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Mistress Marilyn's POV
No shit, Tempus Fugit!
Far, Far Fetched Star Wars Cancer analogy ~ 
9th-Jan-2009 11:33 pm
I just read on MSN.com that Patrick Swayze had been admitted to a hospital with possible pneumonia. The story talked about his courage and inspiration, plus his fear and anger over the battle with cancer expressed in his recent Barbara Walters interview.

He admitted to 'why me?' moments.

Well, it's terrible that he's fighting cancer. And it's horrible that someone his age has had to face such a devastating prognosis. (Not to mention that if he loses his battle, we'll have to forever pout that they never managed to do that Dirty Dancing sequel.)

But in his interview with Walters, Swayze also admitted to being a smoker and to *still* smoking, even with the treatment and lowered immune system.

Let me just say this. With my lousy lungs, I would kill myself if I smoked for a month; and the people I know who are either cancer survivors or currently and chronically fighting versions of the disease would never dream of touching a cigarette. They have to avoid their grandkids when there's a runny nose and try to limit their grocery shopping during flu season.

Maybe Patrick Swayze just figures 'what the fuck' since he's going to die anyway. He's got a sorta Han Solo attitude. Cancer looms like Darth Vadar over our lives, snorting at our puny blasters and home made light sabres, chuckling while doctors, scientists and the media lecture us about how we can defend ourselves with certain behavior, with how we eat, recreate and even breathe ~ like there's an illusive and mystical Force that might somehow make us just a little safer. The truth is Vadar can take us down whenever he wants, whether we live earnest, Skywalker lives or choose to emulate the devil-may-care dufus who hoovers nicotine and asbestos and clogs his colon with animal fat and cranberries.

It seems to be a cosmic crap shoot.

Still, we don't have fly the Millenium Falcon right up his ass of the Deathstar, do we?

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10th-Jan-2009 09:31 am (UTC)
You know my strong anti-smoking feelings and how I've walked up to strangers buying cigarettes to try and discourage them.

I remember so well what it was like going with Mom to her cancer treatments and seeing all those patients.

And I think those people we've known in our lives who died from conditions brought on by cigarettes, including Helen Grimes. She never smoked herself, but was exposed to her husband Frank's second-hand smoke. (I remember how much that bothered ex-smoker Dad...)

I've known people who got cancer and were unable to give up smoking during their treatment. I've always had a hard time dealing with that. And it honestly bothers me that Patrick Swayze's attitude seems to be that there's no reason to stop unless he knows for sure that he's going to live. I've heard over and over again how angry he is that people are saying he's on his deathbed (etc.), yet I certainly got the feeling listening to him that he feels that's true! If he thinks he doesn't have long to live, why is he so angry that people are reporting exactly that? I don't get it...

I like the Starwars analogy, by the way. It's that whole thing: If I knew the world was going to end next week, how would I spend my last days? Would I be in a church (like the original "War of the Worlds"), or would I be out partying my ass off?

I've heard my whole life: 'Well, why shouldn't he/she do [blank]? He/she only has a few months to live, anyway.'

If that's true for Patrick Swayze, then why SHOULD he bother to give up the pleasure of smoking?

On the other hand, if stopping would possibly help him to get better, or prolong his life...

I guess the bottom line is that it's up to him -- which is as it should be (no matter how much it bugs anyone -- including me).

Of course, we could simply say 'life is short' and justify any unhealthy behaviors, never trying to improve ourselves. Now I'm rambling, so I'll stop before I make myself crazy! (heh)
11th-Jan-2009 01:13 am (UTC)
I had fun with the Star Wars thing, obviously. You know me!

I guess if life is going to screw you, you might as well blow smoke back! But just don't ask 'why me?' In fact, I don't think anyone should *ever* ask that question as you know, because the answer is 'why not?'
10th-Jan-2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
haha i had missed the interview, vaguely knew he was sick and heard he checked in for pneumonia recently

knew nothing of the smoking etc

I am so sick and tired, of all the people that think they get to whine, when they do something stupid

like smoking, having a drinking problem, having an addiction to weed, rx's what ever the choice is

The pathetic, whine of poor me, and my life was/is hard so I need to (insert choice) and you should care/feel sorry for me/fix it/listen....

Well my tolerance is really, really low and I am not sure it is ever coming back up....

11th-Jan-2009 01:14 am (UTC)
I hear you. As I mentioned to Charlie, the answer to 'why me?' is 'why not you?' No matter what happens, there's always something worse happening to someone else.
11th-Jan-2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Well and there is the common sense rule of:

every action has a consequence

some are good, some are bad, some are great, some are awful, some are neutral

Once you are an adult you KNOW that rule; you may not like it much, but you know it. So you really do not get to whine.


10th-Jan-2009 04:11 pm (UTC)

I didn't know that he was continuing to smoke! =/

It's hard to feel sorry for someone who isn't doing everything in his power to get better,though like Charlie said,if he knows for certain that he isn't going to get better then why give up the "pleasure" of smoking?

But my question is: how does he know he won't get better unless he does everything he can to ensure a positive outcome,unless the doctors have already told him that he won't?? (Actually Charlie made reference to that,too).

Well I guess in the end it is his choice,and I have more important things in my own life to worry about so he can do what he wants to do. Only he knows the path that he's on,and I cannot judge.

I love the Star Wars analogy too;you definitely have a writer's gift,Marilyn! ♥
11th-Jan-2009 01:17 am (UTC)
I have a feeling the prognosis is about how much time he has, not whether he'll live. And if he chooses a little less time with a cigarette in his hand, it's his life. As long as I don't have to breathe his second-hand smoke, what do I care?

(Thanks for your sweet comment! I do love to play around with words.)
10th-Jan-2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
I don't limit my compassion for those who I think are worthy of it. I don't judge them as undeserving human beings because they have an addiction that still controls their lives. I still feel compassion for them. I won't say they have no rights to speak of their pain, that they have to pass my standards of conduct, my perception of trying, my perception of over coming weakness, because if they don't, then they're simply not viable as a person to receive understanding and empathy.
11th-Jan-2009 02:13 am (UTC)

I guess you're trying to say you're more compassionate than I am, which is probably true.

I suppose you didn't get my sorta-satirical entry. The post was meant to be ironic, not evil. Nothing I said above had anything to do with whether Patrick Swayze is deserving of compassion, and as for not viable as a person to receive understanding and empathy, yeesh, I'm not even sure where that's coming from. Swayze is getting mounds of sympathy from people all over the world, and the fact he's continued to work while he's undergone treatment has been documented and applauded. He's treated like a hero. No, I don't think he should go on TV and say 'why me?' and then admit he's not following his doctor's orders. But then, I don't believe in *anyone* saying 'why me?'

Because the awful cosmic answer is: 'why not you?' No one is safe from horrible stuff happening, regardless of how good a person you try to be, or how much you follow 'the rules' laid out by doctors and scientists and parents and preachers (which was part of the point of the entry).

Most people struggle with some form of addiction, although hopefully not addictions that 'control their lives.' No doubt it's hard to fight any addiction or compulsion; I certainly struggle with mine (and probably will until I die). But there's a difference between a disease and an addiction. You can't choose to stop having cancer. But you can choose to put down that pack of cigarettes, regardless of how difficult it is. Now, will doing that make cancer stay away or go away? Absolutely not.

My two female friends who fight cancer every single day have lived healthy lives. They've never smoked or used narcotics, they appear to eat right (in fact one has an extremely restrictive diet), they help support loving families (one has a husband who had a stroke a few years ago) and they are definitely women of integrity who don't deserve to have anything bad happen to them. I've never heard either one say "why me?" and they've both been battling cancer for close to a decade. And they'd both shrug it off if I tried to express to either one of them how much I admire and respect them.

Yes, I do have standards of conduct, as do you. Yours are just different than mine. You'd probably be good in a career that involved some sort of social work if you're as tolerant of people's addictions and weaknesses as you say.

But, Kyra, don't act like you don't judge people, because you do. You've certainly judged me and found me wanting more than once, now haven't you?
11th-Jan-2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
I didn't mean my comment to be directed towards you Marilyn.

It was simply a statement of how I try and remind myself to not judge, of course I do judge in spite of the effort not to.

But finding you wanting? We have an area in the past but it's like weeds in a field to be burnt off and extinguished. As far as I'm concerned it's over with. I don't find you wanting. I can save that for myself. You have taken my response to be fully, and completely against you and that's not my intention. I didn't mean it that way. I'm sorry you took it to be so.

I'm sending you a personal message honey. Everything is really ok.

There should be no ouch, *hugs*.

12th-Jan-2009 06:45 am (UTC)
Cool, thanks for clarifying. Sometimes it's hard to tell where a comment is directed, I admit. I see your comment was more a reminder to yourself of what you attempt to do than a reflection on what I had said.

I have to admit that while I want to show compassion when appropriate, I'm less tolerant of certain behaviors than I used to be.

(And the blog post was really in my 'writer voice,' which does tend to be a bit edgier than normal.)
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