I am truly thankful this Thanksgiving. I had a bad scare (abnormal pap smear) and just found out today that I'm fine but it could just have easily gone the other way for me as it has for countless other women. We have lost so many brilliant minds and talented artists to uterine, cervical, and ovarian cancer. I thought about Gilda Radner many times this week, I still miss her wit and vitality.
Of course when you are waiting for results you explore all the *what if's* in your mind. One decision I made and am going to put to legal paperwork next week is the decision to donate my body to science upon my death (40 years from now, lol). In all seriousness, medical students have to learn their craft on cadavers. There is always a need and always a shortage. By giving the most personal part of yourself, your body, to these students and helping them in their education you are also helping them to learn and potentially, in the future, save your children.
I wanted to ask my friends on FB to consider this alternative to burial or cremation. Not only will it further science and help our children to live longer but you also spare you family from the excesses of burial and funeral costs. I don't see the need for a memorial myself because, Honey, if I didn't give you enough to remember me by while I was here you won't miss me when I'm gone. ;)
I don't write this lightly, or to stomp on anyone's belief system. I was a nurse and I will *always* be concerned with health and the human condition. In 1990 one of the most devout christians I ever knew died of AIDS he received in a blood transfusion. He was my hero. He allowed the Dr's to try whatever they thought would help because, in his words, "I know I'm dying but I want to try to beat this disease in any way I can, God would want that." What he suffered from the disease and the attempts at a cure were unimaginable but he never wavered. His strength of spirit and conviction were boundless and I still stand in awe of what he accomplished. He was just a little farmer from the country. In the end he donated his body to science.
This man and many others like him made it possible for ppl who are HIV positive to live happy productive lives for years instead of dying horribly (which they did back then, in droves). Many of those men I took care of became more than patients, they became friends. Every time I hear someone talk about how they've lived for 10+ years after diagnosis these are the men and women I think about. These are the heros.
I miss you Virgil, I still think about you, especially around this time of year. I hope your spirit is resting peacefully and am thankful for the good you did and the chance I had to know you.
So, as you can tell by what I've written, it's more than just cancer that affects my decision. I've seen so much suffering in my career and it was always my goal to alleviate it. To me, it is only logical to continue to do that as long as I can.
I'm posting this to my blog as well. Much love to all of you and Happy Thanksgiving! Hug the ones you love. <3