In the U.S. Election Day is fast approaching. Political pundits are making their predictions, candidates are making last ditch efforts to reach constituents, some tempers are flaring a bit and members of both the Republican and Democratic parties are getting nervous about what the outcomes might be on Tuesday. Even President Obama will be hitting the campaign trail hard over the upcoming weekend.
On the local scene, there seem to be political yard signs of various shapes and sizes promoting candidates all over my neighborhood. These signs remind me of how I felt after my cancer diagnosis just a few months ago. (Yes, it’s funny how somehow I can relate just about anything and everything back to cancer!)
After my diagnosis, I felt as if I had a sign staked in my front yard much like the political ones I see now that politicians and campaigns erected to promote their candidates. Only instead of saying Feingold or Barrett (or any candidate you choose) my sign said “Nancy Stordahl lives here and she has breast cancer.” It seemed as if everyone who drove by my house could plainly see this was where someone with cancer lived.
Of course, this thinking was totally ridiculous and completely untrue and even if it was, no one would have cared. None-the-less that is how I felt back then. It seemed I “stuck out” and the whole world could tell just by driving by my house or by looking at me I had cancer. It seemed as if I had the word “cancer” stamped across my forehead, almost a “scarlet letter” type of feeling.
I think I even felt a bit ashamed, as if I had somehow failed at keeping myself healthy.
At that time the last thing I wanted was for people to know I had cancer. I much preferred to keep my diagnosis quiet. The fewer people that knew about my “predicament,” the better I liked it. I wanted to stay inside my house and hide. It was all just too overwhelming.
Ironically, now here I am sharing my story on the internet for the whole world to see. I want as many people as possible to hear my story. I want other women newly diagnosed to know they do not have to feel the way I felt and that they are not alone. I want October’s month of awareness this year to mean something more than a slogan or bunch of pink ribbons.
I guess I have evolved pretty far in my thinking in a relatively short amount of time. Once again I have adapted, surprising even myself. Now I don’t care who knows; in fact, the more people who do know the better. I’m on my own “campaign” of sorts, a campaign to beat cancer – mine and other people’s as well.
Back to Tuesday’s election – I hope everyone intends to get out there and vote. The experts tell us most people do not bother during “off year” elections such as this. “My vote just doesn’t matter,” we often hear or tell ourselves. This year it does; it always does.
Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent – get informed about your candidates’ positions and ideas for improving the economy, education and whatever else matters to you. Find out if their stand on health care meshes with your own. Find out all you can.
Then do the right thing. Vote.
WHAT ISSUE DO YOU CARE MOST ABOUT THIS YEAR AND DO YOU INTEND TO VOTE?