It’s Cancer, Not A Competition

Black Lettering Erica Cook Quote On A White Background

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While I haven’t been a member of this club for very long, I can say that one day in it is one day too many.  Each day, I do learn something new, whether it be practical information about the disease or the treatment of it or people and their reactions to a disease that seems to have impacted everyone in some way, shape, or form.  I find the latter more interesting and am becoming a quick study of both.

I have been extraordinarily fortunate to have been the recipient of so many kind words and gestures since joining this club, and I also have been surprised at how some people, those with and without club membership, seem to treat this as some sort of competition.  The only thing I am competing for is my life and being restored to good health, and I would be thrilled if each and every one of us gets out of this club together and that no-one else ever joins it.  I guess, it is human nature, though, to compete, especially in a selfie driven, #mylifeisbetterthanyourlife world that has evolved.  I thought people would ban together to fight the common enemy of cancer, though, as I never imagined that one-upmanship would be part of the fight.  Confused?  Allow me to explain.

As some people have shared stories of people they know who have battled cancer or relayed their own combat stories, I have heard such comments as these:

At least, you only have breast cancer, instead of (fill in the blank) cancer.  You got the good kind of cancer.

I know someone who had a worse prognosis than you have, so, you’re lucky.

Wow-my friend had breast cancer, but she didn’t have to have chemo and radiation. She got off easier than you did.

Oh, you didn’t have a double mastectomy?  It must not be that bad then.

My (fill in the blank) had cancer, and they were so (fill in the blank with brave, strong, or positive).  You shouldn’t let this get to you.

You are dealing with this better than (fill in the blank).

I try to give these people the benefit of the doubt that they mean well when they say such things, and perhaps, I am being overly sensitive.  Regardless of their intentions or my emotional state, I just stay in my own lane and am not interested in competing with anyone else.  I have no desire to be the poster child for the perfect breast cancer patient, nor do I wish to be a breast cancer martyr.  I understand that someone else always has it better or worse than I do, and their state doesn’t affect my health and well-being.  The only thing I want to compete against and beat is breast cancer, and I will.

That’s another story.  . .


Categories: That's Another Story

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6 replies

  1. As one who found out I was part of this club just 4 weeks ago I have already heard and read similar comments to what you shared. Your post is more than just timely for me. I go for my cancer consult Monday.

    • I am sorry that you have found yourself in this club, and just know, you have a friend in me. It’s surreal, isn’t it?! I look forward to both of us triumphing over this.

      • It is, very much so. I have 2 brothers with the same cancer, one almost at the same stage as mine, one with advanced gone in to other organs. With one brother and me there is hope for the cancer to be eliminated with my other brother they will keep him alive as long as they can. My family has a history of cancer, sadly. My mother, brother, cousin and uncles died from various types of cancer.

      • I am so sorry to hear that cancer has been battled by you and your family. I am sending you all may positive and healing thoughts, and I will pray for your brother. This club sucks. . .

      • You are very kind and very sweet. I will be praying for you as well all who are fighting cancer should be reaching out and helping each other in our fight.

      • I agree and am glad that our paths have crossed. May we all support each other and get out of this club sooner than later.

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