Ever since Dr. Gupta called on January 13, 2017 (Friday the 13th, it should be noted) to tell me I had pancreatic cancer, I have racked my brain trying to figure out what on earth could have caused it. Before getting into the details, I should say that the cancer is in complete remission and unlikely to return.
Dr. Joshua Barton skillfully removed the cancerous tissue, Dr. Dan Zuckerman successfully navigated me through chemotherapy, and the wonderful staff at Mountain States Tumor Institute worked their magic to restore my health. We are blessed to have such skilled medical practitioners in our great State.
But you wonder what could have been the cause of the cancer, partly because that cause may still be present in a person’s everyday life. Although I have never professed to be a saint, I have tried to eat healthy, to get moderate exercise, and to avoid subjecting my body to excessive abuse.
The medical questionnaires always wanted to know whether I had ever smoked. I had to admit I’d started puffing Lucky Strikes in the back seat of Wally Wright’s 1937 Plymouth Coupe during noon hours at Valley High School in Eden/Hazelton in the mid-to-late 1950s, and continued the filthy habit off and on for about 17 years. But, to my credit, I gave it up forever in 1975. Wasn’t that enough to give me a clean bill of health?
Immediately after I got the diagnosis, I went to work writing the Vietnam memoir that had been percolating through my head for many years. Due to the short life expectancy for pancreatic cancer patients, speed seemed to be well advised. After the cancer went into remission, the project slowed down but has now been completed.
During the course of my writing, it occurred that I’d been exposed to Agent Orange during my Vietnam service. The jungle immediately to the north of my duty station had been saturated with that toxic stew and I’d showered in the contaminated run-off water and eaten food produced with that water. But the Veterans Administration claimed Agent Orange did not cause cancer of the pancreas.
Then, I learned that most of the beer consumed by the troops in Vietnam, including that sent over by American breweries, contained formaldehyde, which is suspected to be a carcinogen. Merely to counter the hot weather, I had drunk a fair amount of the suspect brew. However, again, cancer of the pancreatic variety has not (yet) been linked to formaldehyde.
My search for a cause seemed to have reached a dead end until the President revealed on April 2 that the noise from windmills causes cancer. I had a eureka moment–that was the cause for my cancer! Like many farmsteads out in the country in the 1940s, my family used a windmill to pump domestic and stock water. Our seemingly harmless windmill had apparently been spewing latent cancer cells into my body from 1942 until we moved to a new house in 1954. For 12 years, that windmill transmitted cancer to all those who could hear its malevolent grinding, wheezing and squeaking noises.
That treacherous windmill was dismantled and rendered harmless in the 1960s. But we are now building veritable cancer factories in the rush to produce green energy from wind farms. Why haven’t our scientists and medical experts warned us of this dangerous threat? Thanks to the President’s medical opinion, perhaps we can stop the madness before we all come down with windmill-induced cancers. We must all join together in tilting at these insidious windmills.