If You’re Smad and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!

I was reading an article by author Barbara Ehrenreich today, and this is exactly how I felt,

I’ve often thought of this clip from The Gilmore Girls whenever it applies to my life, and it really does sum up how I’m feeling. I’m sad. I’m mad. What the heck? I really am feeling smad! The thoughts Barbara shared about her life experiences with cancer and how mad it made her when people told her to always focus on the positive…

“Breast cancer, I can now report, did not make me prettier or stronger, more feminine or spiritual. What it gave me, if you want to call this a ‘gift’, was a very personal agonizing encounter with an ideological force in American culture that I had not been aware of before–one that encourages us to deny reality, submit cheerfully to our misfortune, and blame only ourselves for our fate.”

I can empathize with what she has learned; I feel a lot of what she shared can apply to just about anyone with a chronic or terminal illness, which we will delve into more in part 2 of this discussion.  What frustrates me about breast cancer is that I can’t help but wonder where all that money goes.  Last Friday there was a live benefit on television.  In malls throughout the country, you can walk into a Race for the Cure store to buy all of the pink objects you want that are representative of a cure.  And then there’s the annual Race for the Cure all around the country.  Unfortunately, this is an organization I can’t support anymore now that I know they are testing on animals.  If testing on animals all this time hasn’t resulted in a cure, then maybe something should be done differently.  If people are donating millions if not billions of dollars towards finding a cure, and we still don’t have one for any kind of cancer, then I have to truly wonder, “Where is all that money being spent?  Isn’t the definition of insanity  doing the same thing over and over, even when it’s proven to not work?”   Unless, of course, the organizations who say they support cancer research and the medical profession don’t want us to discover a cure for their own benefits, most likely that of profiting from this horrible disease.

I am cynical and believe that is what’s happening.  Even the insurance companies are in bed with our doctors.  Did you know that a mammogram does not detect all tumors for breast cancer?  Even the three-dimensional mammogram that is being utilized sparingly can’t detect anything for sure.  The only procedure that can definitely diagnose breast cancer is an ultrasound.  If this is true, and I’m sure there is research out there that has the facts, then why are women wasting our time with mammograms of any kind?  Logic would say that the ultrasound would be used immediately as a diagnostic tool.  One thing we know for sure is that time is of the essence, and it just makes me so smad that anyone should have to go through two other diagnostic tools that simply don’t work.  If a diagnostic machine doesn’t identify ALL cancerous cells, and the ultrasound does, what is the issue?  “Duh!” is the smartest thing I can think of when it comes to this.

Of course, Ms. Ehrenreich also discusses the fact that the cause of her cancer was a result of the medications her doctors prescribed for her health.  I know of another woman who got cancer as the result of radiation treatment she had gotten 20 years prior to her diagnosis, which is what they used to treat her Hodgkin’s Disease. And now a friend has been diagnosed with a form of cancer that is caused by the environment.  Why aren’t we being educated about all of these different causes so that we can be proactive with our lives?  What is the secret, and why is it a secret?

Here’s an opportunity for you to read her article yourself and weigh in on this discussion.  The X-Files cynicism that still remains within me makes me think that there is a cure sitting in a laboratory refrigerator somewhere.  But since the cure won’t be as profitable as everything else cancer patients are forced to undergo, it will continue to sit there…Perhaps, those who know it exists have heavy hearts and feel guilty about holding onto a true life saver.  But someone has to take a stand and ask these questions.  Where has all the money gone, and why hasn’t a cure been found for one of the most debilitating diseases of the last century?
http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/02/cancer-positive-thinking-barbara-ehrenreich/print

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