I had cancer and it sucked. There is no denying that. However, I have had so many amazing opportunities that would never have happened if I hadn't been diagnosed.
I was a week out from treatment when I read a blog post by a girl who had a different type of disease. I respected and was so proud of the fact that she could talk about her journey in such a passionate and sophisticated way. I, who at the time was struggling with talking about what had happened throughout my treatment, was truly inspired by how open she was and how she expressed her feelings in such an amazing way. That was until, she wrote about how she was annoyed when someone had said "at least it's not cancer". She went on to say how her disease is worse and that cancer is only temporary.
Firstly, (if you are unaware) cancer is not temporary.
I was treated with intensive chemotherapy for over nine months.
I had steroids and different medicines that would make me vomit, have high fevers and have such an ulcerated mouth that I couldn't eat let alone speak due to being in such excruciating pain. I am now on maintenance (oral) chemotherapy, which I will be on for a total of sixteen months. I go in to hospital for monthly check ups (I have done this since June 2016 and will be doing this for another year and a half). I have yearly lumbar-punctures and bone marrow aspirates and will keep seeing my oncologist for an upwards of five years.
When I get bruises, which is extremely often, I tense up a little and think about the possible (and unlikely) chance of relapse. When I smell hand-sanitiser that smells like the stuff they used to access my port I want to cry and when I see a chocolate sundae I think of Ceren,one of my closest friends who lost her battle with cancer. I know a young boy who had a brain tumor and due to complications with his surgery, he had a stroke. He had to relearn such basic movements and stuff we take for granted. (Gabe is now walking and kicking butt!!)
Cancer is something that is always in the back of my mind.
After having a disease like this, I have so much knowledge but also appreciation for kids and adults and their ability to bounce back after a diagnosis. Whether it be cancer or any other illness, I notice how extraordinary and unstoppable they are. Yet, why do people feel as though they should compare diseases? I remember sitting in a conference and a lady behind me referring my cancer as "the common cold of cancers"
...I mean come on, my diagnosis may have been 'better', but treatment was hard. It wasn’t like I could just blow my nose a couple of times.
I am aware that cancer kids get make a wishes and lots of funding but we also get hair loss, pain and so many other side effects that can actually be irreversible. Why can't we all support each other? Not just patients who have cancer but patients with other diseases. Afterall, we are the ones who know what it’s like to struggle through bad days and triumph through the good.
So yes, your disease may be permanent. But instead of comparing two completely different illnesses together, lets appreciate how strong and capable we all are. Hand in hand, let's beat this together
and try to find a cure or a fix for every disease out there.