The Silent Predator

On Wednesday the press confirmed that Rob Ford, the controversial mayor of Toronto, has a grapefruit-sized tumour growing in his stomach. He has an aggressive and rare form of cancer called malignant liposarcoma. This cancer rapidly grows in fatty tissue, nerves or muscle. Mr. Ford is undergoing a cycle of aggressive chemotherapy, as well as possible surgery if the tumour shrinks in size through his treatment plan.

Whatever emotions evoked because of this guy, rage, hate, disdain, disgust, or perhaps love and respect,  I think we can all stand on common ground in this opinion, he certainly does not lack in tenacity department. He was knocked down many times by his naysayers, be they right or wrong, but always managed to get back up, even returning to city hall to presume his job as boss of a huge, urban jungle, despite a stint in rehab.  I remember watching on the news, after his treatment in rehab for drug and alcohol abuse, he was ushered back into to City Hall through a herd of reporters, a grin on his large, ruddy face. “Gotta get back to work!” he said.

I was lying in bed last night thinking about the C-word. One thing about the big C, this disease ain’t prejudice. No matter your age, race, social status, or how many bucks you’ve got in the bank, it can strike anyone at anytime. Growing up through the years, I never gave cancer much thought. In my youthful naiveté, I thought of this disease as something distant. It happened to other people, and could never affect me or my family.  In the early 90’s a relative of mine lost her brave battle with breast cancer. It was shocking for me and my first close encounter with cancer. Still, I never thought she would lose her battle. I always thought this was a set back, and she would return to her family from her hospital bed. She was a young, vibrant woman, not even forty yet, with a little girl and a loving husband. She was the only person I knew with cancer. That’s how cancer was back then, shocking and infrequent. With all the money donated to cancer research though lotteries and marathons, it seems to be increasing in cases. When I hear that someone was diagnosed with cancer these days, sadly it’s not shocking anymore because I’m hearing of more and more cases. My loved ones, my loved ones loved ones, past and present co-workers, cancer has affected us all. In many cases, this disease was like a thief in the night. Coming and destroying when the person least expected it, quiet and still. An insidious predator sneaking up on its prey without warning. When they felt the pain it was too late. The diseased cells had already done their worst. As in the mayor’s case, his type of cancer is rarely detected, because the tumour can be hidden deep in the tissue, fat, nerves or muscles and the person feels no pain. This is terrifying!

Twenty odd years ago, I knew one person with cancer, now I don’t have enough fingers to count the people I know who have been diagnosed and survived, who are fighting the disease or who have sadly lost their battle. The mayor is in for the fight of his life. All his past demons are pale in comparison, but if anyone can fight this predator head on, it’s him.

“My heart goes out to anyone who is facing similar health battles and to your families who are standing strong behind you. But friends, please, please, never give up. Be strong, stay positive and never give up.”

–  Rob Ford


10 thoughts on “The Silent Predator

  1. Cancer is a very scary thing, which is why I try to live the healthiest of lives possible, but even if I eat enormous portions of vegetables, healthy fats, etc…. Genetics play a huge role in determining your cancer fate 😦 I did get a genetics test about a year ago, and it told me the types of cancers I am susceptible to getting and the only one is Colon Cancer, however, I no longer have a colon, so I don’t think it really applies to me anymore? However, one can never be too sure! My heart goes out to everyone struggling with cancer or struggling dealing with the fact that they know someone they love with it.

    1. Hi Gigi. Thanks for your thoughts here. Many people think lifestyle choices play a major role in cancer. I too try my best to eat clean, and avoid processed foods. These days there is info overload, and it can be confusing. Good idea getting tested to see if you’re predisposed to certain cancers. I never thought this disease would be such a part of my life. My sister is a survivor, my cousin is fighting right now and my uncle passed away less than a year ago. It is scary.

  2. Very sobering post, T2T. I see cancer as a large sledge hammer hovering above mankind; you just never know who it will hit next. And when you get diagnosed with cancer, that’s how it feels – like you’ve been hit over the head with a hammer. Yes, our family has been ‘hit’ with cancer too many times and at times I can’t help but wonder ‘who will be next’? It isn’t healthy to go through life thinking that way though. And, as you and Gigi mentioned, leading a healthy lifestyle may help to prevent some cancers. However, as Gigi states, genetics do play a major role in cancer diagnosis and even the healthiest of the healthy can be susceptible. I’m not a fan of Rob Ford but I wish him well and admire his comment about keeping positive and not giving up. One of the things he will learn is that battling cancer will change his life forever.

    1. Hi Fran. The sledgehammer is exactly right. Where will it crash it’s ugly head? Now that makes two public figures in City Hall. Poor Jack Layton as we know. It’s true we can’t go through life worrying, but try to live our healthiest life. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Ford. This diagnosis may change a lot of things in his choices.

  3. Very thoughtful post! Unfortunately cancer and tumor are something familiar in my life. I know some survivors and few that passed away after struggling the C battle. It is sad and it affects not only the patients but also people who cares and love them…thank you for your thoughtful post, my heart goes to you, your families and many who have encountered similar situation.

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