As we advance through this adventure called life, there are certain uncomfortable truths that soon become evident—like death. From a fairly early age, we come to understand that there will most likely people we know and love who will take the path to the afterlife without us. None of us is immune. The Grim Reaper eventually catches up to all of us.
Grant and I have been fortunate to have our parents with us into our middle age. There are some longevity genes in there so hopefully they’ll stick around a little longer. Both of my parents’ mothers lived well into their nineties, and Grant had a Grandmother who made it to 102.
Funny how you form ideas in your mind, without even consciously thinking about it, regarding who you expect to live the longest. One of my grandmothers was a person I always expected to die young. Every time we turned around, she was being rushed to the hospital, and I can’t say how many times my parents grimly informed me that we needed to go say goodbye, because Grammie wasn’t going to be with us much longer.
Yet somehow the old girl always rallied, and she ended up living well into her nineties. She was one of those amazing individuals who were living life large all the way to the end. Perhaps it was the constant specter of death hanging over her that gave her the zest for living.
My Mom, who was always hyper and healthy and jumping rope well into her sixties, is the one I figured would live to be 120. I often told Grant she would probably bury us all. Yet she has recently had some scary health issues that have caused us all to sit up and wonder if the world has turned completely upside-down.
We expect those older than us to go first, like our grandparents. After that you face the sad fact that you will most likely outlive your parents, as well. But somehow you think your friends are going to be right there with you to the bitter end.
One of my best friends was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is that person, the one who is bouncing off the walls, running, biking, sailing and the absolute picture of health. When I first heard the news, the denial kicked in, because of all the people I might have expected to get cancer, it wasn’t her.
As a nation, we’ve been fighting wars for over two hundred years. In recent times, it has become fashionable to fight wars against non-human entities, like the war on drugs or the war on terror. Was it Nixon back in the seventies who first started talking about the war on cancer?
I was a teenager in the seventies, and now I’m a middle-aged grandmother. Is it just me, or does it seems like the war on cancer has been a big frigging flop? In fact, everything I read seems to point to the fact that cancer rates are actually going up at an alarming rate. Seems like anyone who lives long enough eventually gets cancer.
I wonder if cave men had to deal with the beast? Thinking about it, I was able to come up with a long list of things that killed cave men; getting eaten by a saber tooth tiger or other large predator. Being accidently (or not) shot by a compatriot during a mammoth hunt. Being stepped on by a mammoth during a mammoth hunt. Being strangled by your cave-wife after coming home empty-handed from the mammoth hunt because she has been cooped up in the cave with six hungry whining cave kids for two weeks and is convinced you were just out whooping it up with the guys instead of getting down to the serious business of bringing mammoth-meat home to the family.
I’m sure bad teeth, infection, disease, the occasional bout of appendicitis and, oh yes, childbirth took out most cave people before they got old enough to think about getting cancer.
But then, cave people didn’t have Monsanto or DuPont or Exxon to deal with. There were no genetically modified anything, no antibiotics or hormones in the mammoth meat. Their water was clean, their air was clean, and they weren’t bombarded on a daily basis with a noxious cocktail of toxic chemicals.
They also didn’t have drug companies. I guess these companies justify charging a sick and dying person $5,000 a month for a handful of pills (an atrocity I just heard about yesterday) because their shareholders are making money……
It is puzzling to me how what we consider a technologically advanced society who has been waging a war on a disease for forty years can’t come up with anything better than poisoning the patient, burning (radiation) or cutting. It makes the cave people look modern by comparison.
I did hear years ago about a guy who supposedly cured himself of cancer with humor. He just sat down in front of the TV and started watching funny movies. Anything that would make him laugh. He eventually licked the disease and lived long enough to write about his experience.
I’m sure the quacks are going to have their way with my friend. She will probably have to endure the path many before her have endured. But she is strong and has a great support system, so I expect her to breeze through it and be around twenty years from now to tell the story.
In the meantime, I’d appreciate hearing from anyone what they consider the funniest movie they’ve ever watched. I’m starting a collection for my friend.