My web site is devoted to medical and treatment information about this rare cancer. My blog is devoted to sharing what has been the more difficult part of the journey for me, the emotional and spiritual road I've traveled as a rare cancer survivor.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sept. 11, 2011

We are approaching the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11.  I read that there may be terrorist attacks planned for the anniversary, possibly car bombs in DC and NYC.  It made me worry, made me feel sad.  I remember how depressed I felt after the Sept. 11th attacks.  I was supposed to be in NYC on Sept. 11, 2001, but instead went there Sept. 5th and 6th.  I saw the Twin Towers and took pictures of them just days before they went down.  I was there again sortly after and visited Ground Zero.  We lost 3000 Americans that day.  The whole country was saddened.

But I think now....I've been in the cancer community for 10 years.  We lose 500,000 Americans a year to cancer.  The same as losing 3000 Americans every other day, but we don't feel the shock and sadness at that statistic as we did the Sept. 11th statistic.  Cancer terrorizes us too.  It is a much bigger enemy.  I think of the saying, "one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic", and it really is true.   It's how our minds work. 

I looked it up once, we spend a fraction of the money on cancer research as we do on fighting terrorism.   Makes no sense....


Alice R. said...

I couldn't agree with you more. If even some of the monies spent on memorial events were spent on behalf of the living - cancer research, health insurance, jobs - I think that would leave a greater legacy to those who died in the terrorist attacks. Many of the deaths were of first responders trying to save lives; wouldn't the best memorial to them be to save more lives?

Catherine Anne Held, Ph.D. said...

Carolyn and Alice—I could not agree more with your comments, which point out the “invisibility” of the threat of cancer even in the face of such staggering loss of life. I think the comparison of September 11th to cancer deaths is apt—especially since cancer is so feared and deeply traumatic yet the emotional and spiritual effects often go unrecognized.
As veterans returning from the “war on cancer,” cancer survivors often do not receive the kind of emotional support in our communities that is provided to many September 11th survivors and other trauma survivors. Just like the recognition of PTSD led by Vietnam vets in the 1970’s-1980’s, I am encouraged by the emergence of cancer survivorship advocacy and resources.

Catherine Anne Held, Ph.D said...

I was so inspired by your blog post that I created my own blog post about trauma and cancer survivorship