Do you believe in Starfish? If you have heard Loren Eiseley’s starfish story (and don’t want to read it again), skip to the second half of this post, if not enjoy. Eiseley’s account sets the stage for the rest of the story, so please don’t skip.

The Starfish Story

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

Our beach, in the world of cancer, seems to be one of endless starfish, as far as the eye can see. Sometimes the battle seems too overwhelming, the suffering too much, the losses too high, the price too great. We witness, like our good friend Chow, a twelve-year old boy succumb to the disease and we feel helpless to do anything.

As I have often said, we can always give hope. And with hope, perhaps the strength, spirit and energy to fight and the will to overcome. I’m asking those reading this blog to help me with one particular starfish today. Her name is Karen. The help I ask for is simply your thoughts and prayers–no more, no less.

Last Thursday I was blog surfing, walking down the beach so to speak, when I came across this particular starfish named Karen. God only knows why out of literally hundreds of thousands of blogs, I just happened upon Karen’s. Perhaps fate, don’t really know, and right now, doesn’t really matter. Fact is, I did.

Karen is a Real Estate agent in Florida who has very recently learned she has cancer. You can read the medical updates on her blog yourbestagent.

I don’t know Karen. I was blog surfing, just clicking away at the “next blog” button when I stumbled upon her site. I almost clicked right past it, because her site is really about her Real Estate business, but the leading post called “medical update” caught my eye.

You can read the two updates on her site, but here is the executive summary. Friday she had surgery and yesterday (Monday) she learned that the surgery did not get it all. Hard choices will need to be made in the days ahead . In her own words:

Well surgery went well on friday and I am recovering at a rapid rate. I met with the doc tonight and not the best news. They took out two cancer sites and there is now a third in a different quadrant. Which means another biopsy and surgery or can the whole thing and get a double masectomy. I am feeling like I am floating on another planet. Just floored and shocked as I was a week ago. Not much I can do for a few weeks till I recover from this one. I have some decisions to make. Hang in there with me. Hopefully this will all be over in a few.

Thanks again for all your support.

To all my fabulous friends, I thank you for taking a few minutes today to offer a few thoughts and prayers to a kind hearted soul facing a terrifying unknown. If you so feel moved, please visit her blog and leave a comment of support. I know from her comments that the simple act of posting a comment means a great deal to her at this time.

I want to finish by repeating the last two paragraphs of the starfish story. Pick up that starfish today and say a prayer for Karen.

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

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