Seated for lunch next to the wife of a famous breast surgeon, and one seat over is perhaps the richest woman in St. Louis, a very demure lady, and I'm listening as they discuss the cancer-ridden couple who on May 15 won a $2 billion judgement from Monsanto, St. Louis-based manufacturer of the carcinogenic herbicide Roundup, sprayed annually on the Divine property when I first got here, but hasn't been for years.
Surgeon's Wife: Did you hear about the $2 billion judgment against Monsanto?
Richest Woman: Did you say billion?
Surgeon's Wife: With a "b."
Richest Woman: My. That does sound excessive. I used to work for Monsanto in the [don't remember what was said, but her husband worked for Monsanto].
Surgeon's Wife: These lawsuits are out of control.
Richest Woman: I don't know how business will survive if this is the trend.
Surgeon's Wife: Remember all the lawsuits that said breast implants cause cancer? They didn't cause cancer. Breast implants never caused cancer. But patients sued and got millions. Millions. That hurt a lot of people. A lot of people.
It dawns on me that her "lot of people" means the surgeons and doctors, such as her husband, who had to make injurious payouts. This, to me -- one of 3.5 million American breast cancer survivors -- was a unique and enlightening perspective. I said nothing. As of tomorrow I am a 10-year survivor.