Originally Posted by zooterboy
I fold because all my grandparents had cancer. My grandfather on my mother's side died when I was 5 from brain cancer. He was 50. He was a brilliant artist, working as a letterer for many mainstream companies on their logos and ads (before there were any computers or stencils to do this with, he did them freehand). He was also a decorated WWII veteran, serving in Italy (one of the hardest campaigns of the war). My grandmother on my mother's side had pancreatic cancer and died 15 years after her husband. She never got treated for it because she was tired of going on without him. She died when I was 20, her 6 grandsons were her pallbearers. My grandfather on my father's side died from lung cancer when I was 9. He died in his workshop, sitting on his stool leaned up against a post, looking as if he had just gone to sleep. My 15 year old brother found him. He was a life long iron worker, helping build many of the largest and most complicated buildings in the Kalamazoo, MI area during the 50's and 60's, though he traveled all over MI to work on large projects. He was also the head of the Iron Workers Union, as well as a farmer for most of his life. My grandmother on my father's side had breast cancer and a mastectomy when I was 5. She had a heart attack when I was 8, after which she had open heart surgery. She lived through several strokes in her later years, and had a piece of wire removed in 1998 from the top of her breastbone left over from her open heart surgery, 20 years after it. She died in her sleep on Oct. 1st, 2000 at age 85. The toughest woman I've ever known.
My mother had ovarian and uterine cancer and had a hysterectomy in 1983. She missed my older brother's high school graduation because she was in the hospital from having her emergency surgery. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1987 and missed my brother's graduation from college because she was in the hospital.
My father is currently suffering through several dozen bouts with bladder cancer. He has had numerous procedures to remove the tumors, but couldn't go through chemotherapy because of other debilitating conditions, such as one that causes his vertebrae to slowly dissolve on their own. He is on constant morphine and can only sleep if he's sitting up in a chair. He just turned 65.
My younger sister was diagnosed with skin cancer in 1986, though luckily she had it removed with no further complications. She's currently disabled and dying from a rare birth defect which causes the brain to drop from its normal position and rest against the brain stem. She had surgery in 2005 to attempt to correct the condition, but has never fully recovered, and has many functionality problems. I'm thirteen months older than she is.
I don't fold for myself, even though I know I'm practically guaranteed to get cancer. I fold so that hopefully my daughters and my sons won't have to miss their children's graduations because of this horrible affliction. So that their grandchildren may get to know them, without them being sick. I don't fold just for them, though. I fold for all the sons and daughters, all the grandmothers and grandfathers; I fold because I CAN.