The Club

6 10 2011

There exists a club, which will take anyone.

You can be a Child or an Adult, gay or straight, a Mum or Dad, religious or atheist, black or white, a prince or pauper, Human or Otherwise.

You don’t sign up for it, there’s no venue, and you probably don’t want to be a member… I sincerely hope you never are a member.

You join it the moment you are told that you have cancer.

The astonishing thing about this club is that no member is higher up than any other member, we are all on an equal level.

And I don’t think anyone can fully grasp that until they have cancer.

I had this unusual thing happen to me when I was going through cancer treatments, I was watching the news one night and heard that Kylie Minogue had breast cancer.

We’re both from Melbourne, I’ve never met Kylie and probably never will, but I thought of all the little things that I had thought about in private, my fears, the things my Mother went through and the things I saw and felt when I watched others receiving chemotherapy.

Kylie was about to go through that, and I understood.

I heard others pass judgement about Her, but I knew that if I had cancer, I would have grabbed at every resource to fight it, I wanted Her to fight it, and I wanted Her to win, not just for Her, but for all of us.

Steve Jobs had put on a brave face for the public, He may not have been brave, I doubt any of us really are, but we continue because, what else can we do?

In private, despite his fame, his bank balance or what people think of him, He suffered.

He would have suffered like no Human or Animal should ever experience, physically and mentally, and he would have seen his friends and family suffer because of his illness.

All we saw was a man lose weight, that can be easily brushed off, can’t it?

I saw my Father go from a giant of a man, to someone who looked a lot like Steve did in the end. Mum and I lived with Dads pain twenty four hours a day.

Neither of us imagined that someone so strong, someone who could almost run at the age of seventy, with a large Malamute in front, could suddenly become so frail.

The public don’t see the full effect of cancer on a victim or their close family, and they really cannot understand what’s going on.

Steve Jobs, whether you liked him or not, never should have gone through that.

There will come a day when Medical Science will ensure that nobody will be granted access to The Club, and I sincerely hope You and I live to see that day.





2 responses

6 10 2011
Virginia Tressider

My mother died of pancreatic cancer. She was the poster girl for healthy living – in one nurse’s memorable words: ‘She’s an incredibly healthy woman, it’s just that she’s dying’. And she was so terrified of cancer that she wouldn’t use the word.
Nobody told her it wasn’t treatable – they let her sign up for all the treatments, including offering radiotherapy that they admitted would leave her blind, and probably confined to a wheelchair.
It was my job to tell her. And tell her they were just experimenting on her at that stage – removing her gallbladder wasn’t going to make any difference. Nor were any of the other surgical interventions.
She got septicaemia, and the hospital didn’t even ASK the next of kin about treating her when we took her to the emergency room – they just did it. Didn’t ask her, either – she was in no state to consent, and I wasn’t asked. Kept her in, tidied her up, and sent her home. Instead of letting her die relatively well. In fact, I was never asked about anything to do with her care – the hospital assumed her biddable, uneducated sister was next of kin, because she was nearby. Whereas I, the actual next of kin, was working 500km away. Ironically, as a bioethicist specialising in end of life decisions. Funny, that.
Then the palliative care ghouls came. I bloody hate those carrion crows, with their ever-so-supportive attitude and their sanctimonious caring. What Mum wanted, knowing treatment was futile, was euthanasia. We almost had it for a while. Thanks, Kevin Andrews. It’s an appalling thing to wish on anyone, but I hope your god gives you bladder cancer – apparently it’s the absolute worst, most painful way to die.

6 10 2011
Wolfie Rankin

I approve of euthanasia too, everyone ought to have the right to say “that’s enough”.

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