I don't usually buy People Magazine or any of the tabloid papers but I went to the store specifically to pick up the Sept. 13th issue of People. Featured on the front was Michael Douglas and inside was his story. As I read the interview that they did with him it was eerily familiar. A sore throat, a tumor at the base of his tongue, a biopsy, a stage 4 diagnosis, and the treatment...chemo and radiation. The only thing different was that Tim had surgery before beginning his chemo and radiation.
All I could think of when I read this story was that Michael Douglas and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, don't know what they are in for. Doctors can tell you their version of what will take place but I can tell you that you just cannot imagine the impact on your life when cancer and the treatment to rid you of it, collide.
"I know maybe I should be stronger, but emotionally I just don't want to see that," she said.
Something that I have struggled with throughout Tim's cancer diagnosis and treatment is that as devastating as head and neck cancer is that there is not a lot of awareness about it.
I will admit that at times I felt resentful that it seems that breast cancer gets all the attention with pink ribbons, license plates, t-shirts, fund raisers and walk-a-thons, while head and neck cancer is barely recognized. Perhaps it is because it is seen as a preventable cancer to some degree although Tim is proof positive that lifestyle is not always the cause. Maybe the world sees throat/tongue cancer as a thing that you get because you choose to smoke or drink and therefore they are less sympathetic. I don't know the reasons but I would plead with people to remember that not everyone with cancer has it as a result of their lifestyle. It can happen to anybody.
In the People Magazine article it said that Catherine Zeta Jones was hit hard by the reality of his diagnosis. She said, "The one thing that struck me first is, "This doesn't happen to Michael Douglas."
Tim is not a celebrity but I remember thinking the same thing about Tim -- this doesn't happen to a healthy 51 year old, father of 6 who doesn't drink or smoke.
I am certainly not happy that Michael Douglas has throat cancer but it has crossed my mind that perhaps now that a celebrity has this ugly cancer that perhaps it will bring more attention to it because the reality is that it can happen to anybody.
I wish for Michael Douglas the same wonderful results that we have seen, the return to a full life with cancer being an ever distancing memory.