Friday, October 16

Stinkin Thinkin

"Doing the Footwork"

"Making Strides"
ACS Discovery Shop - Sherman Oaks, CA

"Boobies in the Spotlight"
Hudson Playhouse - Hollywood, California

"Think Pink"
ACS Discovery Shop Sherman Oaks, CA

Three of my closest friends have survived breast cancer. Two of them chose to have double mastectomies and one had a lumpectomy. All three have been cancer free for over ten years. Early detection is critical. Another vital element of beating cancer is attitude. All of my friends value good mental health and prevention. A positive, victimless attitude seems to be the key to beating cancer and keeping it away.

Today, I met Tracy, a woman going through chemo for colon cancer. Three years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent aggressive treatment and seemed to have the disease on the run when her doctor discovered that she had colon cancer. She explained that it was rare for anyone to have two types of treatable cancer at the same time and she was finally completing chemo and radiation for both diseases. I met her while she was searching for sympathy cards, something beautiful to send a friend of hers. She had a surgical mask over her mouth to prevent others from contracting the bronchial infection she was struggling with.

"Oh boy," I thought. "This conversation is going to be a downer."

While we talked about her ordeal, I noticed that she was very matter-of-fact and informative about both diseases.

"I have enough drama in my life right now without manufacturing it. I appreciate your genuine interest and concern. It's lonely fighting cancer. Thank you for taking a minute and talking with me," she explained in response to my comments and questions. She was gracious.

I could tell she was getting tired and within minutes she bought some cards and colorful knick knacks and was out the door. I had anticipated a negative experience and received a needed lesson in hope. Faced with destruction, she was thoughtful enough to wear a face mask while sick, she was sensitive to my level of understanding of horror, and recognized that both of us would benefit from positive, hopeful and life affirming observations (i.e., lovely colors, the benefits of supporting programs that fight cancer, smiles). She was a ray of sunshine. I saw how she focused on the moment, how she cherished these seconds without pain and weakness, and I felt blessed to share them with her.

As desperate as it may seem to live moment to moment, I believe that this immediacy is what transcendence is all about. This moment is real and to go beyond our experiences, we need reality as a springboard. I realized that anticipating, second guessing, being defensive blocked my initial moments with Tracy. Because of Tracy's generous spirit, she found the words to connect with me and give me a real moment. Something to hold onto as I struggle beyond my limitations and obstacles. A real moment with a real person. What a gift!

May all beings know health and love!