Before my cancer diagnosis in 2004, I was unaware of anyone ever having bladder cancer. Since that time, I've discovered that many celebrities have fought bladder cancer, some have even died from it. The list includes Frank Sinatra (in addition to having Alzheimer's when he died), former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Ray Bolger (the actor known for being "The Scarecrow" in the movie "Wizard of Oz") and investigative reporter Dominick Dunne. Most recently, singer Andy Williams announced he had been diagnosed with bladder cancer. Hence, I now look at these celebrities in a different light. We are intertwined by a disease. You could even say we're part of the same family. Hey, I even felt inclined to try to contact Andy Williams via his fan website (haven't heard back from him, however). Yet, if I do ever hear from him, even though our careers and paychecks are much different, we do have something to talk about. Based on my experience, he may even benefit from conversing with me.
Of course, bladder cancer does not affect just celebrities. The American Cancer Society states that 73,000 Americans are diagnosed with bladder cancer annually and it causes 15,000 deaths. So, bladder cancer is out there, although it may not get as much publicity as other cancers.
The Bible offers comfort to those who are going through similar situations. I Peter 5:9 says that we know that "...the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world" (NASB). Although this verse applies to temptations and attacks from the devil, I believe this verse also applies to anyone going through major suffering or trials. Think about it! There are countless numbers of people worldwide going through similar trials and emerging victoriously. There is hope in numbers. If others can overcome a certain malady, then so can I.
Consequently, when struck by unfathomable sorrow or suffering, it's nice to know that I am not alone.