This is the first time I’ve ever written a post for a blog I hope it makes sense to someone other than me, that said– here comes my 2 cents…..
I struggled with health problems for a long time before I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I didn’t fit in the “normal” box, my age, gender and healthy active life style ruled out anything serious- there couldn’t be anything wrong with me, I was young and appeared to be in good health so because I was a woman I must be crazy, depressed or menstruating according to the numerous doctors that found it easier to write me prescriptions for anti-depressants ; nearly a decade later I collapsed on the street and was rushed to the hospital, suddenly I wasn’t crazy anymore…funny how that works isn’t it.
It seems to me that unless we are quite literally hit in the face with serious issues it is easier to ignore them- if I pretend no problems exist they’ll just go away right? That’s how I feel so many people view the near epidemic levels HIV/AIDS has reached in this country. No one talks about it anymore and I wonder why. We hear about the women and children stricken with the disease in other countries but not here in our own backyard… I’m bewildered at the apparent denial most people are in, What?? If you’re straight, under 35, and a non intervenes drug user you’re free of any possible risk? Well, I’m not a 60 year old man with a history of smoking and excessive drinking – yep, that’s the box I didn’t fit in -but ironically I still had pancreatic cancer. At least people kind of talk about Cancer, well, unless you have it then no one knows what to say but they at least try. You see I know what it feels like to be faced with your own mortality and trust me it’s not a fun and happy place to visit.
I guess my point is that we have the opportunity to change the statistics if we just talk- seems pretty easy right, then why is it so hard? I didn’t have a booklet on how to protect myself from pancreatic cancer but we have so much material and resources available to help us save our own lives AND we ignore it because we’re scared. Trust me there is no level of fear you can imagine when you hear you have cancer or you’re HIV positive- all you hear is : tick-tock, tick- tock… and here I thought the biological clock was bad! I’m lucky, I had one of the most amazing physicians and he saved my life- three years ago in July. Unfortunately there is no surgery, medicine or Chemo treatment that can cure HIV/AIDS- yet …SO all we can do to protect ourselves, our children, our friends, our families is to TALK ABOUT IT! Knowledge is power and the key. Just talking can start to decrease the number of people that get infected in this country everyday because they think they aren’t at risk simply because they don’t fit in a box…. Diseases don’t see boxes, HIV/AIDS doesn’t know that we’re off limits but if we talk about it we can create a new box, perhaps one that HIV/AIDS doesn’t fit in and can’t get in.
I’ve lost too many friends to HIV/AIDS already, I don’t want to lose anyone else and neither do you. You talk to your friends everyday and email jokes and fun stuff all the time, it doesn’t have to be so serious but it does have to happen- I’ll leave you with this final thought:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead