Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lance in France

In today’s paper I’m reading about Lance Armstrong’s commitment to race again this year. At 37 he’s an old guy in the bike world but as the sportswriters say he’s racing to win and racing to educate about cancer. He wants to bust the stigma of cancer with the hopes that it leads people to get tested and treatments. It is honorable. (This despite how he is regarded at The Amy Winehouse House.see entries on this blog for 7.20.08 and 9.1.08).

But it’s a mixed bag—so to speak. Lance Armstrong and Live Strong are a powerful message of cancer survival. He is the picture of “Cancer won’t kill you so don’t let it stop you.” But is there an unintended message of “cancer can’t kill you”, when in many cases it can?

Am I just being fearful or negative? Am I mad that some cancers make your life hell but they don’t kill you—not very fast anyway? Some days it feels like everyone has prostate cancer but they grow old with it and other folks—yes I’m taking this very personally—have colon or lung or pancreatic cancer and they die even before they fully digest the news. They don’t get back on the bike. They don’t get to date Cheryl Crow. And they die wearing a yellow wrist band.

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