Saturday, November 10, 2012

the big C

Cancer. It has a lot to answer for. And this year it appears to have more to answer for than most as far as I'm concerned.

When our friend Natalie died earlier this year Ange described how she felt angry with cancer, yet how could you be angry with a disease? I knew just how she felt. I've lost two friends of my generation to cancer this year, both mothers of young children. One of my school friends also lost her husband to it recently and another's husband is currently getting treatment for testicular cancer. On top of this a family I know well in the UK and another friend here are in the unenviable position of currently having their mothers in a hospice with cancer. Last week I was at a funeral for another friend who died from the same, although given she was nearly 80 and had squeezed more living into her retirement alone than most people could hope to manage in several lifetimes you can't help but feel she had a good innings really. And that is just since March this year and are those who spring to mind without having to think about it too hard... on top of this are all the mentions on facebook of other friends who have lost dear ones through it. At least on the bright side Eleanor still seems to be in the clear after her treatment.

Is it one of those stages of life things where as well as the hatched and matched the dispatched start stacking up as well? Or is there really more cancer about than I remember in the past? Is it a case of greater awareness, better diagnosis or simply as a society we're more upfront and open about what is wrong? I just don't remember there being so many people I knew being affected by it in the first two or even three decades of my life. At least not so many younger than three score year and ten. I can think of one family friend who died 'young' from it during that time (hard to get my head around the fact looking back, but she probably wasn't much older than I am now!) but that is all, it seemed then to be an 'old persons' disease affecting my grandparents generation. Maybe my parents will be able to rattle off a list of ones I've overlooked, but the fact that I've forgotten or more likely never even knew about the cause shows that it wasn't really talked about, otherwise why does Lynne stand out as the exception?

Whichever it is, my thoughts and prayers are with Susan, Megan and the K-Ds as they either hope the treatment will cure or at least ease the passing. I watch with admiration as various friends do all manner of things to raise money for cancer research and can't help but feel that my monthly donation to the cause is a bit of a feeble cop out on that front.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think cancer is more prevalent now than it was, partly because of better diagnostic procedures and maybe also because so many other things that did cause serious illness are now more treatable. I know that if I'd had the level of asthma when I was a teenager that I sometimes have now, I would have struggled to survive. Fortunately for me, modern medical advances have kept pace with the increasing severity of my asthma.
But that doesn't make it any easier to cope when bad news hits about another friend.