Just wanted to share the following article from the May 8 New York Times called “The Struggle to Move Beyond ‘Why Me?'” It provides a bit of grace and grace is in short supply lately, and I know that each of my loved ones has been struggling with the question of why I got cancer, myself included.
Even for those who do “everything right” – not saying I did, but if I had there’d be no guarantee – things still go wrong. I think that most people diagnosed with a disease in themselves or a child or loved one wonders if they’ve done something to cause it. It’s a natural response, but it can be an exercise in guilt, in self-flagellation. But yet it tugs at the back of the mind….why? Why did this terrible thing happen, and what could we have done to avoid it before we tumbled off the cliff we didn’t see coming?
And while the article author resolves to let things go, in the end, for the beauty of each day, which is the ultimate in pragmatic responses, the larger question that she raises of “Why?” is a crucial one. There are cancer clusters, there are populations such as the women of Marin County where there are just too many cases. I’m not a statistician, but anecdotally, even here in Portland the poor guys at the bone scan center were depressed – they see 3-4 cases EACH DAY of women with breast cancer. That’s too many, and Portland is a fairly health conscious city – it is Oregon afterall, home of the Olympic quality track (in Eugene, Hayward Field) and the original waffle running shoe. Slackers we are not. Perfect no, but pretty darn health conscious, yes.