Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cancer and people

Today is one of the days I've set aside for those people and their families involved with cancer and other critical diseases. If you haven't been affected by one of them I would be surprised. Sometimes the pain is so great that we avoid talking about it. That's a shame. Admitting the pain and difficulties involved is part of the healing process.

One of my heroes is a guy that had inoperable brain cancer. His way of dealing with it was buying a sailboat and sailing around the world and visit as many tropical islands as he could. living off the local food and fauna. I haven't heard from him since. he was so grateful he found out in time to go off and realize his dream. Another is a guy diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer. He was an active, grab life by the horns type of guy, surfer, sky diver, avid skier, mountain climber and hiker all his life. After his initial diagnosis and treatments he stopped by to visit. Full of stories and jokes it took him almost two hours to tell me what was going on. Then he took off his hat and showed me his bald head. His long, flowing, curly, blond, surfer locks were gone. He grinned and said it was beginning to grow back. I felt immediate sadness. He dispelled a lot of it by explaining what he intended to do. During his treatment he saved up a lot of the pain medication and he also had a stash of "medicinal" stuff of some kind. He was leaving that day to go on a long vacation by train across the United States. Stopping spontaneously wherever he wished and ski, climb a mountain, surf or whatever tripped his trigger at that moment. I haven't heard from him either. Another acquaintance had ALS and rode across the old Route 66 with a bunch of car guys in a caravan of Corvettes. Another dream come true. A minister with the same situation lived a year as Jesus did. Doing without many common amenities. We all have our own opinion of what is important.

I've visited many other every day heroes too. Most have overcome what ever they faced and gone on to many more years of life. Others didn't fare so well and I've held their hand while they slipped away. We all have our way of handling such matters. I do know this; Friends and family can make all the difference when it comes to comfort and support. It's a good thing to remember. For them, and us don't you think?...............Joe

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