Cancer - among the reasons we love Science
I’ve lost my Atheist Mother to Colon cancer, my Aunt to Breast cancer. My Agnostic father’s fought Prostate cancer off. I’ve lost an ex-boyfriend to mesothelioma. I lost him and other friends and acquaintances I was out of touch with, and then found out about their suffering only after their death.
I recently lost a friend, one who I dated, to Pancreatic Cancer and I have another friend and former housemate fighting for her life against a resurgence of breast cancer.
I find myself asking if mere words can even express my frustration with this killer? I ask why haven’t we beat this yet? Less than a week after hearing about my friend being diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer I learned that an early detection test had finally been developed. (http://www.independent.co.uk/
news/science/the-first-early- test-for-pancreatic-cancer-- devised-by-15yearold-jack- andraka-8604473.html )
Too late for my friend and many others, some who may not even have been diagnosed yet, because this test will take so many years to become a standard part of preventive medicine. I’m frustrated with the slowness of the US’ health care system and the puny efforts that the Affordable Care Act actually are, and how hard won it’s actually been.
I’m frustrated and outraged at the stonewalling by the entitled against ACA and the political attacks on Medicare. I see the statistics and read about the probable causes of cancer and wonder when the US will wake up to realize just how sick we are making ourselves with sugared sodas (especially in our schools), suckling on the glass teat while consuming mass produced sugar and fat filled foods, and allowing those same companies to buy our politicians and our future. Will we see the bread and circuses for what they are in time?
So I’m well aware that it sounds like I’m still in the anger stage of loss. Good! I think, because I’d like to stay angry. Anger sounds better because acceptance is just a little too much like apathy! However, at the same time I’m filled with despair at how little I feel like I can do about Cancer. I send away money to fund research, I share about these things here and elsewhere, and I look to my own health and try to improve it and encourage others to make smarter daily choices too, but I still end up feeling inadequate. I still feel helpless against this killer.
I’m well aware from the services I’ve attended, from the wakes, viewings, hushed conversations in public restrooms, and from persuading my father away from just curing himself with prayer, - from all of this and more, I’m aware that the religious take refuge in their delusions in these times of trouble, but what do we Atheists do? What do we take refuge in? Where do we find our hope again? How do we find the fuel to fight our funks and get out of bed every day?
I think it’s the anger actually, that and the love of science and all the hope it engenders.