There are few people I know whose lives have not been touched by cancer in some way. Either they themselves have had it in one form or another or a scare or someone they loves has battled and triumphed or lost a hard-fought battle. Even our beloved pets are not spared this hideous disease whose treatment is often as bad as the disease itself.
Today a friend lost a close and dear friend to cancer. She is taking it hard, as most friends would, and I feel helpless, as there is nothing you can do or say to ease the heart-broken by the death of a friend. It was quick, which some see as a blessing, his suffering was not drug out and with luck he was able to live his life on his terms to the very end. This is true, but for those left behind, the ones who didn’t get to say goodbye, who thought they had more time to tell their friend how much they loved them and how important they are to them, a sudden death is like a double blow to the heart.
This is the second friend who has lost someone to cancer in less than a week. Another friend is having a mass for her step mother right now. While they were not close, seeing her father mourn the loss of his wife of more than 30 years is difficult. No matter how old you are, seeing your father in such a vulnerable state is hard.
Trying to find the words to comfort my friends I thought back on all the ways cancer has touched my life. While I suffer with a chronic illness, I have thus far been spared a personal experience with cancer myself (knocking on wood as I type). I have lost family to cancer, but at very advanced ages, so they had long, wonderful lives. The hardest loss was of a friend at just 30 years of age. Amy was pregnant with her second child when she first became ill. She fought hard, but lost her battle before her son turned a year old. She was a wonderful person and my greatest fear was her small children would grow up not knowing their mother.
I have a friend battling colon cancer. He is doing an experimental treatment now, as the traditional treatments failed him no matter how closely he followed the doctors’ treatment plan. That is one of the worst things about cancer, the treatments don’t work the same for everyone. There are no guarantees. You put your trust and faith into a doctor and treatment and hope for the best. Right now, things seem to be good, or as good as possible. He is such a good person, I mean one of those people everyone likes and who makes everyone feel loved. He is a big teddy bear that you just want to hug when you see him. He is an amazing husband and father, who has devoted his life to caring for and making sure his family knows they are his priority. He will fight with everything he has, not for him, but for them, because that is the kind of man he is.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, last year a former friend also found out they had colon cancer. While I will never say anyone deserves to struck with a potentially deadly disease, this person lives in a state of constant negativity. She had the same surgery, the same treatment plan and is doing great: no further treatment, no additional surgery. I look at both of them and question why. Why is this man who brings so much good into the world given the crap hand and endless suffering and the woman who spews negativity gets a royal flush? I know life isn’t far, but damn, cancer is truly the cruelest of all.
Cancer sucks. It robs us of our lives and our loved ones. It takes the joy of out day-to-day, as the fear of cancer from what we eat, what we drink, where was live and work. No matter the type or when it strikes, it’s horrible. I don’t wish cancer on my worst enemy and one of my constant wishes is that no one I love falls prey.