I is for Illness Causing Death

One of the compelling reasons to know your parentage is to be able to examine their medical history.  If they have a disease or health issue it could be passed on to future generations.  My father, Linden, died aged 53 of a heart attack.  His father died aged 39 from the same thing.  I often wondered if the heart condition could be passed on to me or my children.  Now I was interested to discover Ted Turner’s cause of death.  My “niece” Denise told me the family legend was that he had died from cancer caused by a war wound.  No-one in the family could tell me what sort of cancer it was.

I sent away for Ted’s death certificate which thanks to modern technology can be obtained in five minutes for around $25.  The cause of death was quite intriguing. The cancer was a fibrosarcoma of the left axilla (armpit), a condition he had been diagnosed with  for 18 months. For the last ten days of his life he had cachexia and terminal broncho pneumonia.

This diagnosis led me to the internet to find out exactly what these words meant.  A sarcoma is a cancer that develops from certain tissues like a bone or muscle.  Adult fibrosarcoma usually affects the fibrous tissue in the legs, arms, or trunk.  Reading Ted’s diary I found that he suffered a war wound to the right upper arm and shrapnel had remained in his body for the previous thirty years.  However the cancer was in the left armpit according to the death certificate.  Had it metastacised to the other side of his body?

Cachexia is seen in people with cancer and is basically a wasting syndrome with loss of weight, muscle atrophy, fatigue, weakness and loss of appetite.  Bronchopneumonia is inflammation of the lung and bronchi (the air passages that feed into the lungs).  

As Ted died in July it would have been winter in Mildura.  His cancer was obviously seriously affecting his health by then and the bronchopneumonia would have been the last straw.

Me at 11 months old

I wonder did he see me or even know of my existence before he died?  I would have been 15 months old.


8 thoughts on “I is for Illness Causing Death

  1. Hari OM
    Yes, the key reason for DNA research, methinks… it is sad to read of Ted’s diagnosis (as it would be any with such). The community would not have been so large back then so it is quite possible he ‘saw’ you – not necessarily knowing the connection. That’s assuming the same veil of anonymity applied to sperm donorship as does today. YAM xx

    Liked by 1 person

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