This post contains harsh language. I am angry and sad and I use four letter words. For those of you looking for my usual thoughts about grief and returning to life, this week I need to write about something else.
David Bowie died from cancer this week.
So did Alan Rickman. I'm sure there are others of whom I am not aware. Some are likely people you know and love.
This past Monday I had my bi-annual MRI to make sure the cancer I had at 26 has not returned. I was in the same facility where Kevin had his chemo, where he had to use a wheelchair because he could no longer walk more than 15 feet and where we briefly thought there was some version of hope.
This past Monday was the anniversary of the death of my new man's father, lung cancer.
Tomorrow, Saturday, is the third anniversary of the death of another friend, pancreatic cancer. Early this week was the anniversary of another friend's mother, glioblastoma.
And on this coming Monday it will be two years since Kevin, my sweet, strong, smart, amazing husband, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
It's everywhere. Cancer is fucking everywhere.
I can only think it's in the water, the air, our food, clothing and very cells. I can only think it's waiting for us all, the punchline to some terrible joke of our own misbegotten humor. And yes, I know the mechanisms so I understand that yes, it is technically waiting for us all. I am not interested in recommended cures or preventatives at this moment, nor am I interested in theories about who is responsible and why. Right now I am angry and I need to rage. I held my anger in check while he was ill because it wouldn't have helped. Since his death I have been careful about what anger I have vented in front of witnesses. Right now, in this moment, at this writing, I am angry.
Pancreatic cancer used to be rare. Maybe it was rare because by the time it's found it's typically everywhere so people didn't know it was pancreatic in origin, but it wasn't this common. It's about to displace breast cancer as the third most common cancer in the U.S. It is arguably the most fatal and yet still research is underfunded because it kills so quickly there is little profit in prevention or cure (1).
When Kevin was sick and fighting it was very hard to not see the cancer as having some kind of malevolent intelligence. No matter what we did it snuck around us and had a more effective counter move. It was so fast. It was so wicked. I know, it has no innate intelligence but I'll be damned if it didn't seem like it did.
None of that really matters. What matters is that someone I love/d more than my own self was eaten alive by this demon. What matters is that someone you love was, too.
Such a waste.
Such a waste.
Fuck cancer. Fuck the culture that teaches us that it's better to smoke and to eat unhealthy foods than to love ourselves enough to take care of our bodies. Fuck the greed that says poisoning our environment is worth the risks. Fuck the mindset that says the treatment or prevention must make back the cost of research and development, never mind how many lives it might save.
Fuck cancer and the horse it rode in on (2). Today I am angry and sad and just needed to say all of this. Because I couldn't save him. Because even with all the good in my life, even with new love and hope (the new does not replace the old) I miss Kevin with a ferocity that tears me open and leaves me empty. Because cancer is the mother fucker that stole him from me. Because sometimes rage is the best we can do.
1. If you'd like to donate towards research, early testing and treatment I recommend these organizations: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (which is more patient focused) and The Lustgarten Foundation (which has more of a research bent). For what it's worth, I have the Lustgarten Foundation set up for my Amazon Smile page.
2. I know many people reading this will have lost someone to something other than cancer. I am in no way minimizing your loss and pain. I'm just expressing mine. Thanks for understanding.