She lives far away, and I can't be by her side. I feel remote and haunted, but she is handling it with this incredible grace that I don't know quite how to describe.
I can't seem to stop thinking about cancer, its insidiousness, sneaky and horrible like random violence. Yet I have not even dared to go to a website and study it the way I study literally every single other thing that affects or interests me.
It is on my mother's side of the family, this cancer potential. My mother's sister, Ruthie, died of breast cancer 20 years ago. Ruthie's son, my cousin, Lane, died of stomach cancer 10 years ago. My mother survived breast cancer with a lumpectomy and radiation 6 years ago.
And now my sister. She had a clean mammogram in July, found a suspicious lump in March, and here we are now.
My sister is a warrior, a petite, shy woman with a gun and knife collection that would shock you. From the start of all this, she has seen cancer as an enemy, something to be attacked calmly and methodically, something that can't be allowed to glimpse any weakness.
She's a Girl Scout whose motto is preparedness and survival, so she spent the weeks leading up to her surgery arranging every practical thing so that she could survive afterward.
And she has this huge faith in the strong arms of God holding her up and the bigger picture of which this life is only a tiny part.
My mother called me last night, and I felt myself turn back into a frightened child. I asked her, my voice small, "Mama, how do I keep from getting cancer too?"
I have my instructions now: vegetables and exercise, regular mammograms, eating breakfast, adding blueberries into my cereal, the usual list. Follow my dreams and be happy because life is short.
Life is short and we are all precious! I hope you are all taking good care of yourselves, dear readers, adding blueberries to your breakfast cereal and following your dreams.
*Good article about anti-cancer healthy eating.
- Turmeric (one of the main spices in curry)
- Green tea (more than 3 cups a day)
- Veggies & fruits (5 or more a day)
- Less meat (12 ounces a week)
- Fewer sweets (try fruits and berries instead)
- Agave syrup (instead of sugar)
- Omega-3 oils (olive, canola or flax seed)
- Watch out for cancer-causing growth hormones in meats and dairy
- Try to eat organic if possible.
- Get more exercise