This post is actually not about breast cancer, it is about praying.

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Someone who is very close to me told me she was diagnosed with breast cancer when she went for her last check up. (Let’s refer to her as Pamela, to make this easy.)  She had some issues with her one breast that had continued for some time, and at the time she and the doctor felt it was related to breastfeeding.

She had stopped breastfeeding, and had gone back to the hospital, and the hospital had run tests.

She told me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer about two weeks ago.  The doctors were running a battery of other tests to see what the severity was of the problem, and she needed to return to hospital yesterday for those tests results, and go through another set which would assist them to decide on the best treatment for her.

I was devastated for her.  She is a mom, and she needs to work.  She cannot be ill, and not earn an income.  But more importantly she cannot die.  I wondered to myself why is this happening to her —– for crying out loud.

I have never tested positive for cancer, so have no idea how it must feel to have someone across the table from you confirm your worst nightmare.  I have no idea how that feels.

I had to have something cut out of an area right next to my eye – which my dermatologist was concerned might be cancer.  Tiny little spot, minor surgery to take it out and send it for a biopsy.  I still sat and thought to myself “is this how it starts, you get a small spot somewhere which turns out to be a cancer that has already spread, and there you are staring at your spot going, it’s only a spot…”

Either way my totally inconsequential spot really scared me, because the word “cancer” had been used.

It turned out to be an inconsequential spot.

Pamela had an appointment yesterday to return to the hospital for her results, and then for them to run more tests and make a decision how aggressively to proceed.

I held her in my thoughts all day.

I have always admired her for the strong, controlled woman she is -and the way she deals with the punches that life throws at her.  She does not fall down in a wet heap, but works through it, stands up, dusts herself off and comes out of the corner with her fists up.

This post is actually not about breast cancer, it is about praying.

I thought to myself yesterday, is it enough to keep Pamela in my thoughts, or is it important that I pray for her?  Or ask other people to pray for her, say via Facebook?

I am agnostic, so praying is already a bit of an issue for me.

I wondered, that if God does exists, in which ever form he/she may be  (I am just going to use he, as this is going to get cumbersome) – and knows everything and is all powerful, then surely he would know the fight that Pamela is going through already, and he would make a decision whether to assist Pamela or not to.

Would praying change the outcome for Pamela — would God be swayed by prayers?

Is he like a cricket umpire who makes a decision, and only reconsiders his decision when the players run up into his face screaming OUT or what ever they scream.  Or does he stand there unmoved, because his decision is his decisions, and he is the umpire?

It started to remind me of IDOLS or America’s Got Talent, and that a person could only move forward if enough people phoned-in in support of that person.  Is the concept of praying sort of the same?

What if no one prayed for Pamela?   Would God still assist her as much or as little as he was going to do anyway, and it was irrelevant whether 1 person prayed for her or 1000 people prayed for her?

There I sat yesterday wrestling with this beast called religion —– and prayer.

I started at one point to reason, what if I prayed for Pamela, even if I technically did not believe in a god, surely then I would still be praying and well that would be good for Pamela.

I reverted back to my proposition that if God was all seeing and all knowing, then he would recognise an insincere request from someone who is not sure whether he exists or not.  Would that count against how he had already decided how Pamela’s results were going to go?

I am not sure.  I really am not.

Pamela had a full day of testing, and the results though still breast cancer, were not as disastrous as she had initially been told.  She is booked for a biopsy on the other breast, so that they can decide on the treatment and do it all at once.

I am not sure how prayer works.

I am not sure how life and the universe works either.

I do like the power that can emanate from people who are collectively thinking the same thing, or hoping for the same thing ….. and no I am not sure how that works either.

If you want to bear Pamela in mind for the 17 November when she has her biopsy please do.

 

 

 

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Breast Cancer Awareness …. awareness is not enough …

So it is October, and it appears to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I think that is great – its a relevant subject and more awareness can’t hurt, right?

Okay, so I am aware of Breast Cancer – so now what?  I can join a Facebook group and update my status profile picture, but really what does that do?

The call to action here should be “Get your arse off the couch, and make an appointment and get that frkn mammogram you have been promising to get and never got!  Go now!”

However I find that does not translate well into a tag line or slogan.

I suggest if you are reading this you pick up the phone and give your local hospital a call, ask to speak to the X-Ray Department and make an appointment for a mammogram.

The test takes about 15 – 30 minutes (assuming you have the benefit of private hospital care) and is somewhat uncomfortable, but hardly as uncomfortable as a pap smear.

Medical Aid covers it (again if you have it) but no doubt you can book it at a public hospital as well.

Once done, you get to skip off and know that you have done a bit more than “be aware” you have got your sh&t together and got a test. Or you are aware that there is an “area of concern” that needs some attention.

Either way, at least you are being an active participant with your breasts, your life and your health.

My challenge today is to knock this message through to 5 bloggers, they in turn get tested – and then knock this on to 5 bloggers they know.

If they have been tested in the last two years they pass it on, as awareness (and hopefully get-off-your-arse-motivation to other bloggers, and readers alike!)

It is like a chain-mail but without the benefit of a promise of a large dollar pay-out, or a veiled threat at the end.  It is what it is – get the test, nothing more, nothing less.

You do get a cool x-ray of your boobies that you can look at, which is almost as good.

The 5 Bloggers I nominate to pick up this challenge are (in no particular order):

Sharon at I believe in Miracles

Laura at Harassed Mom.

Natasha at Raising Men.

Margot at Jou Ma se Blerrie Blog.

Wenchy at The Noctural Wenchy.

Questions (you can answer if you feel like it):

When did you have your first mammogram?  November 2010

Does anyone in your family suffer from cancer?  No, not that I know of.  My mom had a sprinkling of cancer on her skin, but it appeared to be related to sun damage.  I do pop down to a dermatologist once a year, and do drag myself kicking and screaming to a pap smear once a year.

Why have you not gone for a mammogram? I initially ignored all warnings, and figured it ‘would never happen to me” then I listened to a radio interview on CapeTalk and the presenter was interviewing a woman who went from ‘having no breast cancer’ to a full mastectomy within 6 weeks, that is how fast her cancer spread – and she was not even 30!  I poo’d in my pants a bit that day and made an appointment, pronto.

What were your mammogram results?  I had an x-ray which was free from any issues, and then I had a sonar scan, just because I wanted one – and then after a little rub and push from a doctor, was told all is fine and I should come back in two years.  Of course you never know if they have missed something, or something might appear within the two year window …. insert paranoid face here …… I know I should be doing self-examination as well …..

How bad is “going for a mammogram” on a scale of 1 to 10?  Probably around a 2, I’d rather do a mammogram exam than go to the dentist or have a pap smear.

When is your next appointment? I will make it for mid-2012, as the doctor suggested I not do it under two years (he might have said five, but I am sticking to two.)

Do you know anyone who has had breast cancer?  No, I don’t think I do. Unless I do, and they have not told me.

What is my point?  Maybe by bloggers talking about breast cancer and going for mammograms we can encourage other bloggers to make an appointment and readers as well ….. just maybe.

Acknowledge source of image  – David Jay Photography – and huge props to : http://www.thescarproject.org/