This woman did a beautiful job communicating something that I've experienced..... hearing "at least it's not cancer" can be indicative of just how little people understand the spectrum of disease. We have a culture that gathers around those with cancer as they undergo treatment, with a motto that we're fighting cancer! But how do we react when someone knows they won't get to remission, and cancer becomes a chronic illness that they live with? I dont know the answer as I don't have cancer.
What I do know is that we tend to ostracize those with serious chronic illness because there is no end goal. The illness waxes and wanes, and people grow tired of the illness pattern (heck, I'm sick of it too!). We push people away knowingly or unknowingly even as they undergo the same treatments as cancer patients, because we don't understand the magnitude of the disease. Let's face it, who could understand what it's like unless they've lived it?! An analogy.... how do you explain natural childbirth to someone who has never experienced it?
I've had my fair share of minimizing and disbelief from other people, even those closest to me. I've been a part of communities that have rallied for those undergoing cancer treatments, yet have never spoken a word to me. And this is what I've learned....
Never minimize the suffering of others. Those in pain are worthy of support, not judgment. I've endured enough judgment for a lifetime. That said, it's been a beautiful teacher as I've finally learned to let go of the opinions of others and walk God's path.