Sheep or Shepherd?

More often than not, the sheep/shepherd analogy is often used to compare the dynamics of groups, defining people who are leaders as individual and those who are followers as more simplistic. What do you consider yourself...?

As for me? I’m a sheep, I am a follower. But let me correct my statement - I am a follower of my heart. I consider myself more of an independent sheep on the lookout for similar, like-minded sheep. I’d like to think the great leaders of history thought the same way, that they didn't see themselves as different, but looked to find others who wanted similar things. Those leaders in history had the capability of reaching the hearts of their ‘herds’, they had the same causes, they were just a little more inclined to voice it.

I found a fellow sheep when I graduated college and landed in a grassroots not-for-profit. Karen Miller and I became a team, a small herd of two who thought the same way because of unfortunate life experience.  In the midst of college, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and it wrecked havoc on our tiny family of three. Realizing what people go through, that there is much more to it that the ‘fight’ we hear about, I had sought out the not-for-profit. Karen had been through her own situations and we had both come to same realization – we don’t want anyone to have to deal with disease. Karen opened my mind to a whole new way of looking at disease- and that is through primary prevention.

When I say primary prevention I don’t mean breast cancer screening. Early detection is a great way to help treat cancer, but it doesn’t prevent it. For that, we have to go back to the root causes of disease, the ones that connect all ailments. You may also ask, well what about a cure? Would I like a cure? Yes, I would love a cure for cancer, and every other disease for that matter. But in the meantime, I don’t want anyone to get sick. And even when we have a cure, I don’t want anyone to go through it and need the cure.

Now wherever life takes me, there is no going back to an old way of thinking.

 “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Needless to say, Karen stretched my mind. And as simple as it sounds to me now, prevention meant nothing to me previously. I didn’t know of chemical exposures in my daily life or windows of susceptibility in my life that make me more vulnerable. Hell, I hardly knew there were harmful chemicals in my shampoo. I have always been a bookworm, and I eagerly absorbed all the new information I could find. Now armed with knowledge, I am more capable of taking control of my own life and the lives of those I love, and that is a great feeling.

There are many widely accepted ideas about breast cancer, and all other diseases for that matter. We want to challenge those ideas, make you think differently about this thing called health. So we hope that through this blog we can open your mind, and expand its dimensions. This is your place to go for stories, speculations, and science; connecting humans and the environment through preventive health.

So be a sheep, follow your heart, and find others who do the same. We hope that you identify with our little herd of sheep, and come back again and again for more.

Melanie Gabrell