Vote for Rob Ford — To Get Well

If we needed another reminder about the flippancy of fate, the diagnosis Rob Ford received this week is a fine example.

One day before candidacies can be withdrawn or registered, seven weeks before a Toronto mayoral election the world will be watching, ten weeks after he came back from rehab, six days after he declared he’ll be mayor for “another 14 years,” Ford is anxiously awaiting the results of a biopsy of a tumour that caused so much pain in his abdomen that he went to Emergency at Humber Hospital.

He’s now been transferred to Mt. Sinai Hospital for further tests.

Tumours don’t care about the calendar. Lab results depend on scientific principles, not electoral deadlines.

Most of us know what it’s like to wait for test results, especially biopsies.

Even getting called back for a repeat mammogram can be so unnerving it’s hard to concentrate on anything else until the all clear is given — or not.

What’s happening to Ford — surely there is no one who isn’t sympathetic — and whether the tumour is found to be malignant or benign (hope and prayers are appropriate here), is something that puts mortality front and centre. It makes this mayoral race that seemed so very important and interesting a lot less significant, something that can easily be disrupted by rogue cells driven to proliferate. It reminds us that biology is the cosmic control freak and humans don’t have a hope of contesting that.

It’s notable too that we found out about Ford’s misfortune on 9/11, the anniversary of that day when death came from the sky and the sidewalk and deadlines, debates or appointments went up in smoke.

Also, let’s refrain from blaming Ford’s lifestyle for this unfortunate turn of events. His father died of colon cancer eight years ago and there’s a strong genetic component to the disease, if that’s what the biopsy reveals.

Every day, thousands of men fitter than Ford, some with ascetic or athletic lifestyles and strict diets, others who foreswear alcohol and drugs and burgers and fries, face the agonizing wait for biopsy results of abdominal tumours.

We get through our days by not thinking about these things, by trying to live in the moment and cherishing our health while we have it.

Only in that way can we outsmart fate.

For now, let’s send Ford our best wishes and hope he beats this — even if we hoped he’d get beaten by John Tory or Olivia Chow.