Let me start of by saying, I am very happy I don’t have cancer. It’s a horrible disease and I don’t wish it on anyone. That being said, telling me “At least it’s not cancer” is not making me feel any better.
Fibromyalgia the mysterious disease
I live with Fibromyalgia, there’s not a whole lot known about the disease. We have recently found out that it’s a progressive neuro-disease. At least that’s what they think now. It changes about every year, because the fact is, they really don’t know. It’s mysterious and there is no cure.
I am in pain every single day, the pain travels through my body. I never know how bad it’s gonna be, where it’s gonna show up or if I’m even able to function at all.
With fibromyalgia comes the fibro fog, or brain fog. That means that it feels like there is a thick fog in my brain preventing me to think clearly. Or even find the simplest of words, in any laguage for that matter (I speak three on a daily basis)
Next to my Fibromyalgia I have been diagnosed with Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s disease (both autoimmune thyroid disorders), Celiac disease and Raynauds disease (both autoimmune as well). They say when you have one autoimmune disease, more will follow. Why is that though?
Many vague symptoms
Prior to being diagnosed with any of my conditions I had a long list of vague symptoms that didn’t seem to correlate to eachother. The first thing they test for is cancer. It’s the most well known disease that can show itself in different ways.
Along with a bunch of other test, including general autoimmune (ANA) test they came back. All your test results are negative. You are the picture of perfect health.
People around me were relieved. “At least it’s not cancer”. While I was relieved I didn’t have cancer, I still did’t know why I felt so ill all the time.
At the young age of 19, after 3 years of being tested on a range of things without any results, this one came back positive. I had Graves’ disease. It was so extreme and in such far stages, that my main symptom (being out of breath) was caused by the strain on my heart.
At the age of 19 I was rushed into the heart monitor room because they were afraid I could have a heart attack at any moment.
But at least it’s not cancer, right?
The way to treat Graves’ disease back then, is to give you some type of chemo therapy, to slow your thyroid down. By the way chemo therapy is also used on patients with Lupus, RA and other autoimmune conditions as a treatment option.
A decade later
Fast forward a decade and some. The Graves’ disease is in remission, yay! I’ve gotten all the new diagnosis I’ve mentioned above. But also a msyterious new thing that is making me loose weight, fast. Very fast!
Even though I eat plenty, I keep loosing weight. Again they have done a lot of test, tested for cancer again. All clear. “At least it’s not cancer” someone says to me. Uhm that’s all nice and all, but I am loosing weight so rapidly that my organs are now in danger of failling. And they can’t figure out why.
“At least it’s not cancer” is again not making me feel any better.
6 months go by, and I weigh 45kg/99 lbs and I am 1.73cm/5 feet 7 I am very very underweight. Finally they figure out I have a bacteria causing all my issues and the road to recovery can begin. Yet again
What does the future hold?
At this point in time I think I have all my autoimmune issues and other health stuff under control. They are chronic, meaning they will never go away. The furture is uncertain, because we simply don’t know how my issues will progess with time.
I have new undiagnosed issues, like my teeth dissolving from the inside out. No idea why that is happening, but we’re trying to treat it.
I concider myself very lucky that I don’t have cancer. That is a fact. It’s also not what the article is about. My point is, there are things that are just as bad and deadly as cancer. And things that need to be treated the same way as cancer. The diagnosis “not cancer” isn’t always a good one. Please remember that when you tell your friend next time “At least it’s not cancer”