Friday, January 20, 2012

A Quick Punch in the Gut

If you're on Facebook, you've probably seen the postings about the birthday video for Rachel, a recent widow. I don't really know the details of her story, but from the video it seems her husband was fighting cancer and he made a video for her as a present for her birthday. The video is of him, holding poster boards of his words -not speaking, but showing video of their wedding, telling her how much he loves her, and their two small children are in the video too. It is absolutely precious. Of course (and I say that as a bitter widow of cancer) - of course he dies.

I saw the link to the video on FB, and it even had a great "grab some tissues" warning on it. Like an idiot, I watched. I sat alone on my bed and cried like a baby. It was just so damned beautiful, and so freakin sad. I felt her loss like my own, and for a few gut wrenching sobs I was transported back 6 years ago, hating cancer, mad at God and wondering why life is so painful and unfair. I don't get much time to myself, so the cry must have lasted all of a one minute and I had my game face back on. But the instant gut reaction caught me off guard and the black thoughts weren't so easily dismissed.

Death sucks and it will always suck. Cancer sucks. I have felt and continue to feel helpless in the face of cancer, and continue to hate M.D. Anderson (a cancer treatment hospital in Houston) and their beautiful facility - clearly money is no object....what is the incentive to cure cancer? If they cure it, the cancer research facilities, treatment hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies will stop making so much money. I have serious doubts that a cure is really high on their board members agendas.

Clearly I am bitter about cancer. I just don't show it everyday. Rachel's video was beautiful and a horrible reminder of the victims of the disease and the senseless loss. It hit me hard and I'm still pissed. KCUF RECNAC.


  1. i second that emotion. Strongly worded and felt, no doubt about it. KCUF RECNAC.

  2. Michelle, I have not seen this video but I can only imagine all that it brought back for it. So sorry. And thank you, for being so honest and for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I am right there with you--my husband yet another lost to hideous cancer, leaving behind an 11 year old daughter. It has been almost four years and yet I still struggle terribly at times and in fact this week am feeling just as you described it--bitter and angry. Not of course what or where I want to be, but please know that your post lifted me. I'm not alone and knowing that helps. Thank you!

  3. I haven't seen the video either.
    I lost my brother to cancer at the age of 42. He gave it a valiant fight but there is only so much one's body can take. I am sure it's different than losing a husband but he was my only brother, my baby brother and he was a husband and a daddy.

    I also believe there is a cure that is not being shared because of the monies involved. Very sad. And actually kind of scary that money is more important than people's lives.

    Sending strength,healing energy and peace to all of you.

    1. My husband died of lung cancer. Even had a lung removed. Was in remission for 2 years but it came back.
      The last 7 months of his life were terrible for him.
      I feel he was given to much radition.
      One treatment of chemo costs $9,000.
      They are in it for the money!

  4. Michelle, I have not seen the video either but can imagine how that pain surfaced for you. My husband did not die from cancer. He was taken with a sudden stroke and although he was ripped from me and my children in an instant, he never suffered. I have watched other cancer victims and feel relief that my husband never had to deal with the physical and emotional torture that comes with the ugly disease.

    I share your tears and thank you for your honest post.

  5. Oops, I believe I am the originator of that sucker punch and the "get tissues" warning. I'm so sorry about that. I never want to be one who opens wounds.

    I shared with our mutual friend because I was so impressed with the thoughtfulness of the gift he gave to his wife in that video. On my husband's last Christmas he gave me a framed photograph of himself - one that I had taken of him - and what amounted to a thank you note. I cherish that gift more than any other.

    But that doesn't change the fact that cancer sucks. I know that first hand too. I crossed the two year hurdle of his death this week. One more hurdle in a marathon that doesn't end.


  6. I saw the video yesterday - a friend posted the link on fb, and though there was no warning I should have figured . . . thank goodness I had no customers because it sure got me crying too. Especially when his boys came on. For those interested, here is a link to it (if that's ok?)

    I, too, have issues with cancer fundraising and where the money goes. I think it should go straight to the families dealing with cancer instead, as I don't think they are really working to a cure either. With brain tumours - what my husband had - there has been one new chemo treatment in the past 20-odd years. And that only 'worked' for 6 months or so for him. I could go on, but I'll spare you.

    Much love to all,

  7. I saw the video and I agree with everyone. My husband was diagnosed with a rare cancer he was in remission and also fought a vigilant fight, but the radiation was done incorrectly and hit other organs that caused his eventual death. THis is a horrible disease and knows no boundaries on who is touches. I too felt the stab in my heart watching the video bringing back all the memories of hard times and times of sharing words of love everlasting. Words that carry me thru in my heart always and forever.

  8. I feel like I am about to get kicked in the gut for saying this BUT - here goes:
    My husband had a brain tumour. He was given six months to ten to live. He lived 14. Because we knew he had inoperable and uncurable brain cancer from day one (as all glioblastomas currently are) we determined to make every single moment count. Believe me watching someone you love live through a brain biopsy, become disabled, confused and sicker by day is no easy journey = BUT - the time we had was so precious. He had a year more with our children and grandchildren. He had time to say I love you again and again. We had time to show him how much we loved him, how desperately we LOVED him! We shared so much as a family and with him. We crammed as much life in those months as we could. He had radiation and chemotherapy. Until it stopped working. Two months later he died. I am so fckg grateful for the time for every minute of the time. Even though parts of it were emotionally torturous, I am grateful.
    I lost my mother, my sister, my brother and now my husband to cancer. I know so much about cancer I could write a freaking text book!
    It is sad, tragic, emotional, frightening, frustrating and I don't know where all the money goes. But I do know if there was a cure. We would have sold our house to get it and I think that is worth a hell of a lot more than treatment is.
    We are all going to die. The bigger question is how are we going to live?

  9. I had been reading Kristian's blog for quite a while before he died. ...and saw this video was made not long after Greg died. For me, I had one of those magical thinking moments when I just felt that *this* was what Greg would have wanted to say if he could have.
    (and as for working for a cure ... they are. I have a friend who works in cancer research and I know she works very hard. Really. but research take time).

  10. I hate cancer, I hate MD Anderson. It's a factory that's a depressing place to be that pretends to be a hopeful place. And they are certainly not 'Making cancer history'.

  11. My Dave died 19 months ago to esophageal cancer. Given 3 months and lived exactly 6 months. Tried chemo and it only made matters worse. (It didn't slow the tumour and only destroyed Dave's body prematurely after putting him through hell.) We rejected radiation because they said they couldn't cure him, but could possibly slow the growth, but it was very risky to radiate around his heart & other vital organs. And painful. Didn't make sense and by then we were quickly disillusioned by traditional cancer treatment.

    I so wish he had left me a letter. I just don't think he could bring himself to think of me being here without him. I have a few emails and texts. They're loving but brief. That's about it.

    I haven't watched the video, but I will later.

    I feel very passionate about this subject. Cancer 'treatment'. A friend of Dave's came to visit him when he was first diagnosed and we discussed cancer and research. He's a brilliant kid and a cancer researcher. Scholarship at Harvard and now back here researching locally. He looks for promising 'drugs' and initiates treatment on mice. If his research shows promise then it goes on to clinical trials. Anyway, he said that there are all kinds of very promising cancer-fighting substances already out there, but the reality is that it takes $250 to $500 MILLION for a drug to go through a clinical trial before it goes mainstream. The reality is that only pharmaceutical companies have that kind of money for research, and unless it's a substance that can be patented for them to recoup their money, then it will never go to a clinical trial. And it won't become an acceptable cancer treatment unless it's gone through a clinical trial. Cancerland is a frustrating self-limiting system.

    Our cancer fighting programs are a farce. Does it make sense that you can heal a body by poisoning it and then radiating it? They readily admit that both chemo and radiation often cause secondary cancers. It's archaic and yet we don't educate ourselves and question any of it until it happens to us.

    Dave was a coach, and when his team wanted to hold a fundraiser to go to cancer research he tried as politely as he could to explain that he didn't want a dime going to the cancer industry. Instead he suggested that the money be raised for the Abused Women's Center - a local more grassroots organization.

    And those pink ribbon campaigns are a farce! I know it makes us feel good, that maybe we're doing something, but do we really think that buying a pink blender is helping the fight against cancer?

    The best cancer treatment is prevention. Get the preservatives and chemicals out of our food system. THAT's how to beat cancer. Real food doesn't come in a box and last on store shelves for months and months. Real food goes bad. Consider fresh food with a lot more vegetables and A LOT less meat your medicine cabinet. It's crazy that it's that simple, but it's true. THAT's how to KCUF RECNAC!

  12. Thanks for the comments everyone - so sad there are so many of us out there that understand cancer so personally. Tamara - I don't blame you for sharing that video, it was beautiful and I wish I had one like that of Daniel. Loved it! Just hated that the story ended so sadly. Even now, I still want and hope for the happy ending! :) As for the fantastic cancer researcher you mention DearDarl - I agree and have a friend who is in the same field. They have the best of intentions and work thier butts off to help find a cure. Like Valerie says, it's the money makers that stand in the way. Feeling a bit better today (as I sip my coffee and plan my Saturday), but I think I'll always be pissed at cancer. The price it exacts is too high. Love to all who have paid it, and thanks as usual for reading the blog. xo

  13. In addition to chemicals in food, I have also started looking at products/lotions/makeup that I put on my body, that are absorbed into the skin. I am going as chemical free as possible. Trying to also buy locally made products, they are out there, they do cost a bit more, but I believe the savings to my body will make up the difference in the cost. Check out your local food cooperatives.

    I, too, am amazed at the money spent on research for cancer. I understand that clinical trials take time and funds; too bad we can't put the money we put into defense into research and find the cure. The treatment my husband was offered gave him so little hope for a death with dignity, maybe only 2 more months to live, and such a high price for a daily dose that he turned it down. He went onward on his own terms, in his own way, coming up on 2 years. It seems like only yesterday.

  14. watched the video and cried for the first time in a while-thank you for posting it.
    Ditto to all posters about Cancer Sucking and I also feel strongly about those damn pink ribbons/with all the Cancers we need a rainbow of colors..CANCER SUCKS and CANCER LAND Is about big money and scientists trying to make names for themselves- very few breakthroughs and good money many times being directed towards bills from bad hospital care and inflated bills. We too discovered the craziness of the cancer mills early on..ugh...sorry I have not gone here in long while. But medical care in the US sucks especially for Cancer and lets not even talk about PREVENTION.

  15. Just watching that video tonight. Glad I did not see it on Friday when you posted it. I had enough of a sucker punches already that day. Had to take my own baby that lost his dad when he was only 10 to cancer - to the ER, same hospital where he lost his dad- he asked me as I was pulling into the ER parking lot...if it was the same looked familiar to him (it had been over 3 years that his dad had died) first time back for him and I. Anyway all is good with my little boy-they did not keep him...and we made it out of there that night..Just sucker punched us both...
    While there, I lost it - and started sobbing at cashiers stand - when I went to get something for us to eat - while waiting for the doctor's exam- ended up dejavu of the many times before/after/chemo/during hospital stays, right after my small break down - getting napkins for tears- brief sharing of why I had stream of tears going down my face to couple that I let go in front of me. I pulled it together...paid and up walked a different couple this time a man and his wife - together this couple well they reminded me so much of me and my husband.they looked just like us..way back when there was a "WE" and my husband used to go to that damn hospital.The man was even wearing a shirt like my Duke would had, It was obvious to me that he was just starting chemo and her sleep deprived red eyes from crying looked the same as mine had during that time period. They were US and all I could think of in my head was a short form of prayer- "May she not have a need to be on WV anytime soon". Then, my next thought was Stupid Silly Human prayer, I know better...I am an athiest...because I know for sure...they don't work, if they did my husband would of been alive..we prayed as hard as anyone could have.
    So at least...well as close to being godly and an angel...I was able answer her questions and his regarding issue of the day for get the "port" put in or not? Port for those reading this is an access to you do not need to keep getting poked..very scary proposition to put something like that into your body. I and the other couple did not mention that my husband had died...Just shared that my husband regretted that he did not get one and my brother (still living) got one and said over and over again how it was the best thing he ever did..since he hated needles...some others joined in..and gave advice about getting only someone with a certain title to get it done right and not F it up. Wished them to stay Stong and went back to wait for my son's exam to be over. Anyway...Friday was a lousy day and I felt sucker punched at every corner and spent Saturday in bed recovering. Think with the Snowing going on I am feeling more teary than usual..that video really got me also. Just is not fair..cancer and death SUCK. Drank my coffee out of the WV mug that says that so it must be's not just me. Cancer and Death will never be anything else but sucky.