Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cancer Sucks

My Grandparents died from it. My mother had it (in remission), but now she needs to have a full mastectomy because a genetic marker indicates she's at higher risk to get it again (she has surgery on March 7). And now, a friend and colleague of mine has it. This guy is healthier than 95% of other men his age, has like zero body fat, and is always encouraging everyone to ride with him (more like follow from a long distance). That's just hard to take in and process. While he's the one that has his world rocked, cancer also has a nasty side effect on family and friends. Put it bluntly: Cancer sucks.

Few other spoken words, irregardless of language or dialect, can evoke as much emotion as 'cancer'. Even as scary as influenza and other diseases like AIDS are, and as much devastation they can bring to an individual, a family, a community, and even the world, there's something about cancer that is so viscerally scary to us. For me it's because cancer is, in my non-medical, simpleton view, a mutation of cells. It's not like a virus or an infection where a foreign organism is making you sick, and you can take medication to kill off the nasty invaders - it's your own cells that, for some reason have started going haywire. That's just downright frightening to me. And that cancer is so seemingly random and unpredictable just makes that much more hard to take - you could be in the best possible physical shape and still get it.

Science and medicine have come so far when it comes to curing many forms of cancer. Many people have a good chance of living long, healthy lives if they catch the disease early. But often they have to go down through the depths of hell physically and emotionally to get to the finish line: cancer-free. Yet, they keep their eyes on the prize.

I'm pretty sure my friend will beat this. His odds are really high, and his outlook on life and his current illness are positive, which also increases his chances.

If nothing else, it's a reminder that life is too short, so live it to its fullest. It's so easy to become burdened with frustration, stress, angst, even hatred. In other words, we lose sight of the forest within the trees. I'm probably the most susceptible to this.

In short: Work hard. Play harder. Laugh more. Celebrate with your family and friends. Find something everyday that is good. A sunrise or sunset, a laugh with your kids, a hug or a kiss with your spouse or significant other, a walk in the park with your dog. It's your life - own it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very well written and unfortunately many of us share very similar experiences. It has touched my family to a degree that is almost unbelievable; and you're right very right in that it is easy to lose sight of what really matters. I'm very glad I stumbled upon this as a reminder of that today; thanks for sharing!