The C-Word

My illness is not terminal, and every single day of my life I am grateful for that. (…) You are relieved I am not dying. I am, too. But when did cancer become the standard by which we judge every illness? When did we reduce every illness to two categories: cancer, and not cancer? I read these in The Mighty and they really resonated with me.


Cancer vs no cancer.

After having been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, there was one particular sentence I hard from most people. Friends, blog follower, family and even my parents – almost everyone, at a given time, uttered the words “At least it isn’t cancer“. 

Cancer. Krebs. Cancro. It has become to be known as the “C-Word”, as if you shouldn’t say it, as if just whispering the word is contagious. Cancer, the disease that takes so many people daily. Cancer, the evil impersonated.

I also have lost a few people to cancer. My Tante Renate died of cancer 6 years ago. I had the chance to spend a year with her after her diagnosis. I lost a year of my education, literally, when I was supposed to be in Erasmus in Vienna. And I don’t regret it one bit, because I got to know her, really know her, as a person and not just “my father’s sister”. Almost two years ago my uncle, her husband, lost his life. He had a type of blood cancer. If I hadn’t moved to Vienna in 2014, I wouldn’t have valuable moment with him, memories I will forever cherish.

I know first hand what cancer can do. I know how many faces it has and I know the fear it spreads. But in spite of this all, I do not think we should compare cancer to everything. Cancer is cancer and fibro is fibro. Sure, there is a cure for cancer and there’s not (yet) a cure for fibro. So what? Does that mean it would be better to have cancer? We would discuss the pros and cons here for hours. I could give you thousands of examples as to why (my) chronic illnesses are better or worse than cancer. 

But if you want me to be real here? Comparing two illnesses is stupid, insane and daft! Alone the fact that no two people in the world are the same, already shows there is no comparison to two diseases. Do you want to know what is really sick? To think “wow, I’d much rather have disease XXX than have disease XXX!”

I would rather be healthy and not have to suffer of any disease! 

We need to stop comparing ourselves to each other! We need to stop wishing we could trade an illness for another! We should be supporting each other, helping each other, being there for each other! Regardless of what fucking disease we or the other person have. Diseases are bad, no matter which! If it’s chronic or not, if there’s already a cure or not – stop comparing yourselves to each other! Each and every one of us is unique and so is every illness out there. WE are our word enemies, that should be clear by now.

Be there for each other, it’s so much easier when we’re together. Regardless if we’re sick or not, together the path does not seem so long and hard. 


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