Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Stop Comparing

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I quickly learned every person's cancer is different - even if they have the same diagnosis. (This is why it is so hard to treat.) I learned not to compare myself to anyone else. In every support group, even if we had the same diagnosis, we learned how different all are.

I get this. We are all different. We can't compare our cancers to each other.

But.... why do I keep comparing my rheumatoid arthritis to others? I have to stop comparing myself. My mother has had RA since 1989 and a friend (exact same age as me) has had RA since the early 2000's. Their differences are striking. My mother was diagnosed when they only treated RA when it became symptomatic so she has many of the deformities and issues common among patients treated according to the old standards. But her health is much more stable than mine. My friend has had RA and has very few problems. Until she retired (for non-health reasons), she worked full time including much business travel and long days.

Me? I struggle with fatigue, pain, and more fatigue and more pain. How did I get to be so special? I try not to compare myself with my friend but I do.

As medical diagnoses go, everyone is unique. It doesn't matter if three people have the exact same diagnosis but because of their genetic make up, medical history, and other issues, each is unique. No two are alike (boy am I glad I am not a doctor trying to cure people). And everyone interprets everything different. Some people might be distressed by a little nausea and others may not think it significant.

The lesson that I need to better learn is that I need to stop comparing myself to anyone else's medical stuff. I am unique and so is everyone else. I just need to focus on this life lesson. I think I will stop whining as much if I did. Everyone else will appreciate that part.

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