Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October again.

October again. Daylight shrinks, shadows return.

Another friend diagnosed with breast cancer, just in time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Thank you AstraZeneca, another ribbon for my car.

Early detection is the best prevention. Early detection is the best prevention. Early detection is the best prevention. Early detection is the best prevention. Early detection is the best prevention. Early detection is the best prevention. Early detection is the best prevention. Early detection is the best prevention. Early detection is the best prevention.

The best prevention is avoiding the carcinogens that cause breast cancer. Women are disposable, breasts even more so.

My life's love and I agreed I would go first, that's the deal. She has a cyst the size of Kansas on her brain, perhaps a result of her getting struck by a car a decade ago, perhaps congenital, who knows? It's October--these things happen in October.

The brain surgeon told us she's OK, so I'm better now. A deal's a deal. We spent the weekend playing on the beach. Beaches are good places for playing. Every low tide reminds us of mortality--you can smell death. Every high tide reminds us of redemption.

In Old English, "tid" means "due time"--folks still died back then, but I hear we've been cured of all that death nonsense now.

Back at the shore, the sweet stench of death alternates with the fresh flood of life, twice a day.

I picked up a few dried carcasses of horseshoe crabs. They've been around a bit, and will no doubt be around long after humans are gone, a reminder that our cerebral cortices and opposable thumbs may be a bit overrated.

Low tide is around noon this Saturday. I will dig up a few clams from the dying mud, and eat them.

It's that time of year again.

This was written a year ago today. Breast cancer killed my mom. AstraZeneca was once part of Imperial Chemical Industries, a producer of vinyl chloride products associated with (you cannot make this stuff up) breast cancer. I'm too old to play nice anymore. The Pink Ribbon campaign is cynicism at its worst, naively perpetuated by people who hope for the best.


Louise Maine said...

I am sorry about the loss of your mom. My mom had breast cancer and chose the route of mastectomy to increase her odds. She is lucky. Hers was found very early in a mammogram (it would have been missed if she would have kept the two earlier mammograms - the machine was broken - gotta love small town life - it bought her the 4 months for that one to start to grow).

I love the "Better living through chemistry" way of life we now seem to chase. I avoid it at all costs. Let's just say the chemical engineer and architect we know can't have many conversations at our dinner table. My husband too, he is a finance man (though he is showing more signs of my common sense).

doyle said...

I think that our inability to have conversations may be what ultimately kills our culture.

We've become so specialized in our work that we've managed to separate what we do from what we're responsible for.

My mom, too, had a mastectomy. And chemo. And radiation. And more surgery. And more chemo. And more radiation.

At the end, when it was clear she was going to die, she wanted to continue her brain radiation, so as not to hurt the feelings of her radiation oncologist (and, I suspect, because my mom had a thing for finishing anything you start).

My sister's work in environmental activism stemmed from my mom's disease--Mary Beth realized it was the environment that killed our mother.

Mary Beth was killed by a Christian missionary who ran her off the road, left her to die, then sent me a letter telling me it was God's will.

What a world. I am still recovering from losing her. If I ever recover, watch out. In the meantime, I'll keep fiddling while the world burns.