I read an article today about Cancer and the ways in which people get it wrong when talking to people with Cancer. It got me thinking…. I have a sickness, its serious, it will shorten my life, it affects my ability to conceive, my ability to breast feed, it robs me of many opportunities on a daily basis; yet no one talks about it….ever!
Its not a well  known disease, its doesn’t sound scary, it doesn’t have a lot of outward signs or symptoms. It doesn’t get a lot of coverage in the media. It doesn’t even really get acknowledged as a life affecting disease, but it is!
I wonder is this because it doesn’t sound scary? Or because it doesn’t look scary? I don’t know and honestly I don’t care, because let’s face it a disease that affects daily life in may complex and varied ways. Yet if I say I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis the standard response from many people has been… Well at least you don’t have Cancer. What that’s my alternative? Cancer? like you’re sick but its ok because it’s not Cancer? Do you see how ignorant that sounds just reading that statement? Cos it felt very ignorant bearing the brunt of people saying it.
No I don’t have Cancer, I have an autoimmune disease, its life affecting, it may kill me and it makes the simplest daily activities difficult beyond words. But all of that is irrelevant because I don’t have Cancer? Gee thanks for the pep talk jackass!
Sorry if I sound enraged, funnily enough that’s one of the myriad symptoms of my illness. Rage, depression, extreme lethargy, shortness of breath, nervousness, intolerance to cold and heat, dry skin, hair that’s falls out in clumps so much that I worry I may have bald patches soon, joint and muscle pain, weight gain, difficulty losing weight, a puffy face, should I keep going or have you heard enough so far?
This is a disease that once you have it increases your chances of more autoimmune  diseases such as Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and a whole bunch of other fun illnesses too. Yet when I say I have it people blow it off because you know it’s not Cancer. Now don’t get me wrong I’m stoked I don’t have Cancer, believe me I have enough to deal with already with my health.  But the next person who diminishes my lifelong illness as less important because thank god it’s not Cancer will feel the wrath of a person with extreme rage and believe me it won’t be pleasant!
I am writing this in the hope that me person might read and think twice before diminishing someone’s experience of a really serious illness because its not only hurtful it’s thoughtless and ignorant.