Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Five from RegGalBlogPals

1. What modern convenience/invention could you absolutely, positively not live
My internet. I suppose that's two: computer and internet. I have on line friends I've never met. I keep in touch with friends from real life. I order stuff. I can't write a sermon without this.
I listen to the radio (the local NPR switches from the talking stuff to classical music at 9 am so I listen to KQED or Michigan Radio). I watch instant movies on Netflix.

2. What modern convenience/invention do you wish had never seen the light of day?
Why? Fake/fast food. It is no good for us. It's so easy. High fructose corn syrup is IMHO the root of the obesity crisis in the US. (I hope with the cost of corn rising, sugar will become the sweetner of choice.)

3. Do you own a music-playing device older than a CD player? More than one? If
so, do you use it (them)? My CD players are integrated with a radio. I listen to music on my iPod. I finally got all my CDs ripped onto iTunes.

4. Do you find the rapid change in our world exciting, scary, a mix...or something
else? I generally like change. I'm not sure whether it's rapid. I think everything we have today has been around for at least 20 years. We've had cell phones since the 80s. My first job in 1968 was as a computer programmer. Most of the difference is cost and ubiquity.

5. What did our forebears have that we have lost and you'd like to regain? Bonus
points if you have a suggestion of how to begin that process.

I really can't think of much. Let's see, the number of women who died in childbirth? The hard physical work of keeping house and farming? Limited options for women? No antibiotics?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Love or Fear?

I am an amateur photographer. I read Outdoor Photographer. Dewitt Jones writes a column for the magazine. This month's column focuses on love or fear. The article is here.

I went to church yesterday. Everyone was wonderful, happy to see me. I had only one woman say "You will be OK. Attitude is 75% of what happens to you." I just kept smiling. I know attitude is important, but I don't believe it is as important as some people keep saying. And because it carries a bit of blame the victim when things don't go well (as with if you have enough faith, then you will be cured), it really aggravates me.

I went to the Episcopalian church last night for the first time in about five months. They alternate a Taize and Celtic Eucharist each Sunday evening. It is so wonderful to sit in the cool, slightly darkened sanctuary filled with candles. And to have communion every Sunday.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ovarian Cancer. Seems I'm one of the lucky 26000 women who will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year. If that sounds a bit bitter, it is. I just never imagined this would happen to me. A stroke, yes. Heart attack, maybe. But ovarian cancer, that could never happen to me.

A bit hard to come to terms with, I'm afraid. Although from what the surgeon says, the future looks good, it is still difficult. I really feel as if it's happening to someone else, not me. It's a bit bizarre.

I'm planning to go to church on Sunday. I will need to steel myself for all the "everything happens for a reason" "God has [his] purpose in everything" folks. You see, I don't believe God lets/causes bad things to happen to people. The evil in this world is against God's plan for humanity and is of our own creation. The natural things that happen: tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, happen because that is the way the world is made. God suffers with us and weeps when we cause pain to ourselves, others and God's creation. There are folks in my congregation who have lost children (there are much, much worse things than having ovarian cancer) and who have managed to survive by believing somehow it was God's plan. I don't feel it is my place to impose my beliefs on them, but I can't stand hearing that this is God's plan for me. I will want to scream "No, that's not who God is." But I will try my best to smile and thank them for their concern.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I've been away for a while. Seems I have/had ovarian cancer. I had been complaining of tiredness since October (Doc: "Could it be psychological?") and then a number of other things happened to my body. I was in for a partial thyroidectomy on March 27 when I finally convinced yet another doc to take a look at my abdomen. "Hmmm, this is not right." After reporting to my surgeon (who had told me that it was a violation of Einsteins law of conservation of matter and energy that I could have gained 10 pounds in a month eating nothing but yoghurt, cottage cheese and cereal) what the "this is not right" doc had said, the surgeon ordered a CT scan. Mass in my abdomen that measured 25 cm (that's 10 inches). Went home on March 28, back in the hospital on March 31 for more surgery. The 7.5 pound tumor was malignant, but the surgeon thinks I won't need chemo.

I had none of the risk factors for ovarian cancer (except my Dad had colon cancer late in life) and I had every one of the factors that mitigate against having ovarian cancer. I did have every one of the symptoms (such that they are) of ovarian cancer, but no one seemed to pick up on it.

I think I was very lucky that it was found early. My frustration is that it took so long to get a doctor to take me seriously. I had four different doctors examine my abdomen and no one of them thought it unusual, even though it was hard and I looked seven months pregnant.

And so, now, almost two weeks after the surgery, I am beginning to come to terms with it.

I had always imagined that I would live into my 90s. I am very healthy. My great health fear is stroke and so I have been exercising (part of my symptoms was my inability to exercise) for years and trying to eat relatively well. I have no family history of cancer before the onset of old age, so this was well off my radar screen.

Now, I am old enough to know that I am finite. I preach on the finitude of humanity a lot. But, I don't believe it, not deep in my gut. I can do anything.

Life is short. I hope that I can begin to live more intentionally, savoring each moment.