Scary times

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In an hour or so, I must ready myself for Dr’s appointment. I certainly hate visiting the doctor these days. This is only an annual eye exam, but the Opthomologist’s office is in the hospital center which means we park in the same garage as the bone doctor two floors above him.

I’d rather be home reading and sipping tea.

The past few days, I’ve walked the dogs early which means about 10 AM around here.  This week, we’ve stayed up late watching Ken Burns new series on PBS, about Cancer, which has scared the bejeezes out of me and David.

A friend of ours died a few months ago from Pancreatic cancer, and David’s mom and sister died from lung cancer, and my dad from bone cancer.  My sister had lymphoma and is in remission, and a few years ago I underwent extensive tests for CML, a type of leukemia.

Last year, Karen the pool instructor had both breasts removed simultaneously, while her husband, now deceased was fighting brain cancer.  I’ve previously mentioned Cathy and Kathy my neighbors, who both have/had breast cancer in the past two years, and are both taking post-op medication to treat it.  And on and on the list goes.

I know from personal experience that while cancer seems to be increasing, that’s largely because medicine has improved and infectious diseases that once killed have largely been conquered or suppressed, perhaps only temporarily if this anti-vaccine craze goes far enough.

Looking at my dad’s maternal ancestors death certificates tells me if they survived childhood, they were killed accidentally (drowning, freezing to death, struck by lightning), or died of old age (most lived into their 80s and 90s). Lung ailments like consumption took a few of them in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Dad’s paternal ancestors had mixed experiences. Cholera in a Chicago tenement killed some of them (if I Great Aunt Ruby’s research is correct).

Mom’s side is filled with accidents, like drowning, the result of “falling into a canal while inebriated” according to one record.  Mostly their deaths were owing to heart disease, although Grandpa Hage, a chain smoker died from lung cancer in 1950.

Captain Lorenzo P. Adley
Captain Lorenzo P. Adley, USCT

Although gravely wounded one of the four times he was shot, Great Uncle Lorenzo (dad’s side) survived the Civil War, as did his nine or ten brothers-in-law, all of whom were Union soldiers and one of whom was my second great-grandfather Jonas.

According to Burns series, smoking became a big health issue in the twentieth century.  And smoking leads to the most deadly cancer of all…lung cancer.  Neither David or I ever smoked, but we grew up with chain-smoking parents, which scares both of us because passive smoking affects children. Yet another reason to live one day at a time.

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Temps today are supposed to reach the 40s, so we should see an end to the snow very soon.  This morning the female Downey Woodpecker was back at the suet feeder, an auspicious sign.  I hope we can finally walk … Continue reading