YOU SURE?

The reality is that as social beings we are constantly trying to hide behind the acceptable norms of behavior our culture recognizes. When we slip out of our comfort zone, when we travel out of our range, when we meet people who were not raised as we were, we begin to walk on eggshells, tiptoeing into conversations carefully, for fear of offending the new relationships. Sometimes, we forget to tiptoe, and rush in and act exactly as we do in the bosom of our privacy, saying and doing things and displaying our honest selves in all its blinding colors.

Yes, religion and politics will be the subjects that will allow us to stumble and fall, or worse.

And yet, how do we truly expand our horizons if we only discuss bland subjects, make only idle chatter to remain good neighbors, to be accepted in the company of that golf group, or the social club where most of our friends entertain or are entertained? How do we learn if we don't walk in each other's shoes? How do we share if we are not honest?

I've shared posts on Facebook that have declared war on some subjects. And I'd like very much to open that conversation in an amicable way, not with standard phrases we have heard repeated over and over again, but in phrases that open back the conversation, phrases such as: