Friday, May 24, 2013

Going back in time

We are making some changes around here. Some might call us crazy. In some ways we're going back to how people lived about 15 years ago. Mostly with our phones. Here's what we're doing:

This past week we installed a house line. Our cell phones are going to become track phones that remain off in our cars unless we have an emergency. My track phone will have unlimited texting and 50 minutes a month. It will cost $10 a month. Our house phone has unlimited minutes for $40 a month.

You might assume that we are making these changes to save money. Although that is a lovely side benefit, that's not what prompted us to go back to house phones and answering machines.

Here's the deeper reason. Gliobastomas are a brain tumor whose frequency used to be 2-3 people out of 100,000. It was classified as the most common form of brain cancer, but over all as a very rare form of cancer to have. In the past two years I now know 4 men who have died from this type of cancer. My best friend's father in law, my husband's uncle, my father in law's boss, and a man I met at the hospital just before resigning from my job doing ultrasound. (I don't think I know 100,000 people, but I know more than the average out of that number that would usually get this.... something seems wrong with that) With surgery and treatments, they lived approximately 1 year from the time of diagnosis. Three out of four of them were very young, one had four kids whose ages ranged from 6-12 years old. One thing they each had in common was being business men, in high demand, who spent a large part of each day on the phone, mostly on cell phones or using blue tooth devices. If cell phones were the cause, not one of them had any clue that the two were related.

I do not want to start a scare or a panic attack at the thought of cell phones and blue tooth, and I will not base my life decisions on fear. However, I also will not put our health in jeopardy for the sake of convenience. Whether that means changing some things in our diet, limiting our exposure to cell phones, etc. It doesn't matter. Convenience is not going to be a god in my life. I don't want to run around fearful of everything and assuming the worst, and I realize that we are never going to eliminate wireless exposure in our lives and probably not stop eating all processed foods completely (In fact we are far from that point right now). But if we can do our part in our own household by turning our cell phones off, then I would like to.

If you start researching cell phones and brain cancer it is one of the first things that will come up when you begin googling "cell phones and.." The articles are varied, everything from one end of the spectrum to the other. I am not trying to pick sides or weed through to get to the truth, and let's face it, there's a TON of money in the cell phone industry, and if there is truth of this sort hidden in there, it's not going to come out easily. What I am doing is basing our decisions on our personal experiences. I am not on my cell phone much, and I don't really consider that I'm doing this for me. I'm doing this for Shaun and the boys. Shaun is a business man, he's on his phone with customers constantly. Now he can call them from home. And our boys. What kid isn't fascinated by cell phones? How many parents give their kids their phones to play with and distract them if they need a few minutes of peace? I'd be lying if I said I hadn't done that before. But good gracious. Our babies. Their heads still have soft spots in them.... there isn't research or experiences to show what will happen ten years down the road to a generation of babies who were allowed to have cell phones in close proximity to their heads.

When we first tossed around this idea it was months ago. It took us a long time to actually do it because our culture and lifestyle is so engrained in us to be able to contact anyone, anywhere, at the touch of a button. Doesn't matter where you are either. It's hard to go backwards after being used to that. But I figure, with a little intentionality, a little forethought, and a little patience, we can make this work. After all, answering machines on house phones used to be the greatest, most convenient invention ever. I don't want to take for granted what used to be so valued. If you really want to go back in time, before there were phones, you wrote letters, and things were planned way in advance and with purpose and intentionality. I know I have a sentimental soul, and that times in the past are very intriguing and alluring to me. I'm not trying to say that I'm not thankful for all the modern conveniences and advantages we have now. I mean, after all, I'm sitting here nice and cozy on my bed with a computer on my lap, blogging. I really enjoy the internet, electricity, driving around in a car, cooking on a stove, not having to skin my own meat for dinner etc.....

But it feels good to have taken this step. I'm sure this will be a controversial post, but I hope if one things is clear, it's that there are two things I don't want to live out of: convenience or fear. Finding the balance in changing our lifestyles to reflect this is tough, but I want to give it a try.

Anyone else have any comments or research you've done on this subject?
(I purposely did not share any articles on what I've read because I don't want you just clicking on links and hearing one side... I think it's good to do balanced research on a subject.) So tell me, what do you think??

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