Yet Another Precious Life Lost

Posted: March 4, 2011 in Life Lessons

My obsession with cancer started 17 years ago when my father was taken by the disease.  He had cancer of the liver and lived a little over a month after being diagnosed.  Feeling a little tired and not quite himself, he went in for an annual checkup at the end of January in1994, and died on February 27th that same year.  Here I am now, 17 years later, reliving his death.  This past week yet another loving son, brother, husband, father and dear friend to so many, who’s middle name is that of my father’s, passed away from the same disease as my father, striking the exact same organ, and giving his final breath on almost the exact day.

Seventeen years ago I was absolutely terrified of cancer.  I insisted any ache or pain anyone around me ever experienced be ‘checked out’  by their doctor just in case.  My mind lived in a constant state of fear that another loved one would be diagnosed with this horrid disease and lose the battle.  According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 2 males and 1 in 3 females will develop cancer during their lifetime.  That is HUGE.   Take a look around you.  That means it may be either you or your son, or perhaps you or one of your sisters.  Unfortunately it hits closer to home than we think.

So what are we going to do about this?

If, as you are reading this, you notice water dripping from your ceiling what will you do?  Will you simply grab a bucket, place it under the leak, and then go about your day?  Unless you actually determine what is causing that leak, the bucket alone will not fix the problem, and throughout the day you will have to continue to empty that bucket because the ceiling will continue to leak.  However, if you examine the ceiling, find a crack and determine what the root of the problem is, and then try to fix that problem, chances are you will be more successful at keeping your house dry long term.  Better yet, if you are proactive and make sure to always take good care of that ceiling, protecting it from all external harm, imagine how long it could last without any serious issues?

That is the problem we are facing.  We focus so much of our attention on curing cancer by placing that bucket under the ceiling.  However, eventually that ceiling will fall apart, and that bucket is going to fill causing problems beyond our ability to fix.  At times that bucket is needed to help, but the bucket alone is not sufficient if we choose to ignore the root of the problem.

What is causing the leak?  What is causing cancer?

That is my personal goal with Drug Free Pharmacist:  to do what it takes, to educate us all on what needs to be done to prevent disease.  Is it a mere coincidence that cancer rates and other widespread diseases have gone up in correlation with poor eating habits, sedimentary lifestyles, polluted air, and toxic chemicals regularly introduced into our bodies?

I’m not willing to take a chance to find out.

Let us work together in preventing disease by taking care of our bodies so we are strong enough to fight disease and so that our ceiling will last as long as it was built to last.

May those left behind after losing a loved one gain strength in getting through the difficult days ahead, and may we reach the point that we know enough to not lose anymore to such tragic diseases.

Hoda Elkassem, RPh, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Allied Health Sciences

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Comments
  1. Aisling says:

    Hoda – This is a heartbreaking, yet lovely and encouraging article all in one. Ameen to your supplication and I pray, sincerely, for your family member and your father for them to get the highest levels of heaven for the suffering they endured. Ameen ❤

  2. Judy says:

    I agree- my late husband died of colon cancer- he also lost 5 other siblings to diff cancers- he also had a bro and sister survive cancer- my sis is a breast cancer survivor- but she lost a son just 53 yrs old to bone cancer/Liver cancer- I also lost 2 sis’s to lung cancer- a niece and her daughter to brain cancer- have 2 nieces who survived breast cancer, but one’s hubby has just been given 3 mo to live with bone cancer- also both of us have lost many friends/ Aunts/Uncle’s to this terrible disease- another of my late husbands brothers just had a tumor removed from inside his bladder the other day- awaiting biopsy results- so that will make 9 out of 13 children in one family alone who have died or been diagnosed with cancer and survived- my other cousin also lost a son to cancer at 51 yrs old! My daughter just had a tumor removed from her breast near the chest wall that came back negative- tho they r watching it closely now- Pray a cure is found soon- but often wonder why some babies are even born with cancer????????

    • Judy, I’m so sorry that your family has been through all of this. That is so much for one family to go through.
      Yes, it is so sad that even babies are born with many widespread diseases. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) did a study a little over a year ago and found that cord blood of newborn babies contained over 200 chemicals. How disheartening is that? Although we cannot control everything when it comes to cancer, and other diseases, it’s important that we do our best to control that which is in our hands. And yes, prayer is definitely needed at all times. May you and your family only see good days ahead of you.

  3. Marti says:

    I am sorry for your loss. My mission matches yours. We have to educate and spread awareness that our lifestyle choices have a profound affect on our health. Thank you for this post.

  4. Rana says:

    This is a great article! I am sorry for your loss. Your mission to educate and help people is wonderful. It’s not often that you find people coming out of a crisis this strong! All the power to you.

    I was watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy yesterday and a girl carrying the cancer gene (85% chance she will get it) decided to remove her uterus, ovaries and breasts! I thought that her decision was extreme! Her other 2 options were to risk 15% of not getting the disease or even if she does get it, she could fight hard to get rid of it! I guess I can’t be a judge of that since I am not in her position.

    Also, I remember reading that a major cause of cancer is warming food in plastic containers in the microwave. You know how many parents warm their children’s milk in baby bottles or plastic cups?

    Awareness is a weapon…keep up the good work.

    • Thanks for the comment Rana. There are definitely numerous things out there that put us at risk for diseases such as cancer. Yes, awareness is a weapon, and making sure to change our lifestyles as best we can to reduce the number of risk factors we have is also key. Together, we can do it!

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