Some of you know I lost my brother to cancer a few years ago, I was at least lucky enough to be able to be present when he drew his last breath in this world. This was a few weeks after we sat fishing all day at the end of the pier in Ryde where we discussed it all and put the whole world and all of its troubles to rights between us. (You should bear I mind Brexit did not exist then)
My brother in law in Wales is very busy at the moment going through treatment and giving cancer a very bloody nose and a hard kick in the nuts.
As I write the draft of this piece I have just finished on the phone after an awful evening of hearing news from some very dear people. While upset, I must tell myself that although I feel lousy and angry – it is but nothing compared to how some of these dear people are feeling this evening.
Seriously – I am going to bed tonight remembering how lucky I am, that for now anyway,
I will not wake up tomorrow morning and my first thought would be that I have cancer.
My goodness. I am having trouble just trying to think how bad that would be, and at the same time it has put just about every little trivial piece of crap in my life into a proper perspective when compared to what that must feel like.
What gives something like cancer the right to pop up out of the blue and screw up a person’s life?
No – hang on a moment – it is not just one person – it is all their immediate family – their close friends, their extended family and people they will know from their work, club, pub or social society. Illness and sickness know no boundaries and has no respect for fairness.
I am not going to pretend it is worse for the people left behind – I feel sure that the person who is unwell would trade places with someone else in a heartbeat – it is the unfairness of the whole situation.
I want to swear, to curse, to shout and to cry all at the same time – and yet I am (for now anyway) one of those who will wake up tomorrow morning without that dread. How lucky I am, how blessed.
In a way this is why I retired – I wanted to get ahead of the game and stop work while I had the remains of some health and enjoy myself a bit.
The trouble is – Cancer, and some other illnesses are not selective, and they are very persistent. I am in a generation where this illness is starting to have a big impact.
As I sit here this evening and start to write this piece I have just spoken to four people in the space of an hour or two.
One person told me of two ex Kennet Valley woodturning club members, one of whom was buried last week, unknown to me, and one of whom died two nights ago. The news was given to me by a person I love and admire and who is very ill with cancer himself.
I had a note from the wife of a close friend has just been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Another friend has just rung to tell me he has just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and now has to have an MRI scan. He lost his wife to cancer not long ago.
I am seeing messages from an ex work colleague who is undergoing cancer treatment at the moment – she is being amazingly positive. How does she do that for goodness sake!
There are a couple of others I can't yet talk about.
(and I mean that with every fibre of my being)
I don’t know how cancer chooses a person, it sure as hell is not the other way around – who would choose it? I do know that having made the choice – cancer seems to make people both weaker and stronger at the same time. Physically the illness causes weakness, but the strength that it brings to those who gather to support, to help, to nurse and to love those who are fighting it will surely ultimately defeat it.
I am left wondering what the hell to do for the best – in fact can I even do anything?
There are so many charities and well-meaning bodies working to alleviate this rotten thing and it seems that anything I could do would make no difference at all, but if we all felt like that it would be very dangerous. If you are a charity type person – keep doing it!
I understand that Type 1 and 2 Prostate cancer has a 99% success rate – albeit this has a timeline attached – many cancers can be treated – but not all of them cured. It’s a terminology thing. That said – they are discovering better treatments every day.
Breast Cancer has an increasing success/cure result – long may that continue.
Cancer – you bastard – your days are numbered and you will not win.
Sorry – I am very angry.