Taken Too Soon!

Normally I have very little problem finding a subject to write about, but the week has flown by with various things I have been doing, with little thought for what to publish. However this piece must be dedicated to the terrible news of recent celebrity deaths from cancer. Lemmy, David Bowie and Alan Rickman have all died recently, having found fame on the world stage. These are people that have made a massive impact on millions of people over many generations. This has certainly been a very sad start to the new year, and is a large dose of reality for those of us affected by cancer. There are times when we don’t see these people as mortals, in our mind we put them on pedestals and forget that they can get sick just like all of us. Bad health is a massive equalizer for all of us, rich or poor when it comes down to it we are all the same.

But what incredible legacies they have all left! Each in their own way giving us so much enjoyment through the years, and without a doubt will be shared with future generations too.CYrtxgZW8AEh0q_ Is it just a coincidence that many recent high profile deaths have been from cancer? My personal view is slightly biased because most of the people I am in communication with have cancer, but it does feel that cancer is getting more frequent now.

One of the major difficulties of living with cancer, is that we have to work so hard to put it to the back of our mind as best we can. But these days we are never far from information that tells us that someone else has died, which makes keeping our own situation in a certain place quite difficult. Not just for those of us living with cancer but for many that have lost friends and loved ones, who will be painfully reminded of the impact of this terrible disease. The speed and honesty of much information is what we are now used to, but there are times it can certainly make you review your own position.

We also have seen from the above three deaths in particular, how differently each man chose to deal with their cancer. Lemmy certainly gave it the ‘middle finger,’ but sadly for him there was little option. David Bowie, typically created great theatre around his final days, then everything was private. Alan Rickman stayed away from the spotlight with his issues, which was his way in life. These examples highlighting how we are all so very different when it comes to cancer.

One of the most valuable things that we have been doing for a long time now is ‘awareness raising.’ Within my life time I have seen cancer go from a subject that was barely discussed publicly, commonly referred to as ‘the big c,’ but now talked about openly across the internet and all news channels throughout the world. These recent deaths of course will raise the disease profile even more. More money will be donated, and I’m sure charitable foundations will be opened to continue our work against cancer, being it in areas of support or research. Naturally lots of positives will also come from recent events, but I can’t help feeling at times it seems like an unstoppable wave. The positive is that more of us are surviving longer, which now brings it’s own set of problems. But for many cancers there has been little improvement in survival rates for many years. Sometimes it feels like as we make progress in one area, things can get worse in another. Cancer is very certainly in the spotlight now, and in my opinion will dominate the health landscape for many years to come.

On reflection, I feel grateful to have lived in the generation that experienced so much from these three men. Lemme-Bowie-Rickma_2641244aThey found their talents and chose to share them with the world so we could all benefit, how generous! We are all aware that death is a part of life, but certainly these guys were taken well before their time, like many others. My own disease and the gift of extra life has definitely showed me a different way to live. Time is the most important thing we have, and there is no better feeling than sharing our skills and experiences to help others. At times, life can feel like a rat race, but it is only us that makes it that way. There is always time to smile and encourage, sometimes it can be the smallest things you do that mean the most to others!

In normal circumstances I wouldn’t be writing a post like this so early in the new year, but I knew that if recent events had made me think about my own situation, then many of you must be doing the same. My personal positivity and goals for 2016 remain of course, if not more enforced, there is still so much work to be done in the world of cancer. None of us can do it on our own but if we all do what we can, the world will be a better place. Thank you Lemmy, David, and Alan for what you did.

Have recent events made you think about your own situation? What impact if any did they have on your life?  Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

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  1. Cancer is definitely in the spotlight this month. It’s reinforced my thoughts of how lucky I’ve been, how important it is to keep plugging away at what I’m doing and to make the most of my life. All the best as always, Deb x

    • Hi Deb, yes those were the thoughts that went through my mind too. We have certainly had a life wake up call, but an opportunity to view things differently now. Probably like you, when I think about the daily conversations I have with people, it’s tough to remember the person I was before cancer. Life is so different now.
      Best to you as always, Chris

  2. Oh Chris, what a horrible start to the New Year. My Beloved woke me up early in the morning with the news “another cancer death. David Bowie has died” … I shot up out of bed, and said no, no, no. He can’t be. He’s just released a new album. That can’t be true.

    Total denial.

    Wednesday afternoon we kissed goodbye to my beloved pappa-in-law, who passed peacefully after an 8-month incredibly brave battle with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.

    Reality hit me square in the face.

    Thursday we got the news about Alan Rickman.

    Three legends (to me) lost in 3 days. I’m totally shell-shocked. What a sad, sad start to 2016 🙁

  3. So sorry to hear about your terrible start to 2016 Callie. You have been in my thoughts since we met, when you told me about your father-in-law.

    We both know well the realities of cancer, but it somehow feels different when people of the stature of David Bowie are taken. I also struggled to believe it.

    It has been a dreadful start to the year and certainly reminds us to be grateful for what we have.

    Big hugs to you and yours x

    • Indeed, Chris, indeed … sadly, I feel cancer is a byproduct of our success at living longer, but golly – that was a bad week to be 69 years of age and have terminal cancer.

      Thank you for your kindness. Our hearts are big enough to hold all the love, our hearts are big enough to continue to live moment by moment with gratitude and grace xx

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