autumn days

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Choosing Health

The love of my life, M, died of lung cancer 12 weeks ago.  He was the young father of our three young children.  M ate well, exercised, had a variety of well-rounded routines.  Then why did this happen?  After asking myself this question too many times to count, I have come up with my own translation of events.  M had a family history of cancer.  His parents and grandparents died of cancer.  Each generation seemed to die younger than the last.  M's branch of the family tree has been the hardest hit at the youngest ages.  His parents were the first to die in their generation and M was the first in his.  This genetic predisposition is just the beginning of the challenge.  M and his parents unknowingly lived in homes with radon and worked with chemicals in an old building for much of their last 15 years.  I blame these exterior factors for the loss of my beloved at a tragically young age.  Perhaps I choose to blame these things because they are outside of my control.

After testing our 10-year-old home this last summer and autumn, I discovered my children have unknowingly been exposed to harmful levels of radon for their entire lives.  They also carry their father's genetic predisposition.  This is unsettling.  As the remaining single parent, I have also been exposed to this deadly gas.  I also worked in old buildings.  We are not alone.  Many people I know go to school and live in old buildings with possible.  Our metropolitan area also has substantial air quality challenges (large company emission levels allowed for small companies) that have led to cancer in people we know and love.  It is a true privilege to make healthy choices for my family.  Not everyone gets these choices.

Why bring down our energy by talking about death by everyday poisons?  In my opinion, once we know about a problem, we can finally do something to rectify the situation.  Ignorance may be bliss, but it can also be deadly.  After finding radon in our home, I had a mitigation system installed.  I am comforted in knowing our levels are now far below "safe levels".  I make a point of providing regular doses of fresh fruits and vegetables for my children.  They have plenty of physical exercise and outlets for their emotions. 

I take comfort in knowing my children live in a newer home and attend a newer school.  I take comfort in knowing their school doesn't have asbestos in the walls or lead in the water.  I take comfort in knowing my children eat healthy foods, drink a lot of filtered water, stay away from plastic dishes, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, hang out with friends often, and regularly spend time outside.  I take comfort in trusting I am strong enough and resourceful enough to handle the raising of these extraordinary children in our changing world.  I take comfort in knowing it is a gift to get to live life fully with these people at this time.  I take comfort in knowing I continue to choose to be here with my children.  I take comfort in knowing I am doing my best in the roles I have been given.  I take comfort in loving this wild adventure we intentionally choose to share each day of our blessed lives.

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