I have breast cancer and the Colorado River is drying up. Two terrible things seemingly unrelated yet in the vast scheme of life totally related and possibly caused by similar issues, the abuse of nature. Water usage in the West has increased over the century with farming of animals, plants, population increases and other stresses on the environment. Today natural gas fracking takes clean potable fresh water, fouls it beyond use with a hundred toxic chemicals and returns this fetid mixture back into the earth, damaging whatever it touches. Millions of gallons of water wasted in an endeavor which will make some rich, others sick and a few able to continue on this path of use and abuse while the Colorado River is drying up.
Breast cancer is caused by some unknown environmental scourge and or genetic error that causes cells to wildly replicate and threaten the life of the individual. Much the way the loss of the water in the Colorado River is a wake up call threatening the life of people, animals and the environment surrounding it cancer is the bell weather of the body saying it is broken and we need to fix it. We can fix breast cancer through a toxic mix of chemicals, surgeries and long term drugs to kill the cancer cells and prevent their growth. Fixing is relative in the process of fixing the cancer cells, we also kill good cells, make the body susceptible to infection, compromise the immune systems, reek havoc on the hair, the taste, the skin, and the psyche. In the end the body heals itself and gets back to normal, although it really is not normal. Much as the Colorado River is forever changed, so is the body with breast cancer. A body surviving breast cancer no longer has its original parts, the breast are gone and changed, the original hair is gone and changed, for those on continued medication, the original make up of the body is gone and changed forever. We can survive breast cancer but we are never the same.
Fixing the Colorado River is a more complex problem involving not just one body responding to a care plan but hundreds, thousands of bodies, all with different genetics, demands, desires, needs, and entitlements. The Colorado River Basin will never be the same, the beauty and grandeur has changed, it’s majestic flow averted, the life giving waters drying up.
As I move through the process of killing cancer, chasing the thief robbing my body of its original footprint and legacy at least I know I will survive, as opposed to the Colorado River, which is drying up.