People who die really piss me off.No really, I mean it.Particularly young, talented people with promise and a lifetime seemingly ahead of them. Singer Amy Winehouse just died at the tender age of 27 (officially joining the Forever 27 club apparently) and so did a NHL hockey player named Derek Booguard though I think he was 28.I took both deaths to heart though I followed only the career of the hockey player.
I think we cancer survivors take youthful deaths harder than everyone else. We fought so hard to be here that we know how to cherish, literally, every day we are given.
That is because we cancer survivors understand the notion of borrowed time. In fact, we not only understand it, we exploit it, and wringing every drop of life out of every day we are given because every day is singularly, a gift that we would never waste.
Given this mindset, it absolutely infuriates me when someone so young dies of anything that might hint at a drug overdose.I get that addiction is a horrible, terrible disease in its own right. I truly understand that but I wonder, why do some not fight this disease with the same voracity and determination of a person afflicted with cancer?Don’t give up, fight because truly, your life is on the line here, very much the same as any cancer patient.The difference is, we who have fought cancer cannot choose to go into remission.Oh, we can fight for it, submit to every surgical, drug and medical protocol out there in hopes of getting to the proverbial Shangri-La of Remission but even so, we don’t get to just wake up one day, decide that cancer has made a mess of our lives and elect to not have cancer, one 12-step day at a time.At least with addiction, there is a choice of sorts.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually not comparing the two diseases.I’m just saying that one disease evokes choice while the other is all about chance.You can get lucky, if luck it can be called, and cancer is‘caught’ in time.That’s what my oncologist says happened with me. We caught it in time. One can only hope.
But I still have to wonder, did Winehouse and Booguard not ‘catch’ their disease in time?Did they reach a point of no return with the disease of addiction or were they just unlucky to death in the form of random accidental over-dosages? Why are the Keith Richards and Ozzy Osbourne’s of the world still here despite decades of admitted drug abuse and not some of the young and bright?It seems so random, that some go the way of Jimmy Hendrix, Howard Hughes and Marilyn Monroe while others live to tell the tale, when they actually could qualify for social security no less.
Perhaps the diseases have more in common than at first glance as cancer also seems pretty darn random to me.How else does one explain the tragic heartbreak of childhood cancers or the fact that I did everything right health wise, had virtually no risk factors and yet I got cancer anyway?
All I know is that it makes me so mad, to lose such bright young talent like this.
Mad is good though.In my case, I use being mad to my advantage.Mad makes me more determined than ever to continue to fight to stick around.
May every addict and cancer patient out there fighting to be here feel the very same way.