Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer’

The other day I was reading a blog that I follow.  The fellow is fighting early onset Alzheimer’s and in this latest posting he was sharing his anger.

At God. At everything.

He discussed his feelings with a friend who is a pastor.

Wanted to know why he feels so angry. This is what the pastor told him.

“You have a right to be angry,” he tells me. “It’s okay at times to be angry at God. The book of Psalms is filled with such raw emotion, asking the Lord to ‘rouse thyself.’ We all think God is sleeping at times. ‘Wake up, we say, get on the job!’ The anger is understandable, yet misdirected. God doesn’t impart disease, but the Lord will use illness to bless.” 

Some weeks later, this same pastor delivers a sermon to the congregation. Says that they all have a choice when walking through the darkest valley. He said, “Don’t squander the opportunity. Grow through what you go through.”

That’s a difficult thing.

He then shared a parable with the congregation. I had never heard it before this.

A young woman went to her mother. Told her how things were so hard for her. She wanted to give up because she was tired of fighting and struggling. Seemed as one problem was solved another one arose.  

The mother brings her into the kitchen. Brings three pots to a boil. Puts carrots in one. An egg in the second pot. Ground coffee beans in the the third pot. 

Twenty minutes later the mother takes them out of the pots. Puts the carrots in a bowl. Then places an egg in another bowl. Ladles coffee into the third bowl.  

Asks daughter what she sees. 

Daughter replies, “Carrots, egg and coffee.” 

Mother brings the carrots to her and asks her to feel them. She does and finds that they are soft.

Then the mom asks her to take the egg and break it. The daughter finds a hardboiled egg under the shell. 

Mother then asks daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiles as she tastes the rich, aromatic coffee.  

“What does it mean, Mother?” 

The mother explained that these objects all faced the same adversity: boiling water.

Each reacted differently.

The carrots went in strong, hard and unrelenting. But after being subjected to boiling water the carrots softened and became weak. 

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting in the boiling water its insides became hardened. 

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.  

I have friends who are currently facing adversity. In the form of breast cancer, early onset Alzheimer’s, divorce, the loss of a beloved child and the loss of a loving spouse.

All of us face or will face some type of adversity in our lives. Comes in many different forms. Visible and sometimes not so visible.

I suppose we cannot escape these things that are totally beyond our control.

Okay, so what exactly can we do?????????

We can be coffee.






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Last November, I was on a phone call with my mother.

We were always in email contact- but I always made regular phone calls since the old man wasn’t “on email” or on “the machine.”

Usually I  spoke with Mom first and then she would let Dad know I was on the line. As if if he didn’t already know.

Always preempting it with, “Pat, pick up! It’s your favorite daughter!”

This call was different. There was something in her voice.

I immediately asked, “What’s wrong?  Are my brothers ok? Is it Dad?”

She said,”No, it’s me. I have breast cancer.”


My Mom.

She proceeded to tell me the details and sounded very positive.

I was able to relay something I heard at an American Fundraiser here in Kuala Lumpur the previous month, “There are more women living with breast cancer than dying from it.”

I’m glad I had this in my grab bag because I am not sure how I would have handled it.

It’s my mom.

Do you know how excruciating it is to be so far away?

Dad gets on the phone.

I said, “Mom shared with me.”

He says, “I didn’t want her to tell you kids. I didn’t wan’t you to worry.”

I said, “Dad, I get that. But what if she needed a woman to talk to about it? Someone besides you??”

There was a sigh on the other end of the line. He hadn’t considered that.

Glad I shocked him into that.

I get that. I’m the same. We all want to protect our kids. We don’t want them to worry. Ever.

But that’s not always fair.

The funny thing is that my mother is probably the first person I would call if I was sick or needed help. Maybe I am just a baby and selfish. Or maybe that’s how it goes.

Our lives would soon change. Not due to Mom’s breast cancer and then a lung cancer diagnosis three months later. But because my Dad faded away in the midst of it all.

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Almost the end of October! My, how time flies!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everyone knows that.

And everyone knows someone who has battled this terrible disease. Some have lost the battle but many have won.

I recently attended an American Association of Malaysia benefit for this cause. One of the things I learned was not just that one in eight women will be stricken with it. But that many more women are living with breast cancer today than dying from it.

Because of early detection. Get your mammograms. Check yourself.

For you hipsters with iPhones there is even an app. Check it out. And check yourself.

It matters. You matter.

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