Thursday, February 4, 2010


This morning I’ve much to contemplate: my worries are over for my son;he's home safely from Haiti and seemingly in good health and good spirits. He passed the Battalion Chief’s test and waits now for an interview. I pray he gets what he wants. Loving your job makes life so much easier.

Now my worry is about my husband, who was just diagnosed with aggressive squamous cell carcinoma in the lymph glands of his face and neck. He will have a parotidectomy and a radical neck dissection on the 15th of February, and then radiation will follow at a later date.

How could this happen? my husband asks his doctor. Doc says he was in the “environment” too much of his life. Well, that statement is true. Since his teen years he’s spent summers on the sands of Huntington Beach, then as an adult camped in the summers at the State Park in Chelan, Wa. Then in 1969, he built a cabin on the lake and has been outdoors as much as possible ever since. Yes, he’s been in the “environment” much too long

However, I always thought that the “Big 5” was familial; i.e., cancer, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. What’s the first thing a doctor asks: Is there any history of “this” in your family?” Why don’t they say, “Have you been under stress, run any races, consumed too much booze, yada, yada?” Why wouldn’t they say: “Have you been in the environment too long?” Well, what do I know? I’m just an ex-medical transcriber who knows the medical lingo, the spelling, and the diagnoses, but not the “why’s and wherefores.”

I think his existing Parkinson’s and emphysema should be enough problems for one person to deal with. His father died of Parkinson’s, yet they say it’s not hereditary. He smoked for years, so the emphysema seems appropriate, however, I’ve known people who’ve smoked since grade school and they have no difficulty breathing. What’s the deal here? My children’s father died of leukemia. He didn’t smoke, drink too much, or cavort (well if he did it was before I came along). No one in his family ever had leukemia; however, five or more of his kin did die of some type of cancer. I’ve had endometrial cancer; however, no one in my long line of relatives ever had cancer of any kind.

I’ve always said: “Life is a crap shoot” and I still believe it. We’re here for a very short time, even if we live to be 100. When you consider this planet has been in existence for over four billion years, that makes 100 years sound like a hiccup!