16 September 2013

Lottery

In our immediate circles, we know of three people aged between fifty five and sixty five who are now living with cancer. When first heard, each announcement was shocking. Somehow such news - about people who are members of your own generation - shakes your own foundations, reminding you that these lives we live are breakable. It could all just disappear in a trice.

Benny is the father of one of our daughter's very best friends. He has worked in a managerial position in the NHS for many years and successfully fought off colon cancer five or six years ago. But now the devil inside him has worked its way to his lungs and there's nothing that can be done. Just palliative care to hold back death's inevitable tide.

In her mid-fifties, Mary has had a lifetime struggling with  mild cerebral palsy but now God has also decided to see how she copes with breast cancer. Doctors may have spotted it early enough to achieve a happy resolution through radiotherapy and chemotherapy. We have known her for twenty five years and our children were at school with hers. We will be keeping our fingers tightly crossed for her while recognising that even when women beat breast cancer their lives are forever changed.

Then there's Pauline. She retired just last year having been a nurse in general practice for many years. It was she who helped Shirley to shift from hospital nursing to practice nursing in the community. But recently stomach pains and loss of appetite have pointed to the cancer within - hiding in digestive organs, sending out wicked messengers to other parts of her body. Her husband has wept buckets of tears. The prognosis isn't good - only months are left.

You spin the roulette wheel or deal the cards. You never  know what you are going to get. Some of us come up trumps while others fade away - casualties in the great lottery of life. In my sixty years, I have enjoyed excellent health with very few problems along the way. I have been very lucky. But the sad tales of Benny, Mary and Pauline make me think it's probably time to see my doctor again - get checked out in case The Big C is already secretly casting his gruesome shadow upon me. You never know.

19 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about these poor people and yes, at our age, it is still startling to hear of people the same age or younger who are seriously/terminally ill or have died and it is a good idea to go for your check ups just in case.

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    1. Like Keith, I am not too keen on visiting the doctor but very soon I'm going to make an appointment.

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  2. Sir YP, it is only natural to worry, especially when illness is so close, but worry not. Certainly an annual checkup including the old prostate for men. Keep up your plodding because that will be what has kept you so healthy. And be happy and enjoy your retirement, because you don't want to waste whatever time you have worrying. None of us know when that time will come through illness or accident. You may be one of the lucky ones who win that lottery ticket and get a birthday card from Her Majesty for turning the tonne.

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    1. Carol, from Her Majesty? Elizabeth II will still be alive when Pudding turns 100? Or do you mean the only other scenario I can think of, that Elizabeth, Charles, William, George, and Andrew will have all passed on and Beatrice of York or her lovely sister Eugenie will have become monarch?

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    2. Ok Ok RWP you are nit picky x

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    3. RWP seems to know more about the British Royal Family than we do Carol. I wish he'd stick to King Barack and Queen Michelle.

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    4. Carol, I might be nit-picky, but I am also correct. No hard feelings, I hope.

      YP, we do not have a king or queen over here. Haven't had either for 237 years now (counting from the Declaration of Independence in 1776).

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    5. RWP, be as nit picky as you like ~ it doesn't change the essence of what I was saying to Yorky that he could be one of the lucky ones to get a birthday greeting from the British monarch of the day (whatever gender).

      Plod plod plod YP :)

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  3. With two heart attacks behind me I look at my young boys and bitterly regret not having children ten or so years' earlier. I envy you your sprightliness and feel for those you have mentioned who have evidently drawn the short straw.

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    1. Hippo - but you got to have your two lovely boys. Many modern men never get to experience the joy of fatherhood. Okay you were late but you have the foresight to appreciate how precious these years are. This comes over strongly in your tales of young Alex - so much love and so much pride.

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  4. I have been to too many funerals too many times recently
    It's something we need to deal with when we are over 50

    You have the right attitude

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    1. Thank you Earl. There was a time when all of my peers seemed invulnerable.

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  5. A very sad post, Yorkie, and my sympathy to your friends.

    Still, part of your post made me giggle. When dangling, watch your participles: I had never read anywhere before that God struggled with mild cerebral palsy. That would explain a lot.

    I hope I don't get struck by lightning.

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    1. I am puzzled by your grammatical point as The Mighty Pudding never, ever makes mistakes in this area. Perhaps you need new reading glasses? Please re-check the issue sir.

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    2. It does no good to re-check the issue, sir, when you have changed what you wrote. It's rather like locking the barn door after the horse is gone.

      However, I have a good memory. Where your post now reads "In her mid-fifties, Mary has had a lifetime struggling with with mild cerebral palsy but now God has also decided to see how she copes with breast cancer." you originally had written "Mary is in her mid-fifties. After a lifetime struggling with mild cerebral palsy, God has decided to see how she copes with breast cancer." I rest my case. And I'm glad I had a salutary effect on your writing today.

      Technically, it was not a dangling participle but a misplaced prepositional phrase. This would also have been acceptable: "Mary is in her mid-fifties. God has now decided to see how she copes with breast cancer after a lifetime struggling with mild cerebral palsy." See? I'm not picky at all. (Carol in Cairns take note.)

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    3. Drat! You have trapped me like an eel in a basket. I confess holy father for I have sinned.

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  6. Don't even think you are going that way.
    You have the 'Black Dog'.
    Think happy and support these friends. Bounce about and do your best to pull them through. They won't pull through but they know that and a night out would help. There are plenty of music venues in your neck of the woods. Live music is good for the soul.
    I too wondered if you had cancer of the participles. I hope not.

    You'll feel crap when they die. For their sakes try and not act like the reaper before their time.

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    1. Adrian - I am afraid that I am not as close to three people as you imagine but I do understand and appreciate your point about being upbeat. And I haven't got the Black Dog. Reflecting on the vulnerability of life is not, I contend, evidence of depression.

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  7. Worry is like a wooden horse..ride it all night and still get no further on...look after yourself and enjoy everyday x

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