Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Idea of Karma

One of the things I've been wondering about that doesn't really have an answer is the question that everyone has at some point in their lives: why do bad things happen to good people?

The reason why I started thinking about this was because of what's happened in my family recently. Just last year, my grandfather was diagnosed with the worst kind of brain cancer there is, the most malignant tumor. This kind of cancer is called glioblastoma, or GBM.

GBM is is a malignant, cancerous tumor that affects the brain. It is rare; there are less than 200,000 cases in the US in a year. GBM is the most aggressive brain cancer of it’s kind. There is not a sure cure for it yet, like how there is not a sure cure for most cancers yet. Most treatment involves surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation. Life expectancy after diagnosis is 12 to 15 months. The most powerful symptom of GBM is progressive memory or personality deficit, but symptoms depend on the location of the tumor in the brain. GBM occurs more commonly in males.

Even though my grandfather cannot speak or move the right side of his body, I think that the worst part of this is that he's starting to forget who we are. This is similar to Alzheimer's disease, which affects memory, but it's the tumor that's affecting his brain. Some days, he knows who we are, and others, he doesn't seem so sure.

My grandfather is a great person. Our whole family has asked each other this question at least once: What did he do to deserve this sickness? Do things like this happen for a reason?

This is similar to the idea of karma from Hinduism and Buddhism. These people believe that whatever you do in this life affects how your next life is lived, or decides their fate in your other lives. Did my grandfather do something wrong in his other life and that's why he now has GBM?

I don't know the answer to these questions, so in the future, I will continue researching karma and see how these ideas work.