When he was around the same age as I am now, my old man got sick, and no one could figure out what was wrong. He went and saw a handful of different doctors, and then a handful of different specialists. He was subjected to a handful of different tests, including a bone marrow test, the description of which still lingers horrifyingly in my brain. He was getting sick all the time, and was tired all the time. Eventually one of those specialists lucked upon the correct test and he was diagnosed with chronic idiopathic neutropenia. Since that diagnosis - and I'm assuming the subsequent treatment - it has had no bearing on his life whatsoever.
Before you ask, I've already been tested for it. I don't have it.
When I think about being sick now, it's always in the context of cycling, and the question is always a relatively simple one: Will I be able to keep doing it? The lack of a definitive answer is the only difficult thing. When my dad got sick the context was broader, the questions more difficult. At that time he had a wife and four children under ten, all four of whom could be described as a handful. In the time before his diagnosis I'm sure he knew the illness wasn't killing him, but it was leaving him incapacitated, incapable to work. How could he care for his family if he wasn't able to do his job? How could he continue to support those dependent on him? What the hell was he going to do now?
Eventually, of course, he didn't have to answer any of these questions. He was able to go on doing his job and raising his family. I'm not bringing it up here to garner sympathy for the bloke, but rather to provide some context for me. Because sometimes I need a handful of context.