Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Where's The Ribbon for THIS Cancer?

Sorry I'm a day behind, but for a day where I had "nothing planned" it was awfully busy. More on that later.

So yesterday's Chicago Tribune had a front page article entitled, "Stigma adds to burden of lung cancer patients" and it described a woman who is 31 years old and has lung cancer.

And before you sniff, no, she was NOT a smoker. And that's the biggest reason you won't see anyone sporting ribbons (there's even controversy about the color of the "lung cancer" ribbon) during November.

Which is, by the way, Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Who'da thought? While October is awash in pink, there's not a peep about lung cancer in November. Of course, we're all having "The War on Christmas" (snort) - and the true "war on Thanksgiving." But not a peep about lung cancer.  

Statistics are pretty grim. According to the American Lung Association, lung cancer is the SECOND most diagnosed cancer. Yet it's the MOST COMMON cause of cancer death. 

And the stigma around the disease is much like the nicotine-covered stench of cigarette smoke. Just today, I read an obit in the Trib about Carol Cooling-Kopp, who was the special events chief at WMAQ, a local channel. She died, at age 56, of lung cancer, and here's a paragraph from her obit:

"Mrs. Cooling-Kopp, 56, died of lung cancer Wednesday, October 30, at her Arlington Heights home, said her brother Jim Cooling, who noted she was a nonsmoker."

And the gal in the article yesterday, Meghan O'Brien, the 31-year-old who was diagnosed with Stage Four lung cancer (there IS no "stage 5" by the way), notes that while her cancer is the result of a rare genetic mutation, she is often asked, "Are you sure you didn't smoke?" -- as if you'd forget something like that. 

There's no funding equal to that of breast cancer, and there's that stigma that lung cancer people "brought this on themselves."

Why am I so het up about this? Well, for a couple of reasons. The first was a friend, by the name of Reverend Barb Donica, who died in her 40s of lung cancer. She never smoked. 

The second is my mother. She never smoked either, and she's very much alive. With emphysema. Thanks to my dad, who DID smoke. And who died of pancreatic and liver cancer. 

People often ask my mother if she smoked. And they don't always believe her when she says no. Much like my friend Barb..."Are you SURE you've never smoked?" 

Unfortunately for Ms. O'Brien, her cancer has already invaded other organs. I am sad for a young woman who hasn't even begun to live her life. I'm sad for my friend who died, leaving small children. And I'm sad for my mother because, even though I don't know of any correlation between emphysema and lung cancer, the fact that she lived with my father for over 35 years, God alone knows whether she may eventually contract lung cancer thanks to second-hand smoke.

The symptoms of lung cancer can be vague -- just like our good buddy "Ovarian Cancer." You can have the typical constant cough, be breathless and have lots of bronchitis.

Or you can have headaches, lose your appetite or have blood clots. Ms. O'Brien, a physical education teacher, by the way, had a backache. 

Cancer sucks, to use the vernacular. Why on earth would we penalize cancer patients even more by looking at them cross-eyed as if to say, 'You deserve this, buddy'? Support the American Lung Association and do your research. And if you can figure out what the ribbon is supposed to look like, please wear it. Do it for someone you love, because according to the latest statistics, lung cancer is projected to kill nearly 160,000 people this year in the US - more than colon, breast, pancreatic, and prostate cancers COMBINED. Combined. In 2012, the National Cancer Institute spent almost twice as much on breast cancer research as on lung cancer. 

Yet, lung cancer is the one you will likely die from. 


So yesterday, I awoke (at 4 a.m., thanks. Urgh) to a day in which I had no meetings, no appointments, no errands... a very rare free day. And I was busier than a one-armed paperhanger (one of my dad's favorite sayings). 

I decided to do some things, and actually did them. Knitting was not among those things. 

But I did finish the charity afghan!! Hubby will be taking the picture today. It looks lovely, actually.

Didn't pick up the needles otherwise. So today, being the day before Thanksgiving, I have my knitting at work. Let's face it - they're letting everyone out early, no traditional classes are being held, and the only reason I'm here, frankly, is that I had to let the HVAC guys in. And I may not stay anyway... I have more comp time than I can use, so I may as well take advantage of it.


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
 The Baking has begun. Yesterday, it was double batches of carrot cookies and Aunt Mary's Oatmeal Cookies. My real, really truly Great-Aunt Mary's recipe. See the card??? 

The Carrot Cookies are a random addition, and that's because we had a lot of carrots leftover from the garden. I can't really taste the carrots in them; but they are a nice quick cookie. They also freeze well. 

I made a plate for the elder guy next door and we'll bring it over. I will also make some carrot pineapple bread for later. 

There's also a good chance that I'll make some Kolachy too. They're a cream-cheese-based dough with a thumbprint where you put fruit filling. Yummy. 

I think Kid #2 might be doing his baking today, but if he's not, then I'm going to press on. I think I'm going to knock one cookie off my list. I've been teaching the kids the "Family Traditionals" because you really have to be shown. Those recipes are often ingrained in a granny's memory, and you have to watch what's done because nobody wrote them down. I want to write them down, and show the kids. They can even video it if they want!

Since we're doing potica this year, I will knock off the Roski. Heck, ONE recipe of that makes 100 of them!!! So we don't need to do those this year. We can do them next year. 

For Aunt Mary's recipe, all I changed was that I added golden raisins and I added some cardamom to the recipe. They're kind of Plain Jane oatmeal cookies, and my usual style is "garbage cookies" which everyone loves. But I thought I'd try these again. I like adding the golden raisins. Otherwise, it's her recipe. 

The secret (which isn't so secret, actually) is that you simmer the raisins till they plump up and use the raisin-water in the batter. I stuck a cinnamon stick in the water. 
Aunt Mary's Recipe

The Pope...

Ok, I could like this guy. Seriously. Not enough to re-join the Roman Catholic Church, but enough to be thankful that he seems to be just as much - if not more - fresh air as John XXIII.... Remember, John was also an outlier and he ushered in Vatican II. Which, of course, many traditionalists would like to abolish. 

Here's his latest, and I love it. Everyone knows what actually "trickles down" with trickle-down theories of economics. And he puts it ever-so-elegantly. And makes a point, thank you very much, Your Holiness. This paper has been reported on in just about every major news outlet, as it should be. 

And of course, the uber-right-wing has heads exploding all over the place. Because (sputter, sputter, sputter) he's NOT RIGHT. Trickle down HAS TO work, because St. Ronnie said it would. But it doesn't and it's been debunked by actual professors and people with lots of education. 

2013 Ornaments in progress
This Pope is more "Jesus-oriented" in terms of who Jesus really was and what He did. Pope Francis is also very "Francis-like" because to my mind, St. Francis was an embodiment of Jesus in his writings and his actions. 

Good for him. The Catholic Church needs him. 


The ornaments progress. They're all painted. But they're not finished, so I will take another shot after they're all nice and pretty. 

There are fewer, yet I am having trouble finding them! Michael's doesn't carry the selection they have advertised and I suppose I'll have to go to the Internets... I like to try to have a theme for each kid, but this year, Maya gets a plain one (the blue one with stars). If I can find some jewels, I'll glue those onto the middle of the stars for her. She had been "angels" but I couldn't find any. 

Yes, I probably should have counted up and bought them when I had the chance. I've been doing this for nearly 30 years, though, so please...when I needed to buy them up, I didn't have the money. Now that I have the money, they're hard to find. 

Random Picture...

Knit Knitche
This is a really crummy picture of my "knitting knitche" (and yeah, I know it's spelled wrong). This is where I spend my knitting time, and I really need to clean it off today. Perhaps when I get home, that will be done, since it's on my Big Honkin' To Do List. 

Along with finding time to wrap Hubby's birthday gift and fish out a card for him... I can distract him by having him wrap presents. That's it. That's a plan! 

I will also get at least one Fluffy Scarf going. I only have two of them left. 

And because I've managed to pack on some turkey pounds I will Step Away From The Fridge today. Knitting will help. 

Baking will not, unfortunately...

No comments: