Tag Archives: love

World pancreatic cancer day

world pancreatic cancer day

Today is November 13th, World Pancreatic Cancer Day. This year, it’s also Friday the 13th and many people across this planet believe that Friday 13th brings bad luck. For those newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, any day on which that happens is like Friday 13th, because this is one of the worst and deadliest forms of this evil disease. Only 1-3% of those who receive this bad news from their doctors will survive the diagnose, and the survival rate hasn’t improved in more than 40 years. It’s still considered to be too hard to be understood and underfunded type of cancer. It’s hard. It’s more or less rare. It happens to somebody else. Until it happens to you or someone very close to you. Then the statistics won’t matter and it won’t seem that rare at all any more. You’ll want the cure, any cure, any support or good word of hope to cling to. But if the situation in the world still stays the same and if research for pancreatic cancer doesn’t broaden, nothing will change, there will be no cure. And with this diagnose, it is much more likely that you’ll end up among those 97-99% who won’t survive. The course of the disease is horrible and it doesn’t impact just the patient but also his or her immediate surroundings. Those days eventually end, but the horrid scenario behind them plays and plays over and over again in the heads of those who stay to live after the patient passes away. You survive, but you’ll carry the scar in your soul for as long as you live.

It’s a silent cancer and very often gives symptoms only when it’s too late for everything and everybody. That’s why the information about it has to be spread and shared so that it can be caught when there is still chance to do something. If there is enough awareness, maybe we can save some more lives. Maybe we can improve that hideous statistics and increase the survival rate. Maybe we can help some child to still have a mother or father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, relatives… If we do something maybe there can still be some hope, even though I can’t be certain about it. But on the other hand what I can be certain of is that if we don’t do anything, nothing will change and there won’t be any hope.

I’ll dedicate the rest of November to talking about this disease to try to help in the memory of my father. If you read this today, wear purple. Talk about how important pancreas is and how vital it is not to overload it with sugar, processed food, bad fats, alcohol and tobacco. Go for regular yearly abdominal ultrasound checkups and encourage someone you know to do the same, it can save a life. Abdominal ultrasounds are not just about pancreas but all the rest of your digestive system, and if for some malignant reason cancer strikes somewhere inside and you leave it undetected, it’s the perfect spot for it to spread very easily. Don’t be scared of checkups, once you complete them and they give you clean bill of health walk out of that office and put your worries aside for another year. Take care of your body and life, it is your life I know, but there are people out there who love you with all their hearts, your life is theirs too as your misery in case something happens to you will most certainly be their misery too. Don’t let yourself and them suffer if it proves that something can be done. And if you or someone you know survive thanks to the awareness you provided, there is nothing in the world that can be compared to that. We’re all on this planet for a short time and if we save at least one person, that’s what truly fulfills the purpose of our life.

In the loving memory of my father who passed away 14 months ago of pancreatic cancer:

My father
With lots of love for my dad 1936 – 2014

My city #BELGRADE is turning purple to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer! #WPCD bit.ly/wpcdsite


Remembering Timothy John Byford (1941-2014)

Photo from http://www.timothybyford.com/about_me

I’ve been contemplating for a few days how to write a special tribute to this unbelievably special and humble man, Englishman by birth but Serb by choice of his heart and his one of a kind, gentle and fascinating soul. I’m no one special myself, just a common, anonymous person, just another temporarily pulsating dot among millions and billions of others similar to me who are currently living on this planet, so I was truly wondering if I should try to write something about Timothy Byford and the way his amazing life and his death touched my soul. I was doubtful until a simple truth dawned upon me – Timothy came to Serbia to stay for good some 40 years ago to dedicate all his creative energy to making the childhood of Serbian kids more meaningful and beautiful. When he was in the most productive years of his life, I was one of those kids he lived and worked for. I was among those who grew up with the TV shows he wrote and directed at our national television, fascinated by that man with a long and to us unusual name and his happy face, wondering at the same time how come he decided to stay with us, learn Serbian and eventually with time truly become one of us. He influenced not only my childhood memories but also as it turned out my entire life – I started learning English when I was 5 and his contribution to bring the English culture closer to Serbian children was truly priceless. I never met him in person or talked to him, but being aware that some special bit of his incredible creative energy is still alive in me of today, I realized that I can and should write something in his honor, for I’m definitely somebody who grew up as his work grew up to find its eternal place in our cultural history.

Nothing was difficult for Timothy, he won so many important life battles with his signature smile I will always remember, losing only this last one, the battle with cancer.
His smiling, vivid and inquisitive eyes of an eternal child could never give away how hard and painful must have been these last almost 9 years of his brave cohabitation with his enemy, multiple myeloma. It’s unimaginable to me why such a good and modest man had to endure such an intense suffering for quite a long time. Nevertheless, he was happy. Happy to be still alive, happy to be able to write some more TV scenarios, happy to get new books to translate to English. He adored this country the way it is, more than we, native Serbs will ever love it. He loved Serbian children more than we’ll ever truly be able to love each other. He adored Serbian birds in one to him very special Belgrade’s forest, Banjicka suma, forest many of us who were born in Belgrade know almost nothing about, forest to whose preservation he contributed to and where he inhaled life to the fullest. He knew so many things, yet he never learnt to complain. He asked to have a happy funeral as he was convinced that this isn’t the end, because he’ll continue to live in minds and hearts of his loved ones and all those people whose lives he touched with goodness.

After last night’s TV tribute to Timothy, I found his website. I’ve been late for so many things in these last 7 years or simply lived oblivious of them obsessed by my own demons, but there is hardly any of them that I will regret more than not entering the world of blogging sooner, because among other things it could have inspired me to search for his blog. It wouldn’t change the fate, maybe it wouldn’t mean much after all, but I could have still written even just a few friendly words of support to a man whose work embellished my childhood. Instead I’m late once again, and I am terribly sorry, but I suppose it’s never too late to have memories.

If you happen to get stuck with seeing the light at the end of the tunnel or any bright side of your ordeals, try reading how Timothy decided to approach his illness and how he still dreamt dreams in spite of being certain that his days were counted – http://www.timothybyford.com (especially the post called “My diary entry for 4th July 2005 – the day I was diagnosed with cancer” http://www.timothybyford.com/blog.php?iStranica=3&&iIDHTMLElementPodGrupa=-1&IDNaziv=My-Blog&ID=142&&iPoStranici=0&).

To me, his never changing happiness is a true inspiration, especially because I’ve been through one real and many other PD induced imaginary life threatening situations so far. Sadly but true, I never knew how to live life peacefully and with a smile, yet I feared losing it beyond belief on so many occasions. It’s perhaps only now that I’m trying to learn how to accept a bit more calmly the imminent fact that I’ll have to die some day and to release some fear of that moment. I’m trying to find a way to “meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same” as Rudyard Kipling says in his poem “If” that I discovered thanks to Timothy’s website. What I wouldn’t like though is to leave this life too soon, knowing that I didn’t give any particular meaningful contribution to the world around me. I’m desperately looking for that elusive sense, for my own unique purpose in this world, for a way to do some real good somewhere and somehow. I would love to leave some mark, no matter how small it can be. Timothy can rest in peace as his life was definitely a wonderful and meaningful one.

Dear Timothy, thank you for so much good that you brought into our lives, our dear Serb with English origin. All your children by birth, and numerous others by art and heart will never forget you.