For Dear Life


 

By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way to have a diagnostic procedure at my local treatment centre. I know, on a freakin’ Saturday morning! What a way to write off a day. Don’t worry, dear reader, I’m as healthy (or strong) as an ox. But as you may know from earlier posts, cancer has featured far too commonly amongst my siblings (robbing me of one of them), so I have to have regular checks because now I’m under the radar. And I’m thankfulno, utterly grateful, to be under the radar. If anything should crop up in the future, hopefully it can be nipped in the bud. I was never one to worry about death before, and perhaps surprisingly, I don’t particularly worry about it a great deal now. But I do think about the possibility of not being around a little bit more than I used to. None of us like to think about our own mortality, but sure as eggs are eggs, we’ve only got our allotted time on this earth.

January in Britain has been blighted by some extremely upsetting celebrity deaths – all iconic, household names, all taken by the cruel and heartlessly random cancer; gravel-voiced Lemmy from Motorhead, inspirational David Bowie, the finest of actors Alan Rickman and just last weekend, charmingly witty TV and radio broadcaster Terry Wogan. All gone too soon – through no fault of their own. I didn’t know these people personally, of course, they were not family or friends – but they had become a part of our lives. And I’m so very sad that they are no longer with us. I cannot bear when people don’t get their full quota of life. Sometimes you hear about the passing of certain celebrities through thrill-seeking; the misuse of drugs and alcohol for kicks or, well, I don’t know for what reasons. I hate to think of young talent, amazing potential snuffed out; a person taken in their prime. But the feeling that overrides this is a sense of…anger. Yes, I do – I admit it. I feel angry with with them. Angry that they took flagrant chances, played Russian roulette with that fragile thing called life. When so many others are ripped from this world kicking and screaming. Most of us would do anything to survive. I don’t mean to judge; who knows what demons some people are plagued with? So nightmarish they feel forced to turn to substances to numb the pain. But life is so short, life is so precious, we need to hang on to it for as long as we can – if we can.

I don’t mean to cast aspersions on those who feel the need to end their life prematurely because of mental illness – an illness is exactly what depression or anxiety or any other disorder of the mind is. Some people are so low they cannot see the wood from the trees. Some take their lives just through the sheer misery other people inflict on them day after day. Some people lead nightmarish lives that you and I couldn’t possibly even imagine. So nightmarish that leaving the world seems like a blessed release. I get that. And it’s heartbreaking that some have their very survival instinct crushed out of them.

Anyway, this is getting too heavy so I won’t digress any further down that path. Hopefully this little procedure I’m having might be over by now. I might even be enjoying a slab of cake and a full fat latte as a reward right at this very moment. And apart from that occasional slab of cake and full fat latte (with possibly a biscotti on the side), I do the best I can to stay healthy. I’ve been reckless in my teens and twenties – even my thirties. Too much to drink, too much fatty/sugary food, too much sun (I haven’t given up everything, I mean, we’ve all got to have a few vices to make life more enjoyable). But I had a wake up call. Now I eat better, don’t smoke, drink very little alcohol, regularly exercise, I rub in the factor 30. I go for tests whenever they tell me to. But my sister did all those things (she never smoked or drank and could swim for miles and miles) but it didn’t save her. There are no guarantees, I’m afraid. But you can only give yourself the best of chances.

There’s a reason I don’t play with my health these days. And it’s not because I’m afraid not to exist any more; I’ve never been afraid of death as such (I shouldn’t say that. The thing that gets to me most is how scared my sister must have been at the end when she knew she wasn’t going to make it. I never stopped to ask her. I was too afraid to hear the answer). I take no chances because of my loved ones. I do it for the people who would be left behind. And sadly, I know first hand what it’s like to be left behind. Because you see, our fundamental desire to survive which all of us were born with and the majority of us still have, well that desire shouldn’t be ignored. So my friends, take good care of yourselves, and maybe we can make a toast to our respective good health over a well deserved pint when we’re in our eighties. We’ll have crisps too. Well, it will be a special occasion.


NB: Apologies, YET ANOTHER maudlin post this weekend. I promise to make you laugh next time. Or that least I’ll try. I’m not a joke machine, y’know…

 

 

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14 thoughts on “For Dear Life

  1. I am extremely happy that you are getting checked out, Adele, as I am a firm believer that many cancers are genetic. Sadly, there is not enough screening for those at risk. Both my grandfather and uncle died from bowel cancer and as you may recall, I am a lucky survivor. I was diagnosed at 54 and have recently signed a petition for the general screening age to be lowered from 60 to 55. However, from a family point of a view, I shall be pressing my two sons to get screened long before 50!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope the screening goes well Adele. Mid chemo the nhs delight which serves me mistakenly informed me that I was terminal, withdrawing treatment etc, I was notified by post. Even when I established that it was a mistake, it turned out that my prognosis was less shiny than I thought. I spent the next two weeks quietly freaking out. Eventually I decided to voice it out loud, I distinctly remember when and where because we were in the car and after a short pause the response I got was this “stop worrying, you don’t know what will happen, you could be hit by a bus.” And that Adele, put paid to my attention seeking 🙂

    It wasn’t a response that went anywhere near ‘there there, I gotchya back” haha, but it was the exact response I needed. We can’t control everything, we don’t know what may or may not happen, we might be hit by a bus. (I’ll be honest, I’m going to be fairly p’d off if I am, cos really what are the chances?!), but we can be insightful and care about our health, appreciate the positives we have in our lives and keep moving forward. If nothing else, I hope that should I see that bus swerving my way, I will know, I was doing the best I can. As should you x

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  3. I’m really glad my father went for a cancer screening some years ago, because they caught prostate cancer in the early stages. He went for a few radiation treatments, and he is absolutely fine now. My uncle, his brother, however, passed away from this exact type of cancer. I hope your test goes well. I am on a new nutrition plan, and I’m feeling good about all the antioxidants I’m eating.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. While I’m committed to playing the long game, Adele some are on a crash and burn course. Lemmy lived as long as he did despite (I love the ‘spite’ part of that word) his life choices. These people burn bright, give us so much then expire bequeathing us the super nova that was their life, Monroe, Morrison, Hendrix, Moon, Belushi, Buckley, Colbain, Winehouse, Seymour-Hoffman, Drake and Bieber.
    The Icarus effect gives us views from much higher than we could ever imagine. Their reward, the glow of the sun. Their cost, the inevitable victory of gravity.
    Celebrate life, past and present, mourn a life less-lived.
    Carpe Diem, my dear. Keep being great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was definitely thinking of Seymour-Hoffman and Winehouse when I wrote this. And although I agree they did burn bright, I still regret their untimely demise. Because I too am in it for the long haul, I’ll just burn at an average glow instead. And Bieber..? Hmm… 😉

      Like

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