Posted by: Kathy | October 24, 2012

Cancer Is Everywhere

Cancer is everywhere. It seems that almost everyone I talk to has been affected by cancer in some way. When I was in college, a professor commented that cancer would affect 1 in 4 families by the year 2000. I wasn’t really listening to the lecture, but that statistic jumped out at me. I thought about my family at the time. All four of my grandparents were alive and basically healthy, my parents were healthy, and as far as I knew cancer had only affected one family member – a great, great aunt who died at age 94 from a fall, not cancer. Then in 2007 my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and our family became part of that statistic.

I don’t actively talk about cancer in everyday conversation. But sometimes it comes up and I find out that cancer has affected or is affecting another family. Or there is a prayer request in church and it’s for a person who is battling cancer. I hear the word “cancer” and my heart skips a beat. I hear the words “pancreatic cancer” and my breath catches in my throat. I feel helpless.

Lately, I have been talking to someone whose family member is the final stages of cancer. My heart goes out to her and her family because I know what they are going through. I know what they will go through until cancer takes another life, and then the grief and eventual healing that follows. The situation is not exactly the same, but it’s similar, and I wish there was something I could do to stop their pain. I wish there was something I could do so that this family would not have to go through what my family did. But I can’t. All I can do is offer my support.

I have found support here on my blog, as I share with others my thoughts and feelings. I’ve connected with people who truly understand what I am feeling since they have been through it too. This has helped me to heal and move forward. It is also one of the reasons I keep writing.

As the 4 year anniversary of my mom’s death nears, I can’t help but go back to those final weeks and think about my mom and what she was going through. Four years ago yesterday, my mom came home from the hospital to die. This is what she wanted and we respected her wishes. I was scared to talk to my mom about what she was feeling. I know she was scared. I know she did not want to leave her family. But before her death, she made peace with everything and, most importantly, my mom knew how much she was loved by her family and friends.



  1. Here in Denmark that statistic is 1 in 3. One in three people will be affected by cancer. I felt the same way as you did – I was shocked by the statistic. And then my dear dad (like your mom) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March of this year – and our family had to watch for 4 cruel weeks while this horrible disease took the life out of the most wonderful man I’ve ever known. He had always been so healthy, so careful with his diet, so mindful of his physical fitness. At 58 he was tested and told by the doctors he had a body age of 38. He was proud of that. Two years later he was gone. I can sometimes feel that all this fundraising is just too late – my dad is already gone – but I know full well – given the statistic – that we can’t take for granted that the rest of our family is healthy. Cancer took the healthiest one of us. My heart goes out to you, your family and anyone faced with this ruthless disease.

    • Hi Marianne: I’m so sorry about the loss of your dad. Pancreatic cancer is awful – so is cancer in general. Like your dad, my mom was the healthiest person I knew. She took care of herself, and her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer came as a horrifying shock. I wish you all the best as you heal from your loss. Please remember that you are not alone on your journey of grief and healing. Take care.

  2. Cancer IS everywhere!! i know so many people who were diagnosed in the last year….. & there just aren’t enough success stories.

    • No, there aren’t enough success stories. Medicine has come so far with treating other diseases – I wish more could be done for people with cancer.

  3. Tears sprung to my eyes and a lump formed in my throat when I read this.
    I can relate, and there are times when I don’t want my grief to go away. In a strange way, grieving and remembering makes me feel closer to my mom.

    • Hi Wendie: I understand what you’re saying. I’ve felt the same way, that if I stop grieving for my mom I wouldn’t be close to her anymore. But I know my mom would only want happiness for me and she wouldn’t want me to continue living in a life of grief. So even though my thoughts go back to the sadness of 4 years ago, I also try to remember the happy times we shared together. It’s those memories that warm my heart. Take care.

  4. Kathy, thinking of you, hugs, Wendy

    • Thanks Wendy. Hope all is well with you. Hugs.

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