Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Some Thoughts on Illness

I was just over at Minerva's place, seeing what was happening at Womanly Parts, and she raises an interesting question:

Time after time, I am asked, why do you think you were the one to get this illness? Was it, and then you can put in any number of words denoting various potential causes of cancer including the
pill/stress/depression/diet/exercise/breastfeeding or not breastfeeding.
Other than not smoking [polishes ticker in sidebar] is there any way to avoid cancer? Or can you actually court it? If you can - why on earth would you want to??
[smoking is a cause apart, a world of addicts to a substance that is life-threatening who are unable or unwilling to give it up]

Of course not, any idea that one would know why they had cancer would be ludicrous. Er - because if they did, they would likely stop whatever it was. But then we are getting very mixed messages.....

Lettuce causes cancer - stop eating it.

Lettuce prevents cancer - every meal then!

Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But it's not as crazy as some of the experts have told us over the years.
And once we know what supposedly is bad for us - a few weeks later it is good for us. 'It' may cause cancer, but 'It' might prevent altzheimers. How many times have we seen this kind of information? No wonder we are confused and scared.

I have been tested for melanoma and uterine/ovarian cancer. Both were, thankfully, negative.

I'm a vegetarian, therefore I'm vulnerable to certain cancers.
But - because I don't eat meat, I am protecting myself against 'meat caused' cancers.
I was on the pill for 12yrs, so I am a breast cancer risk - apparently.
On the plus side I can't get cervical cancer - because I don't have one!

I have known people who live a blameless life and still get (and die from!) cancers. A young female relative with a small baby died from breast cancer. A family friend died from bowel cancer. The elderly wife of a colleague is fighting breast cancer.
Even the healthy food/living 'poster girl' Linda McCartney succumbed to breast and liver cancer.

Illness is a form of Russian Roulette.
Spin the barrel to see what illness you will get.

So, I will go on with my life, eating reasonably, getting some exercise, indulging in chocolate 'occasionally' [snigger], sleeping at night, working during the day, eating fruit and vegetables, avoiding meat and fish.

And then when, and if, I get ill (which I will because apparently 'age' increases the risk of cancer!) and some bright spark asks me what I thought caused it - I'll answer 'Science or Religion - you choose!'



CyberKitten said...

There are certain things you can do (or not do) to reduce your change of contracing various medical problems. But the idea of living a problem free life by doing the right things (or not doing the wrong things) is just silly.

For a start we don't know everything about the causes of everything - and maybe never will.

There are *lots* of things in the environment that we have no control over that can give us (for example) cancer & there is virtually nothing we can do to avoid them (even by living in a bubble).

The only thing we can do is be prudent, don't do things that are known to be harmful (like smoking), keep a weather eye on your body for any obvious changes & seek medical advice when you notice something but mostly live your life, have fun, make friends, drink lots of water and get an early night from time to time [grin].

Oh, and when the s**t does hit the fan (as we know it will) learn to roll with the punches...

Melli said...

Illness is illness and we are going to be stricken by "some" things in our lifetime. I think you've hit upon the only thing we can really do -- accept it, and roll with it! I've given up listening to the scientists - I quit drinking coffee about 15 years ago because it was SO bad for me! Now I'm back up to 2 cups a day to keep alzheimers away! They don't know. Phooey! Eat sensibly, exercise, serve others, and ENJOY life!

Great post CQ!

.:mar said...

I think common sense is important. Although sometimes I think I am only living once and I am getting older, then I pahhh-tee like nobody is watching :)

Bob-kat said...

You can't fight genetics either to add to all of this!

Great post Hon. I'm with Cyberkitten. And while I'm at it, I think I read a story where friends, pizza and chocolate followed by a good film are positively great for you :)

Minerva said...

Absolutely right CQ and the fact the details change all the time is just so darn confusing!

Thank you so much for the award, too, by the way.. I haven't forgotten, just have a bit on my plate right now...



moon said...

I loved this post...and the comments. Illness is so relative..as one said, all we can do is try to live our best life..be prudent..It can take some longer to take action, me for one...in my 40's..finally eating better (moderation) exercising ..quite smoking those horrible things 3.5 yrs ago, rarely drink..yada yada...but I feel so much better for it... all that being said, one could be *perfect* with their body, and sick inside their soul...living with unhappy relationships...lack of love or respect..those can kill or cause illness just as easily as bad habits.
My best friend died of cervical cancer at the age of 38. At that moment, I knew life was too short to be living it in the unhappy relationship I was in for the past 14 yrs and I had to take the leep and start over. I did just that, was hard as hell but it payed off...just under 2 yrs later, I met and eventually married the man of my dreams. Being happier also helps me be healthier..want to take care of myself and my future. Having said all that...my grandfather..drank, smoked and ate copious amounts of rich food all his life, and died at 100 yrs old lol.
Someone once asked George Burns..what his doctor thought of his smoking his cigars and drinking his brandy every day...Burns replied...My doctor is dead!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Ohhh This Is Brilliant, my dear CQ! BRILLIANT!

No matter what we do, we are subject to everything and anything going....YOU said it all, so I won't repeat it. If something is going to happen...It Will Happen, no matter what we do or don't do---eat or don't eat, etc.

All you can do is live your life and hope whatever it is doesn't strke you.

Barbara said...

Let's just hope all of this is way, way in the future for you.

Bilbo said...

Just face it - life is hazardous to your health, and none of us gets out alive. The rules on what's safe to eat, drink, and do change every year, so all you can do is use your best judgment and live life to the fullest every day. Good luck, and enjoy your lettuce.

PI said...

I think the Russian Roulette theory is about right. Jenni Murray - I believe - blamed HRT for her breast cancer yet the friends I have who had breast cancer never took it.
I think there is so much conflicting 'evidence' that one should use one's own instinct and common sense and be moderate. Obviously it's daft to drink gallons of coffee to stave off Alzheimer's. My brother died of the disease and I drink decaff.
Here from Michele's

utenzi said...

As someone who works with cancer, it's all a numbers game. No one factor is the cause of cancer--factors only change the likelihood of cancer cells developing and their chances of growing and metastasizing should they survive.

The new technology on the block, genetic analysis, is even more accurate in illustrating risk--but in the end, we just don't know the causes so you might as well just live life as you want to.

purpleimp said...

Hi CQ,

I stumbled accross your page while lurking over at Minverva's place, and I just wanted to say I like your take on illness, we seem to be damned whatever life choices we make, and it's mostly just luck of the draw, we all know the healthy people struck down in their prime, and the alcoholic 60 a day smokers who live to their 80's.
There's just no way to tell,it's genetic and or common sense depending on the nature of the monster that will get us.

If we lived our lives according to the scientists and all of their conflicting theories, we'd never eat again!
I have trigeminal neuralgia, and was told last week that I only had it because I hadn't accepted the lord into my life! There will always be someone give judgement ( qualified or otherwise) and a new theory to add to the list. I just wanted to say Hi and that I really liked your take on things.

Lots of love