Turn back time


One of the things you wonder about when you get cancer is not why, but how. You can’t really pinpoint the moment of course when some cell went off the genetic rails but you do wonder what precisely was on the track when the derailment occurred.

Did you breathe in some petrol fumes while filling the car one day for example. Or did it come from working in a laboratory, eating or drinking food or water from a plastic container, standing behind a diesel truck, walking on granite rocks, having an x-ray, photo-copying, being in a freshly painted room, smoking…. and so on. So many potentially carcinogenic agents in our environment these days. Just what was your undoing, and why can’t you go back in time to stop yourself doing whatever it was?

Part of a more general problem for individuals, families, communities, countries, the world, I suppose. Decisions made or not made, turning points, accidents, all of which can set us on a course which, in retrospect, we realise was the wrong one. If only we hadn’t taken that job instead of the other one; moved to that town; allowed that redevelopment; started that war; chosen that energy source.

Can’t really know about those wrong choices at the time, any more than you can avoid having that drink or breathing those fumes. All you can do is try to repair the damage later.

Oh, and learn from it.