A Slap Up the Side of the HeadMar 24, 2014
Isn't it funny how life is going along smoothly, work is good, home is great, kids doing well then -wham! Yup, that's what's happened to me lately. I'm sure you can all relate. You think life is going one way, then something happens that makes you stop and look at all of it differently. In the past year, one of my closest friends died from cancer. Then in that same year 4 of the 5 of us Grady kids - my siblings and I - have been diagnosed with cancer. My oldest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer last spring, my brother diagnosed with prostate cancer in the fall, one of my other sisters with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in this past week - and on the same day she was diagnosed - I found out the polyp they removed in my first ever colonoscopy two days before was cancerous. Seriously? WTH. None of us were supposed to have cancer.Our mom died when I was 3 and all of our lives changed forever. That price was paid. My dad died of prostate cancer at age 92. OK, I didn't want him to go but he lived a long healthy life. So as all of our diagnosis' kept piling up, and I got the call from my doc, I was so angry. Enough already. As a good friend of mine told me, the foundation of my logic that I would never get cancer was built on a shaky foundation. I know that but in my 5-year-old temper tantrum mood it made sense. We are all fortunate. We all caught it in the early stages. My sister with CLL will have to monitor it the rest of her life and treat as needed, but it can be managed. My other two sibs had successful surgeries. And I am the most fortunate of all. Mine was removed. I will have to have more frequent testing but I now know I can grow cancer, so it's time for some major lifestyle changes. What little of what I heard the doc say - who was caring enough to say let's sit down and talk all of this through once the shock wore off - was that I was the poster child for early screening. Of course I wondered later if they actually used me on a poster if they would show my face or my ass. And I did think how unglamorous of a place it was to have cancer - like anything about cancer is glamorous. So all the small changes I've been incorporating in my life the last few years just went into overdrive. We've been buying mostly organic, my son just started us on juicing a couple weeks ago and our Farm is based on growing organic. Now we're going to totally live the lifestyle. And Roland is with me 100% on all the changes. I'm realistic. I'm still going to occasionally have that food that isn't exactly healthy for me. But that will be 10% of the time - not 50-60%. Three of the biggest risk factors for colorectal cancer are being overweight, not enough activity and smoking. I quit smoking 11 years ago but I'm guilty of the first two. Yeah, not very glamorous. So if you're 50 or over, get the test. Yup, the prep isn't fun, but there are worse things in life. And you'll lose a few pounds too. None of this is written to evoke sympathy. I'm damn lucky and I know it. I have so many friends who have fought cancer and endured treatments, sickness and all the other lousy things that go with this f!@$ing disease. I hate the C word. But as I go along learning more healthy lifestyle tips, I'm going to post them and incorporate them into our lives and our Farm. I'm finally going to get my recipe pages posted. But mostly I'm going to keep living my life, loving my family and friends, enjoying my work, laughing at just about everything and being grateful for all the wonderful things I've been given. It's been a great ride and I plan on it being a much longer one for me and my sibs.