Tuesday, April 1, 2014

For What Its Worth

I am going to wander off of the subject of energy and muse a bit about health.

I LOVE my Life. This one. Not some wished for existence of perfection. I love the Life I have. Grey hair, flat feet, crooked teeth, only one chromosome or 2 away from Neanderthal... and I am good with all of it.

Life is not perfect and not all of us are going to get old, grey, and wrinkly. Those are the rules, but there is absolutely no sense in killing yourself slowly or permanently damaging your health and the quality of Life for the finite time we have for questionable objectives. 

Read this incredible article "We are giving ourselves Cancer". Its not directed at smokers or the obese. It is directed at the healthcare industry. The truth of it all can be found out there in articles like this.  And this.

For better or worse, and like it or not, there has been an ongoing "natural experiment" in "cancer" outcomes. While there are several forms of "cancer" with high cure rates - testicular cancer, anal cancer, leukemia, and Hodgkins lymphoma - there is precious little data to support any assertion that all of the other treatments for the 200 some odd other cancers extend the life of a cancer victim by a single freaking day. This does not mean that some people might not experience a "cure". Surgery in certain cases can be effective in removing localized malignancies. Chemotherapy? Not so much. The math simply says that some cancers are highly aggressive and they kill us no matter what treatment plan we take and others are not aggressive and won't kill you no matter how hard the healthcare industry tries to kill you. And it is impossible to tell which from which.

If it was about "money", "status", or "access to health care" Steve Jobs, Jackie Kennedy, and Hugo Chavez would still be here.  That means means that there is no point in "fighting" cancer. The point is to fight to not get cancer if at all possible.

Well, there is another point. NO ONE is getting out of here alive. You can go to Lourdes, douse yourself in holy water, doven at the Wailing Wall... and the outcome will not change. There will, however, be all sorts of folks willing to lighten your estate for a chance at a "cure". Worse, they may well be shortening your life unnecessarily. The brutal reality is that at any time on the north side of 40 you may get some very disconcerting news from a gent or lady in a white coat. If you are over 50 its no longer even a tragedy. If you are over 60 its to be expected. The only solution, or perhaps I should say the only rational response is to have fun. Right now. (Well, that's my response... I never concerned myself with "being happy". I figured if I was having fun the rest would take care of itself.)

There are a great many people that will do their damnedest to get you killed - even if they seem like they are "on your team". An old college team mate of mine has been stricken with cancer. I have not talked to him since our college days, but I mailed out a note to him this morning. He was always a nice fellow and a genuinely good egg. I could not help thinking about the fact that the Buffalo Bills owner just passed away at 95 while the players on the field are absolutely destroying their health, with literally dozens of CT scans and hundreds of X-Rays for those with long careers. 

The "Healthcare Industry" will happily irradiate you to death, pass you hospital-acquired infections, perform unnecessary surgeries, and "treat you" without benefit - and we are worried about who will pay for that? Seems something is amiss in that line of reasoning.

The ancient Spartans aspired to a "good death" (of course, their idea of a "good death" seemed to hold a great deal of bloodshed.) For some odd reason, a good death is no longer in our lexicon. We are no longer Spartan warriors. Now we are cancer "fighters". 

"Your arms are too short to box with G-d."

The system has worked hard to scare the living sh#! out of people regarding illness and old age - and in doing so has ruined the many moments of our lives when we are healthy and young. 



James M Dakin said...

It is far more important to have quality of life than quantity. 100 years old ain't worth it if the last thirty were pain filled, painpill filled misery.

Anonymous said...

Like energy, health is just another profit center for predatory capitalism. Why would you expect different outcomes from either industry? The predators, whether HFT traders or radiologists just do what they do. If we let them, so be it.
I expect the energy predators will be the ones to take the species down.
We might even get to see it happen.
James Lovelock probably has it right, just kick back and enjoy the next 20 years or so before TSHF.
If the cancer doesn't get you first, cause it ain't just xrays.
You are so on it about a 'good death'

tweell said...

Agreed. An uncle had malignant prostate cancer. He did the usual, was declared cured, and it came back two years later. When he could see the end, when it was getting to where he was too doped up to do anything or in too much pain to do anything, he settled his affairs and killed himself.

I am not interested in vegetating in a rest home, unable to speak or think. I want to die in harness, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Cancer is a disease of modern civilization. People who live in remote, agrarian societies like rural Africa or parts of less industrialized South America don't get cancer. They may die of malaria, rabies or tetanus, but heart disease and cancer are unheard of. There is a price you pay for civilization. This is a theme in many of the old sayings like "be careful what you wish for you might get it" as well as time-old fables like Pandora's Box and the Garden of Eden. In some ways the human race is improving, in many ways it is on the decline.

On the other hand, if some oncologist said to you "you have cancer and we might be able to eradicate it and treat it" chances are most people will opt for treatment. There are many stories of cancer survivors who have lived decades after a mastectomy or colectomy. There are many more statistics of people who don't make it so long. In the future physicians may be able to manipulate a person's own stem cells and immune cells to eradicate malignant cells without any damage to the body. And in the future we may see an antibiotic resistant microorganism strong enough to wipe out half the human race....

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