Life is pretty good for me at the moment, in fact it is more than pretty good considering I often wondered during treatment and as the months passed by recovering from treatment would I ever feel well again. As you know if you have been reading my previous posts that I have some long term side effects but on the greater scheme of things, I feel truly grateful that I managed to dodge a bullet again!
This doesn’t mean that when I hear of someone newly diagnosed that I am inured to it, in fact I am stopped in my tracks as I feel utter dismay at yet another person having to endure all that a diagnosis of cancer brings. I was getting my hair washed and blow-dried in preparation for the weekend when I asked after my hairdresser’s mother was feeling after a bout of pneumonia. She then told me the devastating news that no family ever wants to hear. As she recounted all that had happened to date I couldn’t help but feel a profound sadness for her mother and her family that has overshadowed everything these past couple of days. I couldn’t offer her any solace only listen to her tell her story and I certainly didn’t want to burden her with inane stories of how other people managed to survive etc. as that used drive me crazy. Knowing my history, she passed a comment about how it visits every family at some stage and that they were lucky to have gotten this far.
According to the National Cancer Registry of Ireland and the Irish Cancer Society , in Ireland an average of 40,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year and by 2020, 1 in 2 people in Ireland will develop cancer during their lifetime. When I was diagnosed first in 1999 it was a 1 in 3 chance of developing cancer during a lifetime. Frightening statistics-so you have a better chance of getting cancer than winning the lottery. Every family in Ireland, if not already touched by cancer, will be affected and if the statistics prove correct more than one member of each family will develop cancer. That is a sobering thought. What are we doing wrong? We can’t accept these figures passively, yet presently we can’t fight genetic mutations or that random blip in cell division that sets off a cancerous tumour. Well, what can we do? While we wait for the wonderful scientists and researchers find a way to reverse this trend we need to take ownership ourselves by adopting healthier lifestyles, listening proactively to health promotion advice and take responsibility for our health. Only time will tell if our actions have a positive effect but even just doing something collectively as a society the next generation will hopefully have the armour necessary to halt this worrying trend.
As my hairdresser, trying to be professional, after a while moved the chat to a different topic I could sense that neither of us could really keep the usual banter up and as it slowly fizzled to silence, each of us lost in our own private thoughts, all I could think of was that cancer stinks.