To those who say, ‘At least it’s not cancer’

No, I don’t have cancer, thankfully. I have been told I should be grateful it’s not cancer, many, many times over the years but I’ve often wished it actually was. Originally, it was thought that I had leukaemia and I was treated very, very differently.

But I don’t have cancer. Instead, have a lifelong autoimmune disease. Several, in fact.

To those who say, At least it's not cancer

Autoimmune diseases are where your immune system mistakes your tissue and cells as foreign and destroys them. In other words, my own body is raging a war against me.

In my case, my immune system is attacking my blood cells, my joints and connective tissues, my nerves, my gut, my skin, and probably several more that I have yet to discover as it is progressive. And to top it off, autoimmune disease does NOT have a cure.


So no, I don’t have cancer as we first thought. But if I did have cancer;

  • I would have a chance at a cure
  • I would have sympathy
  • I would receive better health care with specialist doctors. We don’t have an oncologist equivalent.
  • I would be able to see a Dr outside of Wales
  • My GP wouldn’t give up on me
  • An ambulance might actually turn up when I’m desperately in need of help
  • There would be charities to help me manage
  • There would be money available through charities to help me cope with the loss of my full-time income and increased costs of being ill
  • The chemo drugs that I’ve taken and suffered the side effects of for nearly a decade might have done me some good
  • I would have hope
  • I would have a better quality of life
  • I would be less likely to commit suicide. It’s the number one killer for many autoimmune diseases.


But I don’t have cancer. I have autoimmune disease that is slowly torturing me to death. My only cure is death! My only help are my immediate family.

This is discrimination.

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  1. Sheryl says:

    This is such a powerful piece that I couldn’t recommend enough. I believe it’s actually how majority of chronic illness patients feel.

    And just a note, having written similar type of articles before, this type of posts trigger the internet trolls and haters come out of the woodwork too. I just wanted to say I thought this was a fantastically articulated piece, and to keep up with sharing such insightful pieces.

    Have a pain free week ahead! 😊

    • Cathy says:

      I’m waiting for the trolls to come out. I just hope that they can see that I still don’t actually want cancer through choice and that is it nasty in its own right. My biggest annoyance is the discrimination that exists with different diseases. Right now cancer is ‘sexy’ but in another 10 years it could be something else. Ironically I even used to be a cancer researcher because it was so easy to get funding for cancer compared to other conditions. My actual interest was always inflammation but funding is hard to come by unless you couple it with a ‘sexy’ disease. I’ve seen it from all sides.

      • Chrley says:

        I posted this to my FB Fibromyalgia pages and they lit in on me. I tried to make them understand but people will only hear what they want to hear. I totally get it.

        • Cathy says:

          I’m sorry you had a bad reaction. I was braced for it but surprisingly I haven’t had anything but understanding comments. So far anyway!

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