We’ve all had this chat, right? Not that we ever start it. It’s usually with someone whose only health complaint is seasonal hay fever! Well here is my experience of it…
Not long after my diagnosis of EDS, an acquaintance felt some weird obligation to impart her worldly advice on me. The thing is, she has absolutely no knowledge of my condition and seems pretty ignorant regarding chronic illness in general. In fact, I would go as far to say as she formed this judgement (under the guise of advice) purely on her degree in being an utter fuck nugget and liking the sound of her own voice. She was “frustrated” for me on the basis that I was so negative about life. Her only comparison to my situation was her friend with terminal cancer. Because EDS and terminal cancer are absolutely comparable. You know, like aeroplanes and… fucking… dog shite:
“For example, one of my best friends has terminal cancer and I’m in Australia. Every day she posts the most inspiring and positive things and even though she is in so much pain, she makes herself feel great by trying to achieve things that cancer prevents her from doing.” – RDB
There is no easy way to say this, and I will look like an asshole. Heck, I have 27 years’ experience of being called an asshole, so I’m not going to stop now. I wonder if her friend is dead now. I hope she is still battling and making the most of every minute with her loved ones. It must be unimaginably awful. I’m going to guess that given the “terminal” diagnosis, she hasn’t made a miraculous recovery. And that’s where the difference is. Her friend had a battle with cancer. It was going to kill her and she sort of knew what to expect. It’s not okay and I wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone. But I didn’t ask to be compared to this woman, did I?
I have a war, for the rest of my (average expectancy) life with this stupid illness. I worry that I’ll never be able to have a family – this is so important to me. When the day comes that I get married, will I be able to walk down the aisle? Will we even be able to afford a wedding or will I just be a mammoth financial drain forever more? We’ve already hit the point that I need a wheelchair. Will my partner have to wipe my bum in years to come? Do I really have 50 years left living in this pain? Am I going to have 50 years of morons like her implying I should be grateful that I don’t have cancer? If so, I might be looking at a period of jail time. 50 years of loneliness. 50 years of feeling worthless. Sounds like a hoot.
We should all appreciate every day that we wake up and we don’t have cancer and we should all show empathy for those who are affected by it. We should also be grateful for everyday we wake up and a jet engine hasn’t crashed through our bedroom window or we haven’t been eaten by a tiger that escaped from the zoo. We shouldn’t, however, use cancer to signify 10/10 bad on the “how woeful are your woes” scale BECAUSE LIFE ISN’T THAT SIMPLE. There is a great deal of (absolutely necessary) support in place for people with certain diagnosis, especially ones that will drastically shorten your life. There isn’t just a whole lot of support for people who have an incurable, chronic illness that can leave you utterly crippled physically, emotionally and financially. But it’s not cancer, so we aren’t allowed to complain.
I fucking hate her.