Cancer Strikes Again

Cancer is a despicable disease and I hate it.  I’m not alone in this hatred, definitely not alone in being affected by it.  In my lifetime, I’ve sat on the sidelines, helpless against it, watching it rob loved ones of all that makes them recognizable physically. 

My grandfather passed away this past Sunday after a years long battle.  He fought it off only for it pop back up in another place and this last time it was in his bones.  In the very end the doctors couldn’t even manage his pain, giving him the most morphine they could without overdosing.  His organs had shut down, his blood vessels collapsed and he was bleeding under his skin.  Due to the morphine, he didn’t recognize anyone, often hallucinating and saying wild things he would have never said in his lifetime.  It made me angry that he was in pain; when I got the phone call that he had finally passed, I was relieved.  For the first time I actually believed it when people said “He’s in a better place.”  I didn’t even cry at the funeral because I was actually happy that he was now free of his earthly body and had now entered that wonderful world where there is no pain, no sadness, no Cancer.

He’s not the first family member to die of cancer and he won’t be the last.  We’re powerless against it and it will keep coming for us, for me.  Both my paternal grandparents had cancer, and I remember watching my grandmother’s body wither away as she fought her years-long battle.  My first cousin Lee was struck down in the prime of his life with colon cancer, diagnosed in the Spring, dead in November.  Try keeping it together when a five year old stands in front of a church to talk about how much she’ll miss her father.

Both my parents have had “pre-cancerous” skin cells and I’ve already had my first scare with “pre-cancerous” cervical cells.  I often make the joke (albeit not a funny one) that at least I know how I’m going to die.  Pending a death in a car accident or some other similar tragic event, I am convinced that I will die of cancer.  And although I’m prepared for it, it’s the drawn out battle that I dread the most. 

The 101 Things to Do Before You Die list is, at its heart, about living, not dying.  We are here but for such a short time and making each day count is the most that we can do.

Thus concludeth my thesis on death.  Stay tuned for my next post which is sure to be vapid and completely mindless!

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About Jessica

Mild mannered marketing drone by day. Bucket list adventurer by late afternoon. Having first drafted a list in high school, Jessica's list of things to do before she dies has slowly taken over her life and consumes her thoughts. Because of the list, she has traveled to Mordor, plummeted towards the Earth's surface from 13,000 feet up, cavorted with whale sharks in open water, skinny dipped herself into the Guinness World Book, and cursed the day she was born during the last miles of a Marathon. It's safe to say that if Jessica is doing it, it's on the list.

10 Responses to “Cancer Strikes Again”

  1. That is really sad that your grandfather struggled with such a painful battle…that is a testimony to his determined spirit. Maybe before you die your pre-planned miserable death of cancer, you can accomplish #5 (Make a Discovery) or #76 (Invent Something) and it’ll be the cure for cancer. I hate cancer!

    Soooo…I’ve been thinking a bit about cord blood banking, but kind of blowing it off. Is this a sign that I should take it more seriously? I only have a short time to think about it. What do you think?

  2. Beautiful picture, btw!

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandpa. I agree with your post on how Cancer has touched us all. I agree with Gina – maybe we should have a thing to to do – Do everything we can to eliminate cancer.

    Thanks for the post. Thinking of you.

  4. Thanks guys. I should do more; I’ve participated half-heartedly in Relay for Life and have donated to the American Cancer Society, but I really should do more.

    Gina, I think you should definitely donate the cord blood! I’m donating blood this afternoon actually and have read just a little about the cord blood, and have already planned to donate mine when/if I have a kid. I’ve also been thinking about signing up to donate bone marrow…although I’ve heard that’s pretty painful, so I’m still considering.

  5. I’m sorry to hear about your grandfather. I know all too well what cancer can do to people. My girlfriend is an oncology nurse and she is surrounded by cancer patients every day. I asked her what it was like to have someone die on your watch and she said that even though the families knew it was coming that it was still hard for them. Also, she once worked at a children’s cancer center. It was the hardest job she ever had.

    • Thank you for your comments Steve. I don’t think it could ever get easy even if you were around it every day, and kids with illnesses are just the worst. I could never work in a medical field, I just couldn’t handle it.

  6. im 20 years old and just got told at the docs theres a mass in my lungs..been smoking for 2 years so i can really only blame myself. but yeah im puttin together my list of things to do now…one of which is take out a life policy….sorry for your loss. kind of makes you see things differently when your staring down a barrel such as this though…

    • Sean, I’m so sorry about this crappy news. Hopefully they caught it early enough it can be treated and you can go on to live a full and exciting life. I look forward to hearing about your life list and the adventures it will bring for you.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Why You Should Have a Life List | 101 Things to Do Before You Die - April 5, 2011

    [...] a good friend’s father, and a classmate with whom I graduated high school.  I detailed my grandfather’s passing in November and we’ve just today returned from Alex’s grandfather’s [...]

  2. Thing to Do #21: Be a Human Guinea Pig | 101 Things to Do Before You Die - April 10, 2013

    [...] talked about how much I hate cancer here on this blog. With a strong genetic disposition for it and having 3 small encounters with it [...]

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