Amanda Evans Evans 1
Philosophy 107: Philosophy through Film
Courage in Illness
Peter French points out in Cowboy Metaphysics, that Aristotle says someone battling a terminal disease is not displaying courage because they show no act of prowess and do not die particularly nobly. But he does not address the issue of non-terminal, but possibly terminal illnesses. I would like to argue that Julie, facing breast cancer, is someone who shows true courage.
Breast cancer is one of those diseases that is terrifying but not necessarily terminal. Some people die, some people don't. Hearing the word cancer is like a hope-killer. But sometimes hope can still bud. Cancer can be fought. And I challenge anyone who says otherwise. Julie is a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was the fastest growing variety, but she caught it very early. The cancer struck with three lumps in one breast. Julie struck back with first a lumpectomy and then a double mastectomy. Not only did Julie attack the cancerous lumps but she attacked the possible hiding places that the cancer could go to. She wasn't letting this thing beat her. Cancer: 1 Julie: 2. Then Julie went straight into chemotherapy. Not just a short, oh, here's some chemo real quick just in case. No, it was a full 14-month blast. One she is still struggling through. Cancer: 1 Julie: 3. She continues to attack hiding places that this cancer might go. Is it necessary? No, but it's safe, it's aggressive. She could've just done a single mastectomy and a short round of chemo. That's all that was necessary. But it wouldn't ensure that the cancer wouldn't spread.
So Julie decided to go full-force, lose both breasts, and suffer through 14-months of chemo. Yes, she would feel sick almost that whole time. Yes, for the majority of it she would have no hair. Yes, she would have the pain of bi-weekly appointments. Yes, she would have to suffer through a surgery to implant a port (an IV straight to the heart, basically, that the needle is stuck through). Yes, she would be weak and barely be able to lift anything slightly heavy. Yes, she would have to end up giving up her stick-shift, adored mini cooper because she wouldn't be strong enough to shift gears. These are only some of the sacrifices she makes. It is a battle. One that she chooses to fight.
Why does she fight so aggressively? Why not sit back and take the easy road, even if it is riskier? There are three reasons for this: her three kids. She hates their heartbreak so much that she would face needless pain and suffering simply to ensure that she would live a long life for them. She battles cancer until it is completely, without a doubt demolished simply because she wants to help her kids. And the whole time she suffers through this battle, she fights for other people. She fights to show other cancer patients that they can survive and be strong. She sends them messages of hope. She still pretends like nothings wrong with her in order to help her friends. She fights for the people around her.
Aristotle can say that someone fighting terminal illness is not courageous because they cannot show prowess. But Julie shows prowess in her daily battles. She attacks hard and faces pain and suffering. She goes up the stairs multiple times a day even though it makes her out of breath and tired. How is that not showing prowess? Her illness is not terminal, and therefore she can hope. Julie is the most courageous person I know. I dare Aristotle to raise from the dead and just try to tell me that my mom is not courageous.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
"Prepared for all things."
Can anyone, in all honesty, say that phrase, and really mean it? In this life, can you really be prepared for anything anyone or anything can throw at you?
Honestly, the notion makes me laugh. No-one can prepare for anything. Say, you're having a nice day with your friends, when you get a call saying your mother has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Prepared for that? How can one prepare for that? Total devastation and ripping apart of everything in your life you knew before. Nothing can be the same when you hear those words. How can you prepare for a total change of life?
Really, there's no way to prepare for everything. No way any human on Earth could do anything to prepare themselves for anything life throws at them. It's simply impossible. There is only one way to even get close to this preparation for all things, and that is trusting in Jesus Christ.
Now, you may all have suddenly left after reading that last sentence. Who knows? But I will continue, nonetheless. God is really the only One that was prepared for everything. He was prepared to create the world, and man. He was prepared for what to do when man rebelled against Him. He was prepared with what to do when all man was sinful, but one family, which he spared. He was prepared when His people were attacked by a giant, sending a small boy to vanquish it. He was prepared when, some years later, the world had erupted in so much sin again, by sending His only Son down to our Earth, to die, and take away our sins! He was prepared when, just before you found this, you may have been looking at who knows what, or doing who knows what! HE is prepared for anything and everything. Why would we not follow Him?
Aside from the phrase being utterly impossible apart from God, it is still one of my most favorite phrases, just for the simple fact that it HAS to include God. It's like saying "God has prepared me for all things" almost.
The phrase In Omnia Paratus was taken from an episode of Gilmore Girls. The phrase is the featured phrase used by the Life and Death Brigade.