The Silent Spring: It’s unconscionable

Once a cancer patient, always a cancer patient. I’m almost 10 years cancer free – my 10-year anniversary is October 2, but I am still a patient of The Piedmont Cancer Institute and have an annual follow-up with my oncologist.  It was, therefore, distressing to receive a letter from the Institute advising me that all their patients’ personal information and medical histories had been compromised. The letter encouraged us to place fraud alerts and security freezes on our credit files. The letter was well worded and included an apology. But after spending some time in several credit agencies’ voice mail systems this morning, I am more than upset.

It’s unconscionable. We’ll never know whether a laptop was stolen from an employee’s trunk or even from their home – something that can happen to anyone; we’ll never know whether the “unauthorized individual” in the incident was an employee or a hacker; we’ll never really know anything. And not that it matters. What does matter is that some very sick people are now having to take time out from getting well to focus on identity theft. It’s not easy having cancer. Chemo and radiation are strenuous treatments and many people during the pandemic do not have the family or community support that I had.

Shame on whoever has caused this extra stress on cancer patients. It’s unconscionable and unfair. But life’s unfair, which is why some of us get cancer to start with. Life is unfair, which is why some people have lost their homes recently in wildfires or hurricanes. Life is unfair, which is why some people have caught the coronavirus. Yes, life is unfair – there’s no denying it. I send good thoughts to all those who need extra good thoughts this week. I’m sorry you are going through this and I hope the sun comes out tomorrow.

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