Cancer and Other Awful Stuff

I’ve been at a loss for things to write about lately, but tonight a post on Fyrchk‘s blog inspired me. You need to go and read and support her efforts to support finding a cure for cancer. I admire her for what she’s doing with her blog, and since I have yet to contribute to her cause (and thereby get to take over her blog for a day) I will say my cancer piece here. I’m working on the duckets.

In short, it scares the shit out of me. Cancers that effect only women scare me more, for the obvious reason–because I’m a woman, and because I know women’s health research is not adequately funded. KBear told a story on Fyrchk’s blog that is reminiscent of so many women’s stories I’ve heard. There’s something wrong in the G-Y-N realm and doctors have no clue what it is or how to fix it, so they put band-aids (read: hormones) on cancers (probably literally as well) and hope for the best. I know so much of medicine is trial and error, but I think women’s health gets the short end of this stick. I know women who have been on oral contraceptives for 10 and 15 YEARS, not because they are wanting to prevent pregnancy, because they won’t stop bleeding without them. I’m sorry. That doesn’t sound like FIXED to me. I digress.

Cancer has wreaked havoc upon my family in the last couple of years. I lost my aunt S. (dad’s sister) and my aunt D. (mom’s sister-in-law) within a year of each other. Both were in their 50’s. Both died of lung cancer. Both were life-long smokers. I’ve noticed that people tend to put disclaimer’s on their loved one’s cancers. They often point out when the sufferer’s own choices weren’t contributory to their cancer. I have mixed feelings about this. While I’m glad that the cancer wasn’t the person’s “fault”, so what if it was. It’s still horrible suffering and agonizing to watch. And whether people made unhealthy choices or not, no one deserves the horrors of dying from cancer. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

But, considering that my aunts died of cancer that quite likely was preventable, I’m a HUGE anti-smoking person. I don’t mean to offend anyone who smokes, and I certainly don’t judge smokers (both of my parents smoked for more than 40 years each and it took at least 10 for them to quit for good) I really, really, really urge them to consider giving it up. My auntie had a burn in her back in the shape of a lung from the radiation. It ain’t pretty people.

I celebrate as my state, county by county, goes smoke-free in bars and restaurants. Yes, I’ve considered what it means to business, but I enjoy these establishments and I don’t want to develop respiratory problems because of smoking within them. I grew up on second-hand smoke. Now I have a choice about it and I choose to avoid it whenever I can. DC just went smoke-free last month. Whooo-hoooo!!!

So, I’m not putting a disclaimer on my aunts’ cancers. They were smokers. That likely killed them. I miss them terribly and on their behalf I join Fyrchk and her supporters: FUCK CANCER!

I know that I make choices everyday that contribute to my risk factors for all kinds of horrible stuff. I’m usually more mindful of this after I have swallowed, but I’m working on it. (OK, if you did a double take on that last sentence…that’s not what I meant.) I know that my being over-weight sets me up for all kinds of problems. My health is my main motivation to make changes in this area. I just get so side-tracked when it tastes so good. Does that mean I deserve to die of diabetes related complications? I don’t think so. And it would suck if I did, as much as it would suck for the person who ate healthily and exercised and died of the same illness. Right?

I know that many of you readers have lost loved ones to one of these illnesses I’ve mentioned. I have thought of you as I’ve typed each of these words. I shutter at the thought of my parents getting older and of the reality that we’ll all die of something. I’d prefer to go peacefully in my sleep.

These are my loved ones and those of my friends who’ve died of awful illnesses and whose deaths have touched my life. There’s one person here who I never met, but she’s touched my life through her daughter time and time again.

Sharon E., Dene E.,Toby E., Arleva E., Mickey F., Sharon M., Mark M.

Please add to the list and, if you can, support the fight for cures.

American Cancer Society
American Heart Association
American Diabetes Association
American Foundation for AIDS Research
The Women’s Health Foundation


4 thoughts on “Cancer and Other Awful Stuff

  1. I, too, have lost loved ones too young to cancer. Some of them smoked, some did not. I grew up with second-hand smoke but have never voluntarily smoked, so I am very happy when it is made illegal somewhere.

    We still have a long way to go.

    This was a very eloquent post, and an irresistible appeal for all of us to help the cause.

    By the way, Lex, your new typeface looks great but is difficult to read. If it were not you, I might not make the effort (magnifier, etc.) Just thought you should know

  2. @ Heart

    Indeed there’s a long way to go, and thank you.

    What’s difficult to read? Is the type to large? Do you have to scroll side to side? Is it too small? Colors? I see it in Firefox and Internet Explorer 7? It looks the same to me in both. Does it look funky in something else?

    Please tell me more about what’s making it difficult. I don’t know if I can switch all the way back to where it was before, but I certainly don’t want it to be hard to read.

  3. Lexi, thanks for remembering my mommy. It means tons to me.

    You know that this subject is a difficult one for me. Every single female on my mother’s father’s side has died of cancer. My great-grandmother, all of my great-aunts, one aunt and my mom. Breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, bone cancer… you name it. My mom’s cancer was rare and metastasized to her lungs. One great-aunt was a smoker, but died of breast cancer. So I’m with you. It really doesn’t matter how it came to be. Cancer is an ugly disease, and I was angry at it for many years.

    And I constantly fight the fear that I won’t escape it either. My prayer is that my kids get to have me until long after they no longer need me.

    I miss my mom.

  4. Lexi,

    The white type on light green doesn’t show up well here, and the pink type is impossible to read without a magnifier because there isn’t enough contrast. The size of the typeface is not a problem, though. I’m in Safari, if that tells you anything.

    I will always read your posts, though, because I enjoy and value your views.

    Crotchety Old Lady

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