Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I try to keep this blog light. Sometimes it's cynical, sarcastic, biting, boring, random, self-indulgent or just plain dumb. But something happened today that I can't seem to let go of and I feel like I need to share it. I recently started reading the Fat Cyclist blog. It is a good read - funny, well written, timely, but also tinged with a little sadness as his wife, Susan has been battling breast cancer. Today's post had a link to a video on Lance Armstrong's site - "If you could challenge cancer, what would you say?" I didn't watch the video and I could only read part of Fatty's post. I sat in a coffee shop with tears in my eyes, swallowing hard, looking out the window.

Here is what I would say to cancer:

Cancer, you should be ashamed of yourself. You are a god-damned dirty thief! Breast cancer took my friend's mom. You stole her beauty and humor. You stole her love for her family and friends. You stole my friend's happiness and his father's best friend and soul mate. 

Right now you are stealing from another friend of mine. Her dad is fighting prostate cancer for the second time. He is a grandfather and you are stealing his time with his grandkids, his wife and his kids. You have stolen his optimism, his positive outlook, his energy and vitality. "So what?", you say, "You barely know those people." That may be true, but I know what they feel because you stole from me, you bastard! 

You took my father! Ten years ago he died from prostate cancer. You stole his love from me, my mom, my sister and my wife. You stole his Ole & Lena jokes, his pride in being left-handed and his insistence on making everyone smile. You stole the advice he never had a chance to give me. And you never even let him meet my kids or my niece. They will never know the special, quirky, deeply loving grandfather he was destined to be. 

You stole his potential. After working for years at an unfulfilling job, he had found his passion and had found some success and you took it from him. You took a friend and a son and a brother. You stole, from me, the chance to make him proud and share with him the excitement of marathon and triathlon finishes. 

You stole an innocence - they kind that comes from thinking you will live forever or at least until you are very old and death will come peacefully in your sleep. I now know that I have to be vigilant and be tested regularly. I now know that death and dying can be a messy, painful, unattractive, protracted affair. You stole that innocence from everyone who knew and cared about my dad. 

To this day you keep taking from me and other people I know and love. If you took an equivalent amount of money from banks, every police department, the FBI and the military would be looking for a way to stop you. And they would. 

What you steal affects so many people, but apparently not enough people for there to be outrage. The media reports your thefts as an afterthought. A war is waged to find one guy with a beard and some radical followers, but what about all your followers? It's not right and it's not fair. 

You should be ashamed, but you aren't because, cancer, you are a soulless thief and there is no amount of time that could pay back what you have taken from me and my friends alone, not to mention everyone else affected. There will never be enough time to pay us all back.

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