Disco icon Donna Summers died today after a long battle with cancer.The news reports differed on whether it was breast cancer or lung cancer or both, a point I now find moot.
We lost another shining star to cancer.
This makes life just about an unfair as it gets. Cancer is the poster child for unfairness. At least with heart disease, the other big killer in America, you have some choice. You can eat right, exercise, take meds and your chances of heart disease generally go down, even if one is genetically screwed, you can do many things to mitigate heart disease.The same cannot always be said about cancer.You can do everything right and still get cancer. There are plenty of non-smokers out there valiantly fighting lung cancer that will attest to that.
I know how they feel. Nobody was less likely, profile wise, to get breast cancer than me.Non-smoker, avid long term exercise enthusiast, vegetarian, light drinker…the list of ‘good choices’ when on and on.Even my oncologist, when we first met, puzzled over my health profile and basically summed up my situation by informing me that I got screwed.He later would tell me that I was one of the healthiest sick people he knew.Har de har, har. But it was true, I had drawn the short straw in the cancer lottery and I knew it.
Because of this, things radically changed.My mindset narrowed and broadened all at once.I instantly lost all tolerance for people that wasted my time.Toxic people?Gone.Drama queens of both sexes?The boot.My life was instantly streamlined and refined, pared down to the loving inner circle of friends and family and entirely devoid of what I can only describe as crap. I ruthlessly decrapified my life and once the initial battle had been fought, I found I was in no mood to go back to old behaviors. Life, I had realized the hard way, was too short and frequently brutally unfair. I became, I realized, both infinitely kinder and infinitely more ruthless.
I am the first to reach out to someone who has been fired or caught in a bad situation not of their making.I am the last person to contact if someone unkind and cruel by nature wants a favor.I see my life in black and white which I never did prior to fighting cancer. There are few to no shades of gray in my life, choices are easier these days.Brutal and even unkind at times but easier.
I know better than most, that the clock is ticking.