Imagine these headlines in your local newspaper:
JUMBO JET CRASHES KILLING ALL – 1,000 PEOPLE DIE!
The front pages of all of our newspapers would scream about this massive tragedy of “epic proportions.”
Now imagine that that a jumbo jet crashes and kills everyone on board every two weeks for an entire year. Every two weeks another 1,000 people are killed. Every two weeks the headlines report that a 1,000 people are again killed in jumbo jet accidents.
At year’s end, we would have seen the death of 26,000 people. Imagine the furor in the population. The newspapers would be clamoring for blood. How could this happen? How can our government officials allow this to happen? Who are the responsible people and why are they not in jail? Who, in their right mind, would even think about taking a jumbo jet?
According to the American cancer Society, in the United States alone prostate cancer will kill 28,660 men this calendar year. This translates into a death rate that is in excess of 2,660 men more than in the deaths caused by my fictitious twice-monthly jumbo jet crashes.
Yet, where is the anger and response from supposed caring people? The only response that I have heard is a federal commission recommending that men should not be screened for prostate cancer! I guess the goal is to see how long it will take to see the death rate match the fictional death rate of a jumbo jet crashing every week.
I can remember how outraged we were when the federal government abandoned the citizens of Louisiana in the wake of Kitrina. I can also remember the national anger that swelled through the country when we heard the elderly and sick patients in a nursing home being abandoned. The State of Louisiana ultimately filed murder charges against the nursing home personnel.
Should we bring murder charges against the federal government? I do not no another situation in our society that discounts life in this way.
I do not understand, do you?
Joel T Nowak, MA, MSW
Excellent analogy Joel. It never came to my mind but go ahead and try to publish this article in the newspapers or contact Larry King , I will support you , my daughters too , the whole world should know what you are realizing today and I guarantee you there will be a shock and awe all over the country because cancer has become epidemic , the cancer clinic at UCLA has more patients than the GP clinic at Kaiser permenante , go figure. Just do it Joel, and the whole world will react .
I’ve been thinking about your post for a while… and meant to comment sooner. My dad made a comparison like this years ago – back when I was “just doing this because I love my dad.” Now – I’m still “doing this because I love my dad,” but also for many others who I’ve come to know and love as extended family still personally struggling with prostate cancer.
You know my father founded the Prostate Cancer Coalition of NC back in 2001. And I’d like to share with you a somewhat shameful realization on my part that may help to answer your question. When my dad asked me to be his volunteer note taker/ webmaster I just did it for him… not as the “believer” I am today, having become so through that experience.
He was tough as nails and there was no way this cancer was going to take him out… for a solid 5 years I was 110% sure this was just a bump in the road for him – but I dug spending time with dad and we had fun working, planning and organizing. I didn’t really understand what it meant when his sugical follow-up uncovered bone mets… nor did he share with me that the he’d been told he had about a year to live at that same time…
Now – I look around me at the patients who volunteer with the coalition today… “my guys” – and I think when they talk to their kids they, like my father, can’t stomach the idea of scaring them when, in “dad’s mind,” they’re often just getting out on their on… starting careers and families… coming into their own.
I don’t know if it would have been right for my dad to give me a reality check when was given his own prognosis… but I do think I’d have done things a bit differently… actually – a lot differently. When dad got really sick, I was glad to share his journey with him… I loved being with him and felt very very guilty that I took our time for granted.
I think what I’m trying to say is, we truly are, to quote Albert Einstein “here for the sake of each other – above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy” – but that has 2 sides to it… one is being there for the people you love – the other is letting the people you love know that it is time to be there for you. It sucks when you realize you didn’t, but should’ve.
Being there might be making calls to legislators, going for Dr. visits, or just plain going out to dinner – or on a fun family vacation… What I know now – it is a true gift to be able to be there for someone you love.
Sorry I didn’t comment sooner – unfortunately I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks as I just lost my grandmother/ last living biological grandparent to pancreatic cancer… I had to disconnect for a while to be there for my mother, aunt, uncles, cousins, and my “step” grandfather – the only grandpa I’ve ever known:)
You guys are important! Let us fight for you/ with you/ beside you… I’m sure I’m not the only daughter out their who is both grateful and glad to be somewhat defined by the experience.