We're only 5 days into the new year and I've already read three books on cancer.
I am a book person. Whenever something big happens in my life I turn to books first for information and direction and hold their content above almost anything I read online. So as soon as Keith was diagnosed with multiple myeloma I went to Amazon and started putting together a reading list. Our oncologist actually recommended Tom Brokaw's memoir about his own multiple myeloma so that's where I started.
The memoir is a good, quick read. Tom Brokaw seems like a very nice man. He's a great writer and a thoughtful person. He talks about his experience being diagnosed with multiple myeloma and the ups and downs of his treatment and recovery, interspersed with some great memories of his really extraordinarily lucky life. He writes touchingly about how angry he was at the diagnosis, about how the cancer threatened the future he and his family had imagined, and is thoughtful about the fact that so few people have access to the resources he does. It's worth reading.
But, here's the thing. But he was diagnosed with myeloma at 72. 72! 72 is not young. It is not the prime of one's life. You don't hear that a 72 year old is diagnosed with cancer and think "Oh, the injustice!" You probably think, "Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that", "I wish that weren't true", "I hope you have a full recovery". But you are not surprised.
72 is 25 years older than Keith is right now. Twenty five more years of good health.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that a 72 year old should just give up on life. A 72 year old American male today is still ten years away from his average life expectancy and someone as healthy as Mr. Brokaw could reasonably expect to squeeze out even more years. He was totally justified in his anger and disbelief over his diagnosis and he was right to fight so hard and I wish him twenty or thirty more years of health and happiness.
But you know, also, fuck you, Tom Brokaw.