Originally posted July 7, 2013
I was stunned driving into work listening to Skepticality to learn that Susan Gerbic has breast cancer and will be undergoing surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments into the start of 2014. Obviously, our hearts go out to her, and we all wish her the very best.
Interestingly, as Gerbic announced this herself on her Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia segment, she shared how people, including herself, were tempted to find the cause or where to place the blame for the cancer. Most of the time these things are just random, and rarely is a likely cause known to the afflicted. This is part of being human. We just seem to have a drive to want to know why. If someone has a history of smoking a pack of Lucky Strikes everyday for thirty years and then are diagnosed with emphysema, it is safe to say based upon the medical consensus that the Luckies had a role in getting the disease. On the other hand, someone who is in exquisite health and sustained breast cancer and has a long family history of breast cancer and testified positive for the BRCA1 gene can chalk that up to unfortunate genes.
However, I suspect with our current knowledge base most causes for why a person sustains a disease are unknown, and perhaps not ever predictable. Yet, damn it, people (as do I) want to know what caused whatever happened.
I could wake up tomorrow and be run over by an ice-cream truck, or sustain an out of the blue autoimmune disease. Life, unfortunately, is random. The segment next to Gerbic’s on Sketpicality is the Odds must be Crazy, where seemingly impossible coincidental events are described and then rationally examined by Jarrett, Wendy, and Barbara. Sometimes the odds of something occurring can be calculated, and other times, it is not able to be calculated. Yet, we want to make sense of it. It stinks.
I have not a clue what caused Gerbic’s disease. I suspect nobody will be able to learn the cause of her illness. I hope modern medicine can overcome it. We all wish her the best.