Sometimes we struggle with introductions, blurbs, short biographies, anything that might touch beyond the shells we carefully construct. Then, one day something comes along to blow your construct into dust. Such it seems, has happened to me this week when I least expected it. I’ve been through therapy with this only to have my therapist tell me “sometimes you never get ‘over’ a loss – you simply learn ways to get around the deepest part of the grief and carry on.”
I don’t know how to carry on. My best friend died in my arms from an insidious, evil disease. There hasn’t been a “tinker’s damn” worth of research done into it. In fact, in the nearly 30 years since my best friend’s death, women’s health issues are still considered of minor significance. Heart disease is the largest killer, however since the symptoms for a woman are quite different from a man’s, there has not been a widespread campaign to educate the public or even health professionals in the furthest corners of America.
There is no test that is 100% accurate and indicative for ovarian cancer. There are blood tests to see if a woman carries the gene for breast cancer, but even those can be flawed and some women that don’t test positive for the BRCA will still get breast cancer. Worse still, even with interventional mammograms, there was be aggressive forms of the disease that will ‘sneak past’ any diagnostic; leaving behind mourning families and friends.
The state of women’s health in this country is pathetic because of the allowances made for superstition to permeate the halls of government. There, I said it. Whatever personal beliefs you have should be left at the door when determining healthcare and the monies needed for research and indigent care for the populace. It would be almost entertaining for a voting male member of our Congressional houses to be suddenly struck with the monthly pain of endometriosis or PCOS.
This is an election year, and I am very, very aware of the high level of angst, anxiety, and anger flowing like cheap beer at a frat party. I am going to ask politely that you step back from the rhetoric, step back from the fear-mongering, step away from whatever media you’re watching and do some quick, reliable research on your own. Look at the advancements made in testicular cancer versus anything remotely resembling the same for ovarian cancer. Look at the statistics for survival of coronary artery disease for men versus women. Look at the statistics for diabetes and alcoholism amongst the First Nation tribes. Do the same for childhood mortality amongst the poor.
I think I have a handle on why I have this repeated grief. No steps of any significance have been made for those of us that don’t have access to quality health care, save for the ACA. Even this piece of legislation is flawed because it allows for someone’s mom or dad or sister or son to fall through the cracks. I’m still grieving my friend because of the thousands of folks that are dying needlessly. Folks that could have been my friend, folks that were treasured and beloved, folks that could have goofed off and accidentally created something monumental for the human species. But, we’ll never know because of greed and shortsightedness and stupid, insane superstition.
I’m just one sobbing mess of a human creature right now. Selfishly crying because I lost my best friend nearly thirty years ago to ovarian cancer. I can’t look at daffodils the same way, and in some years I can’t even function beyond the darkness of a bedroom and a case of tissues. Maybe this year, exercising my voice and my vote will have the effect of a pebble tossed onto the still surface of a pond. It sure beats sitting here sobbing, because I still can’t say “Goodbye.”