Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

It’s called “Cancer.”

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 2, 2011

“… the plan is to do radiation and chemotherapy…”

There it was, buried midway in the emailed paragraph – right after the other phrase “they found two more tumors...”

I wondered about that.

There was no need to say it.

It’s that unspoken kind of thing.

It’s called “Cancer.”

That solitary word strikes fear into the hearts of many. And the longer we live, the greater our chances will be that we are affected by it, or may have it. My maternal grandmother had a double radical mastectomy, though it eventually did her little good. Cancer eventually went into her brain, and caused her death.

Authorities now say with certainty – whatever that is defined as – that if someone is “cancer free” for at least ten years, they’re likely “home free.” I’ve forgotten how long Grandmother was “cancer free.” She was cancer free until she wasn’t cancer free. And how, she’s cancer free again.

Odd, isn’t it?

Cancer is a living thing. Like the wanna-be-pornographer whom produced the “Girls Gone Wild” videos, cancer is simply regular tissues “gone wild.” One day, those regular cells decide to go haywire and begin proliferating to beat the band. They grow and multiply, and grow and multiply, and grow and multiply and then… they’re not a secret anymore. They’re suddenly a lump, or a “tumor” somewhere on your body, pressing against some nerve or blood supply somewhere.

Tumors don’t have any feeling, and they’re often hard insensible masses. Unlike a wart or a mole or a knotted muscle, or an infected pustle – all which have feelings – tumors very rarely have nerve endings proliferating within them. What is equally interesting, however, is that blood vessels will grow within them. That’s called “angiogenesis,” and is the next great area of cardiac research.

Why? What does cancer have to do with heart disease and heart attacks?

Heart attacks are areas of damage, called an “infarct” that have been starved of oxygenated blood – which is delivered via arteries. The infarct, or “attack” occurs when an artery of heart muscle itself is blocked, or occluded.

But angiogenesis could cause blocked vessels of the heart to be regrown to supply blood via new pathways, thus bypassing the need for a bypass.

So there you have it – cancer, pornography and heart attacks.

This seems to have been a tough year – not to mention the economic effect upon individual families.

A high school classmate died a few weeks ago. Before that, another high school classmate had cardiac surgery with an uncertain prognosis. Then a high school classmate’s mom died, then another former high school teacher died. Then an elderly neighbor across the street fell in his house and wasn’t discovered until five days later – he’s alive, but five days without water is a long time, and it does things to an elder’s body, none of which are good. Earlier, another friend’s wife had a cancer cut off her body. A young, unmarried and beloved local teevee news reporter recently died from cancer. Another high school friend has a rare cancer, and it’s uncertain at best, and honestly not really looking good. I found out another had breast cancer previously. Yesterday, a dear close friend’s friend was in a traumatic automobile crash, and shortly before that, her grandmother died.

And now… my aunt.

I reckon we all have to die from something. Some of us are fortunate enough to live to see “old age,” while yet others are not fortunate enough to see the light of day, hear the first strains of music in nature, taste the sweetness of food, experience the tenderness of touch, or more.

What’s interesting about all this is life.

We cherish it. We value it. We almost worship it. We definitely seem to like it, even though the events that happen to us all aren’t always the best. And, we will do almost anything to keep folks around, once they’re here. It beats the alternative, I suppose.

I guess the only reason I hang around this place is to see what happens next.

See you in the next entry.

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