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I’ve heard people with sarcoidosis say that they would rather have cancer. I wouldn’t. I’ve never had cancer but I know people who have and, it’s a horrible frightening journey to watch. I know, I think, why people say they wish that they had cancer instead of sarcoidosis. In some desperate way, what I believe they are saying is that at least there are known treatments for it. There is also a general understanding about what it is. Everyone, one way or another, can relate to cancer because its reach is far and wide. Having sarcoidosis is both lonely and complicated because there is no known cause or cure. It’s rare and wildly misunderstood. It’s an invisible illness…unlike cancer. Nothing about sarcoidosis is predictable but if you think about it, cancer can be unpredictable too and once you’ve had it, even if you go in remission, it hangs over your head. In this regard, it’s really not that much different than sarcoidosis.

While it’s frustrating to have a condition for which little is understood by the general medical community, it’s a disease I have come to know a great deal about and I have found that being educated about my disease has been the key to learning to live with it. In some strange way, I find this a comfort. There is power in knowledge even when that knowledge is unpleasant. I also have come to realize that being sick, having any disease, just plain stinks and it doesn’t matter if it’s cancer or sarcoidosis or something else. It’s all relative, really.

Comparing apples and oranges is a waste of my already limited energy. I have sarcoidosis so it’s this disease that I must learn to live with…day by day…hour by hour. This is the monster that lives inside of me. This is the cross I have been asked to bear. This is the life that I live. I struggle for breath. I cough. I ache. I wheeze. I shuffle in pain. I am uncertain about my future. I am alone in my journey. There is something about having a chronic condition that is very lonely. I liken it to a death. Everyone is around in the beginning, offering condolences and kind words but eventually everyone slowly disappears as they return to their ordered lives, leaving you alone in the chaos of your grieve. It’s a journey without end until the end. Wishing it were cancer instead of sarcoidosis, is a wasted wish, a foolish wish, an unhelpful wish. There is nothing good about cancer. There is nothing good about sarcoidosis expect that this is the devil I know… so at least I know the devil I must fight.

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