Gary Strachan – "Write" Said Fred

Partly fictional chronicles of whimsy

Dissing The Disease

Tomorrow morning I’ll be partaking in a collection with a bunch of other volunteers for the Marie Curie cancer care. My presence a small contribution towards the raising of funds during the charity’s March Daffodil Appeal campaign.

I experience a great deal of satisfaction being a foot soldier in the battalions fundraising the fight on numerous fronts against cancer. An odious, unwanted part of my life since close to dusk falling on the year 2010.

If this war can be won, regiments of researchers, medical teams, pharmaceutical companies, palliative carers, voluntary workers need to prevail in their metaphorical battles against their rancid nemesis. Victory without all of the above firepower is unlikely. David is going to need more than a slingshot to overcome this spiteful Goliath,

It’s a challenge where the opponent fights without boundaries, morals or the remotest bit of humanity. Cancer hasn’t signed up to the Geneva Convention, there’ll be no humane treatment of it’s prisoners or food parcels from the Red Cross allowed. It concedes nothing; compromise on it’s part isn’t an option.

My wife Karen’s battle has been nearly seven and a half years long. A seventh of her life with an incurable illness, bequeathed to her by an indiscriminate and incurable foe. In cahoots with karma, the big C (the C doesn’t stand for cancer in this instance) cares not if this person is undeserving of such cruelty.

It holds no remorse for torturing the patients family; individuals who are also ‘put through the mill’ as a consequence of the unwanted presence of this canker. The mental torment bestowed without emotion – Cancer no doubt would argue it’s workload is too overburdening to have space for sentiment, or white space to review the consequence of it’s actions. After all, families don’t decimate themselves!


The day Karen was diagnosed with incurable cancer, 17th November 2010, is indelibly etched in my psyche as the day my life changed for ever. Nearly seven and a half years on from that day, I’m significantly angrier individual – Regularly bitter, cynical, frustrated and with less tolerance.

In my defence, though, I now exhibit more humanity, greater resilience, in addition to an unshakable desire to undertake voluntary work. In particular for various splendid charities who support the fight against the odious disease that has blighted my recent existence. An example of which is my collecting for Marie Curie cancer care tomorrow at a Leeds supermarket.

I find personalising cancer akin to a living, breathing entity helps me classify the illness as something that can eventually be overcome. Pragmatists may deem my thoughts of medical advances consigning the disease to a timely death in the future as perhaps foolhardy. However, if it proves a useful coping mechanism for me it’s got to be a decent enough strategy….. Hasn’t it?

Some may proffer that, if this narrative is anything to go by, my coping mechanism doesn’t appear as robust as I paint it. Opining my musings are more like a cry for help; a consequence of the culmination of living with his wife’s seven year fight, along with the loss of my father to the same disease at the end of last year.

I can assure you, though, that this is a rant to get pent up emotions out in the open; something my normal light hearted offerings cannot resolve. Like voluntary work, a move which I need to undertake occasionally for cathartic purposes.

A message of anger and defiance at the enemy who took up residence in my home in 2010, who I’m determined won’t drive me into the gutter!

I know cancer cannot hear me……. But Jeez, I tell you what, it does me a power of good!

Categories: Blogs, depression, family, humour, Karen's Cancer Fight

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