I feel as though I may have been a bit rash yesterday.
The issue at hand is still very real, and very important to me, but the immensity of the project at hand is overwhelming.
Globally, more than 10 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. In 10 years the World Health Organization expects that number to grow by 50%. On top of that, nearly everything we eat or do seems to cause cancer: fried food, baked food, Barbecued food, air fresheners, shampoos, stain removers, even some of our children’s’ toys.
It’s enough to consume a person. Part of the reason for this project is to find a way to prevent cancer from taking over, either physically or mentally, but it is a lot to digest.
So, as I sit over my green tea, which reportedly has some pretty powerful cancer fighting properties, I find myself seeking ways to break this idea into manageable chunks. The season of Lent is 40 days. I have already used two of those. It leaves me with approximately 5 weeks to work with.
Here’s my plan. I’m breaking it down to five different topics within which I hope to explore ways to prevent cancer from either physically manifesting itself in my body, or those of my family, or from taking over my mental clarity as I walk the road of cancer with family members already fighting the disease.
- Diet: I’m curious where this one takes me. I eat a fairly healthy diet. There are too many carbs, not enough green veggies and too much wine but, for the most part, I steer clear of prepared foods and preservatives and I read labels religiously. I choose real over processed and fresh over any other option. I have sicked my nutritionist cousin on some of the research in the hopes that I’ll find more advice than just eat more blueberries and less french fries.
- Exercise: This is the one that will take the most dedication. I know I am not active enough. I also know I do not model an active life for my kids. This will be the biggest stretch for me, not only to get active now but to stay that way.
- Lifestyle: Other than food, I expect this to be where the family will see the most impact. I already use environmentally friendly cleaners, for the most part, and am switching away from paraben and sodium laureth sulphates in my shampoos and soaps but I want to go further. What’s in my make up? How bad are the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the house? Am I poisoning my children with the plastic sippy cups and kiddie dishes?
- Spiritual/Emotional: The idea behind this one has, perhaps, the least definition at the moment but I know stress and my A-type personality aren’t helpful in keeping me cancer free. I think there also must be a way to find some peace with the fact that, no matter what I do, cancer may play a potentially terrible role in my life. This is reality and I have to find a way to deal with it.
- Fundraising: This is perhaps the most intimidating part of my journey. I’m not good at asking people for money. However, almsgiving is an important part of the Lenten tradition. In this case I will not be raising money for the church but for the prevention of cancer. I don’t know what charity I will be raising money for but I do know the money will not be destined for awareness campaigns or treatment programs, but for on the ground research dedicated to eradicating this terror from our lives.
- There are other things that will come into play as the 40 days progress. For example, I’ll need to examine this from a medical point of view. Will my doctor think I’m nuts when I show up for an appointment? Overall, I plan to tackle one topic a week and hope it brings me, and all those others who feel surrounded by cancer, some peace.
Ambitious? Yes. Too much? I hope not.
I admit, I am hesitant to press my ‘publish’ button. Once I put this promise out there for all to see, I am committed. It seems impossible at this point ,but I also know I can’t let the spectre of cancer control my life. This seems like a good first step.
Wish me luck!