At Least You Don’t Have Cancer

I’ve actually heard these words, multiple times, “At least you don’t have cancer.” With absolutely no disrespect intended to those who have struggled with cancer, I must admit that there are many times when I have thought having cancer would, on several levels, be no more challenging than living with multiple, chronic illnesses.

Like those with cancer, I have been prescribed toxic chemotherapy medications, both oral and infused. Like those with cancer, I’ve endured all of the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy: crushing fatigue, nausea, and hair loss.

Unlike some of those more fortunate individuals who have successfully treated cancer, I have never heard my physician inform me that I no longer have any of my chronic illnesses.

Nor will I ever have that possibility. Trust me, I am not minimizing the significance of being diagnosed with any form of cancer. I’m just trying to highlight that many individuals with chronic illnesses are prescribed the very same toxic medications for their diseases. They endure the same life-altering side effects.

However, those with chronic illness are “successful” if their symptoms are stabilized, as opposed to completely eradicated. In addition, I have never seen a community fundraiser organized for someone dealing with chronic illness.

There are frequently multiple such events advertised for those impacted by cancer. Just some thoughts from a woman who has been living with several chronic illnesses, for decades.

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