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Wednesday, April 26, 2006
WORDS ON A NIGHT BREEZE: BREAST CANCER IN CHINA
I was reading an intimate book book written by Xinran the former host of the show "Words on a Night Breeze". It had been a call-in show, where for eight years, Chinese woman that enjoyed a special communion with each other, acted as oral cartographers of the Chinese feminine heart.
Out of the show came the book, The Good Women of China. It is synchronicity at work that found me reading it when Ms Yue wandered by with four of her friends from chemotherapy in tow the other day. They were all women from 40-55 and all fresh parolees from chemotherapy. They are all uncommonly common women: each braving the stigma of announcing their disease in public and supporting each other as time and meager resources allow.
Talking to Ms Yue later I discovered that one of the women had asked Yue to ask me if I would please set aside, and not throw out, any cola cans that I might accumulate. I learned that the woman's husband had recently lost his government job as a sewer worker making about 1,000 RMB (+,-$130.00USD) a month. His severance provides about 400 RMB to them monthly while her medical tests and herbal care that costs (she, like Ms Yue, does not have the money for the costly Herceptin that would likely prolong her life) in excess of 1,500 RMB a month.
She gets 1 jiao (一 角) for each can. Eight hundred cans will earn her about $10.00 USD. She needs close to $180 to meet her minimum needs for even sub-standard care.
She has cried many times of late for the hardship she feels she has made her family suffer and she has dispassionately discussed suicide as a viable option to end everyone's struggles.
Like Ms Yue, she is going to die because she cannot afford treatment. The others in this group who laugh, drink tea and hold hands on health walks are in no better financial condition than her or Ms Yue. They are part of a growing majority of victims who suffer only because of a lack of resources in a country where an elite few are gorging themselves on new found wealth.
I was suddenly viewing, in real time, a chapter that well could have been from The Good Women of China.
These women now rank high on my list of real-life heroines for their bravery. But, as my mother would have said, "that and fifty cents will buy them a cup of coffee." Join me in prayers, good wishes or whatever your values allow today for this League of Extraordinary Good Women living in Guangzhou.
China Xinran Asia Cancer Cancer Organ Donations Breast Cancer Women Lonnie Hodge Cancer Treatment Cartoons
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posted by Lonnie at 6:56 AM
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