Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cancer--UPDATE

I haven't written anything about John and Elizabeth Edwards because there hasn't been much to say. Cancer sucks. It always comes at an inconvenient, important time, because life is always important.

Now, Tony Snow announces the horrible news that the cancer has metastasized to his liver. Most people know what this news means. It's not good. My heart goes out to all these families.

Cancer touched my family, my husband, nearly five years ago. He was 33 at the time. A year and half later, my friend, at the ripe old age of 36 was diagnosed with breast cancer. Both my husband and friend are doing well, but cancer changes your life. Every cold, every unexplained pain, and most of all, a day or two of fatigue cause unspoken, forced nonchalant worry.

We determined that cancer would be "a bump". Steve was back at work within the week after surgery. He's a doctor. What's he going to do? As it was, patients stopped coming to the office, the exact opposite of what we needed at the time, not wanting to cause him trouble.

I'm tired of cancer. It eats away at the body and it destroys lives. Is it just my experience or does it seem like more young people are getting cancer?

Even still, it's important to keep perspective. Heart disease kills more people than cancer. Diabetes is almost wholly preventable and afflicts millions. This last weekend our healthy, kind next door neighbor had a heart-attack at age 50. He received stellar emergency care, but could have been dead just that quick. He would have looked very healthy in his coffin.

We don't know when our last moment on this earth will be so we have to live life now. It's easy to life like we will never die and live in tomorrow, "Oh, I'll take care of that, do that, hug her, later." It's easy to live in the past cursing the unfairness of life. Well, both ways of living are really ways of ignoring today. Today is important. It's a gift for each of us. Living in gratitude is the only way to live.

Control is an illusion. Cancer reminds us of the truth of this.

UPDATE: I hate to even include this. What is wrong with people?

5 comments:

MaxedOutMama said...

For some reason the Snow announcement hit me hard. I couldn't even stand to read the Edwards announcement. I feel for that family so deeply. I don't know that any better attitude than yours can be used to meet such news. One virtue of suffering is that it teaches us how to help others. I am sorry that you and your family have suffered so much, but you have such a bright, true voice, and I can't help but think that is because of all you have had to cope with. The world needs knowing courage such as yours.

None of us are even guaranteed the next moment. In the middle of that uncertainty we live, laugh and mourn. If you have faith, the present uncertainty is tempered by the knowledge of a vast joyful, though unknown, certainty. If you don't, it is terribly hard to deal with the reality of our uncertain lives.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Both the Edwards family and Tony Snow and his family must be running through the ringer. I know that people of all walks of life suffer with things like cancer, but I can't help but wonder if the stress of politics eats away at these people--especially people who feel deeply.

These announcements hit me hard, too. What can you do? You soldier on, that's what you do. You live life. The Edwards lost a child and that anguish and pain can eat at you, too.

For all the political differences, there is no question about the love between John and Elizabeth Edwards--a sort of wisdom that only comes from being run through the ringer. I want her to get better very soon. She has young children who need her. In our short time in practice--10 years--we've seen three women die of breast cancer that went everywhere. Eventually the brain for all of them. All of these ladies were young mothers.

It is very distressing. I hate cancer. I really, really do.

Sharon said...

Cancer affects too many people. It sucks, pure and simple. My aunt has survived for 10 years plus, following her diagnosis and aggressive treatments. My dad died at 53, 9 months after his diagnosis, with aggressive treatment.

One never knows what tomorrow brings, but even the worst of news brings opportunity. The question is what are we going to do about it? Giving up isn't an option for most people in spite of the unmistakable sadness and grief that one must process due to the news. For me, I knew in August that statistically speaking, my dad would not be alive the following August. He didn't make it through May. A whole lot of life-changing and life-affirming things happened between August and May...A lot more love and compassion was exchanged...A lot more time and energy spent on the important things: people and relationships.

My heart goes out to individuals and families facing health troubles. I know that it will be difficult and often full of anguish, but I also know they will experience some positives along the way. That's one thing that keeps ya goin'.

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