My friend, Tanya, from next door died of cancer last week. And I am heartbroken. But not as much as her husband and 12-year-old son.
Tanya was only 51. I have talked about her in previous posts including mentioning the cancer. It was a very aggressive cancer and the medical profession didn’t catch it soon enough. Not that doing so would have stopped it. (More on that aspect below). It got so bad she couldn’t swallow or talk and the chemo had to be stopped because it was too harsh and not doing anything. I last talked to her on the phone New Year’s Day when I wished her a good 2016. If only wishes were truth and what would actually happen. That was the first day she had chemo. I told her to call me if she wanted to, but the cancer got worse.
No, I didn’t visit her in Princess Margaret Hospital, but I did call the hospital about her – they weren’t really very forthcoming. But I did keep checking in with her husband and son. Also, from the info on the hospital’s website, I gathered they might not even have let me see her because. I have recurring sinusitis and cancer patients are so susceptible to infections.
The last time I saw Tanya was Christmas Eve Day when I brought over my Christmas presents for her, her husband and her son. She phoned me Christmas Day to thank me (and I thanked her for her gifts). My son, who was here with his girlfriend for Christmas, also talked to Tanya on the phone.
During December I was one of the friends who shopped at The Big Carrot Health food store for Tanya’s food for her stringent diet – all organic. At that time she was still up, able to prepare her food, talk, watch TV and read. But she moved around connected to a portable oxygen tent for her breathing. She had a longtime history of asthma. And there is where the medical profession probably messed up, mistaking the lung problems as “just asthma.” I gathered she wasn’t diagnosed until late fall last year.
I had known Tanya for just over 16 years when she and her husband moved in next door. We would help each other – yes, the usual borrowing the sugar (although in her case it was ketchup and other foods, even onions.) Often she would pick up a few groceries at the store for me and not even want the money for it. She also drove me the few blocks to Home Depot in May so I could pick up and get home, the bags of topsoil, manure and cedar bark for my garden. I gave her fresh black raspberries, tomatoes and rhubarb from my garden for the three of them.
Tanya loved to sit out in her backyard and look at my garden. She said it was beautiful and peaceful. As I don’t have a photo of her, I am posting a photo of part of my backyard garden in her memory.
Alex, her husband was very helpful with house problems. Eleven years ago when I had the big flood in the basement, he came over with a huge shop-n-vac from his work and removed the four or five inches of water from the basement. Last summer, he removed the big old chesterfield from my living room and placed it at the end of my driveway for city pickup. He did this himself.
When I went on holidays, Tanya and Alex looked after my property, bringing in the mail, watering the garden if necessary and watering my too many plants inside, checking on the house to make sure all was okay. When they went away, I did the same, including looking after their cat, Marmalade.
Marmalade died late last August. A harbinger of things to come?
Tanya is gone and I miss her.
And I am becoming a big believer that bad luck plays a big role in who gets cancer – but also in who survives it. I just look around and see what is happening, not just personally, but from news stories, statistics and research. In a previous post I said that four of my friends had been diagnosed with cancer. Well, one of them went for further testing and no cancer.
Then, there are people like Tanya.
Last year John Hopkins medical centre did a study on the luck factor – and the rating for that factor was as high as 65%. They concluded that the main causes of cancer are three – environment, genetic and luck. I have discussed this with friends and some of them pooh-pooh the luck factor.
I say – look around you. Look at who gets cancer, when it is diagnosed, the treatment and if it helps or not. The results are all over the map.
Which brings me to my my conclusion – for now. Too many people of all ages are getting cancer and too many of them are dying from it.
And yes, I know. I have an even more personal reason for being concerned. My late father died of brain cancer (which started out as lung cancer). That was back in 1965. He was 66 when he died.
Only Child Writes