I have finally, this morning, submitted to reading ovary-information from my doctor’s office.
Cancer, as horrible as it can be, is actually a fairly simple thing.
Normally, cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them.
When cells grow old, they die, and new cells take their place.
But with cancer, this orderly process goes wrong.
New cells form when the body does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should.
When things get all out of whack, the cells not doing what they should (or doing what they shouldn’t) destroy the good, well-behaved cells.
That’s why cancer is a predator, because of the destroying of well-behaved cells.
I think I have dated Cancer before.
Anyway, it seems to me that Cancer needs some therapy about good boundaries, some mormon missionary lessons on the Law of Obedience, and to be kicked right in its mutated p53.
(p53 is the protein that helps regulate the cell cycle; when it is missing or mutated, cells can divide uncontrollably.)
In this making-it-simple approach, all kinds of cancers get one of three labels:
1. Benign (non-cancerous, meaning it does not spread – though it can become malignant later),
2. Malignant (cancerous, meaning it has the potential to spread throughout the body), or
3. Metastatic (cancerous, and has already spread to other parts of the body from where it originated).
Ovarian cancer usually happens either in the cells on the surface of the ovaries (epithelial carcinoma) or in the egg cells themselves (malignant germ cell tumors).
It is more common for women to have cysts, which are benign and non-cancerous.
Cancer is not hereditary. You can’t pass it on to your children.
However, there are genetic predispositions, such as passing on a mutated copy of a gene (BRCA1 and BRCA2). But most cancers go through 6 to 9 mutations before becoming cancer, so it needs more than just that first copy to become cancer. This is why cancer happens in older people more often than young people, because there has been more time for mutated copy to get copied again, until it becomes more and more mutated. So cancer happens because of the accumulation of all those mutations. Gross.
Lymph nodes get checked for cancer-ness to see if cancer has spread because the vessels of the circulatory and lymphatic systems work like a pipeline, and that’s how cancer can move from one site to another.
Chemotherapy works by blocking a cell’s ability to break down the mitotic spindle, which is how the cell segregates duplicated chromosomes to form new “daughter” cells. Since it can’t separate into these new seedlings, it blocks the cell from copying, or repeating itself. It’s stops the cell cycle before it makes more of itself, and so it stops the cancer from getting worse.
Here is what it that (healthy) spindle process looks like (picture from Absolute Astronomy):
I love this because it shows how, when everything is working right, this tiny process, happening in our bodies a gazabillion times everyday, looks just like a firefly-butterfly-angel.
It’s a snapshot of how we are made of Light, and how are very cells are like entire solar systems.
It brings a whole new understanding to being at-one.
As soon as I saw this picture, I understood how – for me – I could find the “spiritual” in the temporal experience of cancer-ness.
This brings us to an Official Blog Flashback to 24 November 2010, when I already learned this but didn’t yet understand why (Emily World Train of Thought Warning: it will make your brain hurt, and be just this side of crazy, so feel free to skip below the italics for the rest of the current blog):
In considering this, I realize that if pre-mortality prepared me for mortality, then mortality prepares me for eternity.
We know that this life is the time to prepare to meet God.
Preparing to meet God takes me back to the prodigal son returning home. It takes me back to the Temple.
It takes me, in a way that surprised me, back to the creation story.
When I think of “meet”, I think not only of the embrace of the prodigal son and his father, but also of Adam and Eve. I think of Adam and Eve because I think of “helpmeet”, and remember that helpmeet means “a companion who is equal and necessary in full partnership”.
Then I realize why I think of Adam and Eve when I am thinking of the prodigal son being embraced by his father, for because the prodigal son is – in that very moment – restored to his place in the family.
This is what the atonement does for me; it restores me to my place in the family of my Father.
But anytime I think of Adam and Eve, I am reminded that I am not yet married and commanded to do so. But in this context, it is less harsh for not yet having done so and more in preparation for teaching me why and how and for what purpose.
For because, we may know in our heads that husband and wife are companions who are equal and necessary in full partnership, but we know in our hearts that husbands and wives are very different!
But this takes me back to sheckinah, for because this is part of the answer to my question about how to be a “light”.
And if you know anything about light, you know that it is made up of two very different properties, yet one without the other does not explain light. Light has both particles and waves! Light needs both properties to be light, to function as light, to exist as light. Even though they are nearly opposite properties, so much that they even work differently more than work together, it is in the together-ness that they make up light.
It is so very male and female, in an un-scientific kind of way, with one piece of the whole being the packets that go out (the priesthood, the power, the authority), and the other piece being waves (the emotion, the spirit-ness, the intuition).
But even more fascinating, is how – like light – we are commanded not just to keep the commandments, but to OBSERVE the keeping of the commandments. Mathematically, scientifically, the act of observing changes the results.
Oh! Look at this silly cartoon clip that explains it:
Know what other dimension requires an observer?
Time is only a measurement, which requires someone to do the measuring. It is a measurement between events. Time only exists when there is an outside observer who thinks they are inside, sort of like being in your own black hole.
The only reason this relates at all, in this long Emily World random writing, is because of the symbol of the circle in the square, of heaven meeting earth, reminds us of the second law of thermodynamics. Except that the square is moved out, because really its an ongoing process while the symbol itself is more like a postcard. But if you had the postcard in 3D, you could see the process itself, how one is constantly changed by giving up itself and becoming something new.
It’s like a mathematical picture of the tesseract, the self-transforming that occurs when a four dimensional object moves within our three dimensional perception:
It would mean that through self-transformation, you meet your opposite, which actually completes you into one being.
It is the mathematical evidence of a Mother with the Father.
It mathematically proves a white hole to the black hole, excepting that white holes cannot exist because of the second law of thermodynamics… UNLESS you moved the square back over the circle, like the symbol of the Temple.
And that, not getting into nerdy wormhole science, creates this (diagram from National Science Foundation):
If you take out the science fiction, this is mathematically where and how a new universe would be born. That’s why it is fascinating to us, because of the shape it creates, which is a symbol we have been given and has been interpreted even in the most ancient of art. Even more so, the other shape it reveals. It is the ancient shape of our Heavenly Parents, the symbol of creation itself.
Now that is incredible, to input mathematical formulas into a computer and be able to get an image of a pillar of light, in a context that requires opposition and observation (implying agency) and in so doing makes creation possible. Fascinating and familiar concept.
So this is what takes us back to sheckinah, and to Adam and Eve, so that not only is that the same as us, but also photons are always moving, but interactions with atomic scatters will cause them to either be delayed or advanced. How is that not mortality?!
How is that not our work to climb the ladder?!
And we even see that in the diagram of the light itself:
Which, if you turned it up vertically, would give the same DNA-shape of Jacob’s Ladder-turned-spiral-staircase (through ongoing repentance).
Also, photons can be absorbed by nuclei or molecules, which provokes nerve impulses (discovered by George Wald in 1958 as he worked with the retina). This science-information is fascinating when considering the 1879 talk by Erastus Snow in which he said “the wonderful mechanism of the nervous system, through which the spirit makes its impressions upon the body…”
All of that to say that what I learned from the Oaks talk was about being judged not just based on what I do here, but also what I accomplish and who I become. Judged not only for how I lived this life, but judged to determine what I qualify for in eternity… which means I must let the atonement work – not just in cleansing me from the past, but also in becoming something of my potential.
For example, while my mother was here, we watched a movie about Queen Victoria. This is one thing my mother and I have always enjoyed together, my whole life, the study of the history of the royalty and especially the queens, with Queen Elizabeth always being one of my favorites (of course!). But when I study these Queens, one thing that is evident is that everyone always knew whether the Queen would be good or bad by what kind of student they were as a child, and how willing they were to be taught, and how well they could channel their passions for the greater good. They knew what kind of Queen she would be based on her own response to her family dynamics regardless of what they did, and how well she played with others.
Always, her wisdom was not measured by success, but her success was measured by wisdom (not the same as knowledge). And her wisdom was measured by her ability to discern the true nature of things and respond accordingly, including how and when and from whom to accept help… as well as her ability to endure the experiences that developed that discernment.
The people always loved best the Queens who loved them well.
As we talked about in Institute, I was PREPARED in pre-mortality to succeed in mortality, prepared for what I needed to do here, for my role here. In the same way, my mortal life does prepare me for what is to come – and how well I am prepared will determine how much of that I get to do, who I get to be.
So considering the sheckinah: because Moses had seen the Light, he knew the Glory. Because he knew that Glory, he was also able to discern false lights and knew the difference. When Satan tried to impersonate the Lord, Moses said, “Where is your glory” (Moses 1:12-15)… but he could say that because he knew the difference. He knew what Light was.
So we, I think, should work to learn the difference.
I need the atonement to be able to stand the Light. It must cover me, so that I can know. The more I seek the Light, then the more I can discern what is NOT the Light. This protects me, but also helps me to become.
This is why I need mortality to learn that Light.
Always I must come back to it, through repentance, climbing ever upward through that spiral.
So do you see?! The firefly-butterfly-angel of Light that is changing me by coping good cells, so that I am physically changed and physically renewed, where I-who-am-me is actually becoming more, better, new, changed.
All of me, all of my being, is constantly replicating more of itself. I can choose to make more and more goodness, to CREATE more and more Light, and in so doing be literally changed in the process.
Or I can choose to self-destruct, to destroy myself, by replicating mutations until I am further and further away from who I was created to be.
I can be Light, and bring healing – even creation.
Or I can be Cancer, and destroy.
I want to choose Light.
But it turns out, whether you are talking about grand events in space or tiny events at the cellular level, that “it is in the small and simple things that great things are brought to pass” (Alma 37:6).
So it would seem that whether you have cancer or not, we are constantly becoming what we choose. Our choices shape us and change us. What and who and how we interact with affects whether we continue to develop as we were created to become, with healthy cells making new healthy cells, or whether we begin to copy mutations and become something or someone else.
It’s also why we “die” if we are not testifying, because our becoming depends on creating more Light.
And it’s the small things that make a difference.
Like an ovary that is only the size of an almond, and that make girls crazy whether the ovaries are working or not.
And, and, and – No wonder chemotherapy feels so awful, because it turns out the light on these magic firefly-butterfly creatures.
It stops the creation of new cells.
And any woman knows that the absence of life is death.
So that is a long, dark night for a woman’s purpose in living is removed, her ability to function is put on pause, and her depth and intuition are silenced. It is cruel and horrible. It ceases her existence, and yet keeps her alive to observe her own non-existence. That is torture.
But only temporarily, allegedly, and only to prevent her from being eaten by monsters.
Even in this a woman becomes a type for the atonement, that life is given in order to save it.
And so it is, that a woman would follow the Pattern of a Mother and enter divine silence in order to protect the creation process.
Now I will imagine that instead of being eaten by monsters, my very cells are creating this Light by making pillar-of-Light copies of goodness and love and butterflies.
Because I like butterflies. They don’t even bite.
And to think that there are life-creating butterflies, that by the very process of the work that they do, give off the pillar-of-Light through which angels travel… well, that is just astonishing.