Poverty vs. Poverty and An Update About My Breast Cancer

14 01 2008

I’m up in Vera’s room this evening using her computer.  On the days that Jim works–he has to be in bed by 7:00 p.m.  Vera likes my company the nights I write blogs.  I like to read and be nearby her the nights that she writes blogs.  Our mother/daughter relationship has not always been this good.  We’ve lived through some real difficult times.  She wrote about one such time in her blog last evening.  (Operation Meaning–see links)

Anyway, she went with me to the surgeon this morning.  I just don’t like doctor’s offices.  I’m always glad for someone to be with me.  I knew that I didn’t feel well.  Vera and Jim were disappointed yesterday morning when I decided to stay home from church.  I knew I could not handle being on the road for the round trip of four hours.  I was right–there was a small problem.  The surgeon took a needle and drained about a quart of water from my wound.  While he was doing that, he talked to me about genetic testing.  He is really wanting me to have that test done.  Sandy, my daughter, has an appointment later this month at Vanderbilt to meet with a genetic counselor.  She wants me to be with her for that discussion. Thus, my surgeon wants me to come back and talk with him,the very next day. 

I don’t like having to deal with this issue.  I would rather just put it in the back of my mind.  I know I’m fortunate to have my cancer found early.  However, I still have to realize that I’m the third generation. I did get a copy of my final pathology and all the lymph nodes are fine.  This means that my cancer is stage one.  But it was an agressive cancer, invasive lobular carcinoma.  I don’t want to play around with it.  With all the intensity of the afternoon–it was good to have my grandsons visit for awhile.

They always knock the seriousness out of me.  I love these little boys so much.  Around the time for them to go home–I put some broccoli in the steamer.  I told them that I’m going to eat broccoli everyday the rest of my life.  John said: “You don’t have to eat it everyday.”  I explained that it was a good cancer prevention food.  He knows that I had a disease called cancer but he has never really known anything else.  The boys have gotten used to either Vera  or I putting the broccoli in the steamer.  They love to watch us cut it up and get it ready.  John made himself a peanut butter sandwich while we were doing this little chore.  Alex just sat in Vera’s lap watching the steam get hotter and hotter in the pot. 

For days ,poverty has been on my mind.  My husband has a factory job.  His benefits are great but his pay is not on a scale that would make us well to do.  However, we have good health insurance.  Several years ago, we opted to take out cancer insurance as well. We are thankful that we did that.  Our home is nearly paid for. Our closets are full of clothes.  We have plenty of food.  Our car takes us anywhere we want to go.  We are just an average American family. 

Yet many in our town don’t have the resources thay need.  Moreover, if they have some government help–many don’t know how to use it.  I live in an older part of town and get to observe the comings and goings of many who are very transient.  They live in rental houses that don’t really comply with good standards.  Then when they can’t pay the rent–their belongings are tossed out on the street.  These rental houses have a high turn over. My son, Ben, often is called to do repair work in rental houses.  He told me of one house recently where he was called to plug up rat holes.  “Mom, you wouldn’t believe how filthy this house was.  There were cockroaches everywhere and mice running around.”  The owners of this type of house are not generous with their repairs.  Ben tells me that only the most urgent calls are usually given any attention.  Yet, even these people have it better than most people do on a world wide scale.

Many of the poor people I see in my hometown have generous resources from the government. However, they are not used wisely.  Thus, the poverty in their souls is far worse than the seemingly poverty of their finances.  I’ve written before how mad I’ve gotten at how this type of family will often have a SUV.  It is beyond my scope of understanding. There is quite often a satellite dish in their yard and usually a big dog is on a chain.

A fellow blogger , Roads of Stone, (see link) writes about his trips to Kenya.  He wrote that in Kenya the people can’t afford aspirin or penicillin.  They have a huge aids epidemic that the government tries to cover up.  This is real poverty.  This is the norm of the world.  Vera has also told me stories about poverty in Ukraine.  People used to knock on her door begging for food.  Handicapped people have to become beggers just to survive.  Vera had the resources to go to the market and buy good food.  She would give out fruit, bread,  and shoes to those who knocked on her door.  When one is in the hospital in Ukraine–the family has to provide their food and sheets.  Sometimes, she would get children begging for help–so that they could provide for a parent who was in the hospital.

I’ve written in my “Vera” stories about how we struggled to make it when our children were growing up.  Those were tough times.  Our cars often broke down, a couple of times we almost lost our home.  Yet, as hard as those times were–they could never compare with worldwide poverty.  I still could always find a dollar to buy a bottle of generic aspirin.  Or if my children had a fever–I could find a dollar to get them some Sprite or Coke.  So my American poverty could never be poverty in the truest sense. 

In my very middle class life now–I am rich on a world wide scale.  With having had breast cancer surgery in America–I’ve enjoyed all the comforts of a good hospital, good doctors, and friends who have provided nice meals , etc.  I may not like having to deal with issues of whether to have my other breast removed but I’m blessed to be even able to consider it. 

Poverty vs. poverty, it is something we all need to think about.  We all need to count our blessings and share with others.  Or there others who are thinking about these kinds of things? I hope you let me know!

God bless each of you!




6 responses

15 01 2008

We have many of the same issues with domestic poverty here in England, too. There are many more betting shops in run-down areas, and satellite dishes positively abound from the roofs of council houses.

Perhaps it’s a kind of escapism. So many people with limited funds spend money they don’t really have on the National Lottery, hoping to win millions of pounds and a ticket to a different kind of life. The modern media obsession with celebrity similarly offers a vicarious kind of pleasure through the lives of the rich and famous.

Excellent news about that lymph node. Spirits up.

15 01 2008

Mom, your courage amazes me. You certaintly have a global mindset and are not caught up in only your problems. I commend you for that. Love, Vera

15 01 2008

That is interesting that you have the same types of dysfunctional poverty in England. Kentucky has had a lottery system since l990. Our new govenor loves gamgling and hopes to promote it even more. Thanks for commenting. Yes, I’m glad about the lymph nodes.


15 01 2008

Vera, you have taught me so much about global thinking.

17 01 2008
Brent WC

Dear Nichole, my incognito sister.

Your comment about spiritual poverty amidst the veneer of SUVS and satellite dishes is revealing.

Personally, I enjoy Directv, and Mary loves her serials and old movies. We aren’t on aid programs, and both of us have fairly decent full time jobs.

I wonder myself how they afford it. My package is up to $69.00 a month, and we get quite a few channels and I get to watch Nuggets and Rockies games when I want to.

It is true that we have it better than many third world countries with corruption running rampant in them, and so called leaders with no vision for their people. Ignorance and superstition also die hard in many of those countries.

Lack of education for self betterment also permeates many of the poor cultures, which comprise the majority of the people on the earth today.

Yes, we are also rich, comparitively speaking, but again, there is no security in this life, only the illusion thereof.

May you prosper now as never before.

17 01 2008

Dear Brent wc,
I’m not against sastellite television or SUV’s. I’m just curious like you–how the really poor afford these things. You are absolutely right –there is no security in this life.


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