A few years ago the headlines were filled with reports of breast cancer. Several leading ladies in society were undergoing operations for it, and talk of this ran rampant. At work an acquaintance of mine underwent surgery for the disease, and later she relayed to me descriptions of many unpleasant and unforeseen aftereffects. Not long after that, I began to manifest symptoms associated with cancer. Mrs. Eddy warns us against taking in the picture of disease (Science and Health, p. 197): "A new name for an ailment affects people like a Parisian name for a novel garment. Every one hastens to get it. A minutely described disease costs many a man his earthly days of comfort. What a price for human knowledge!"
Soon I found it increasingly difficult to face each day. As the pain worsened, I became deeply fearful. Then suddenly I became profoundly apathetic. Figuring I had little to live for anyway, I reasoned that since death was just a dream shadow, it would not matter if I passed on, since my identity as a child of God would still remain intact. This morose line of thought was reversed as I read a testimony of healing in one of the Christian Science periodicals. The testifier, a woman with a terminal disease, decided that if she were going to die, then so be it; but first she would learn as much as she could about God in the time she had left. She heard of Christian Science and began to study it in earnest. Eventually she was entirely healed.
This convinced me that dying was not a way out. And a statement by Mrs. Eddy confirmed for me the wisdom of taking a get-started-now approach (Science and Health, p. 90), "The understanding and recognition of Spirit must finally come, and we may as well improve our time in solving the mysteries of being through an apprehension of divine Principle." As I understood it, even if I passed on, I would still be faced with solving the problem of being and, specifically, with the belief of life and intelligence in matter. So I figured I might as well get on with it now.