Sometimes Life Is Simply UnfairI’ve made it a significant portion of my life this year to dedicate my blogging efforts to analyzing the science behind preventing disease and living longer. As I’ve stated countless times already here on this site my life’s dream as a child was to live into my one hundreds and for whatever reason this desire still persist and my analytical and investigative mind has been lit with a fire to learn what it is that makes us tick and what it is that makes us tick longer.
Over the better part of the past eight months I’ve analyzed every major disease to varying degree. I’ve particularly spent a fair amount of time analyzing insulin production and diabetes; prostate cancer prevention, cancer prevention, longevity diets and activities. I’ve noted the many benefits of exercise and the longevity inducing effects of the Mediterranean diet and the calorie restriction diet. What I have not give much time to however is the inevitable and seemingly pointless effects that genetics can have on our life spans.
Genetics and Living Longer of Shorter LivesTo some degree genetics can play a large role in our living longer but unfortunately genetics can also play a major role in us living shorter lives… sometimes extremely shortened lives. My reasons for this are a couple. First of all I’m not a scientist and for me to understand many of the particulars and theories of genetics I would need too much time. Second I have stayed away from the implication of genetics on living longer or shorter lives because quite frankly there’s often nothing you can do about genetics. You are who you are from birth.
The Story of Our Esther
This weekend, I learned that in a very personal way when my wife and I had to put our little cat to sleep. Saturday evening was probably the hardest day of my life. My wife and I both held our little baby in our hands and comforted her as she struggled to breath. The vet gave her her injection and she lightly struggled, then I watched her slowly drop her head down and sigh her last breath. That moment will be burned in my memory for ever. She was, after all, our first responsibility as a family. She was like our own child and we saw her into end; she will be missed and remembered as my wife and I grow old together.
Our little cat only lived to 23 months. She didn’t even make it to her second birthday. This is despite the fact that we did everything for her and made sure she had the best home possible and the best quality of life possible. Life is unfair sometimes and it hurts. She ate something that upset her stomach, threw up, aspirated, and the sickness quickly weakened her heart which we learned was defective from birth. Her left ventricle was too large and it was a matter of time before it got stressed and failed. This upset stomach was all it took and if it wasn’t this then it would’ve been something else in a matter of months. Her heart went into failure three days after she first got sick and though we did everything we could for her during those three days her heart said it was time.
Long Life Is Not A Right – It Is A PrivilegeLiving longer was not in the cards for her as genetics took over and she passed on. Life sometimes is not fair and no matter what we believe and what we do we cannot always manipulate it as we hope. This was a lesson for me as I have lived a privileged life. I am so lucky that the hardest encounter with end of days is the passing of my cat but at the same time the pain is real and the regret is deep.
Life, no matter the species, is not a waste when there is love surrounding it. When loving memories are left behind even the shortest of lives are gifts to treasure forever. Life which is shortened abruptly is not a waste… but it is unfair. I hope I never forget this lesson and I never take life for granted. Yes living longer is something I aim to achieve but it cannot be manipulated and it cannot be assumed. In the end everything happens for a reason and God remains in control.
Goodbye Esther; you were loved.