Friday, February 11, 2011


INDIANAPOLIS - Some of us try really hard to learn all we can during the time we are given, and sometimes absorbing all of that data makes our brains hurt. I have, for the past five years, read about cancer on a daily basis. No exaggeration; I’ve read about everything from cancer fundraisers in every little town across America to landmark research being conducted at the highest levels of scientific study. Yet, every time I finish reading that day’s updates, I realize that my scope of knowledge just got smaller, not larger.

Most articles are inflammatory – created, it seems to be less informative and more to create panic about a drug or procedure. It so happens that there is new research about the potential of threat for women who opt for reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy. This news hit, as a fabulous irony, as I was on the phone scheduling my own mastectomy and reconstruction. Niiiiicceeee.

And yes, of course there are studies out there that people should read. I have the FDA website bookmarked, that place is a veritable font of really cool information. But, I don’t let it scare me, I just use it for ongoing attempts to find wisdom.

Which brings us to knowledge, and the lack thereof. Are there risks with this surgery? Absolutely, and everyone I’ve spoken to has indicated that they were all well aware of them before they went in themselves. But, the people that have talked to me about this – many, many from around the WORLD – say that they were comfortable with their wisdom. Not that they knew everything about the procedure, or the technical design of their prosthetics, etc. But, that they knew enough about their doctors. About the research they have been funding for years. About their own self-awareness. About the myriad of clinical trials and tests in which we have all participated. About how they wanted to live their lives. About the fact that we, as a "cancer nation," have come so far that we aren’t about to start walking backwards.

Mostly, it’s in our hearts. Which is where knowledge becomes wisdom, in my opinon. We will do what we can with whatever we have so little peanuts like this one can say "I remember when my mama used to talk about cancer. I’m so glad we don’t have to worry about that any more."

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