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  • Writer's pictureJulia Heck

Cancer Envy

We've all experienced it in some way (and likely hate ourselves for it) envy. The day you stop constantly comparing yourself to others, you sure do get a lot more out of your day-to-day life. Instead of focusing on what you do or don't have compared to others, focus on what your own goals are to have/not have.

Now, you're probably thinking, "cancer envy: that can't be a thing, she's just being dramatic". Well yes, I'm almost always dramatic, but cancer envy definitely is a real thing!


Since I've been diagnosed, I've been considered a "Stage IV Cancer Patient", and that's annoying. You know what else is annoying? That title will never go away, even if I reach my goal of being in remission.

I've been frustrated that I have cancer since the second I got diagnosed (who wouldn't be). In the beginning stages of my diagnosis, I used to constantly find myself thinking of the worst case scenario (like not living to see 2020). But now I've adjusted my thought process to think of the most likely/most probable outcome (living my whole, happy life and having to take medication regularly to ensure the cancer doesn't spread) and it's no where near the worst possible outcome. To be quite frank, I've never thought (for more than about a week) that cancer would literally kill me. This isn't the end of my story, but all outlets act like a Stage IV Cancer Diagnosis is a death sentence.

It's NOT.

We're all on a death sentence (even if you're a vegan body builder, who constantly takes vitamins and drinks green juice) and I hate that everyone who is going through cancer has that stigma in their head because it just makes everything that much worse. While there isn't a "cure", there is treatment that can help us slow down the progression of cancer and help us continue to live a "normal" and happy life.


While I don't believe this is a death sentence, there are days where I would kill to have Stage I, II or even Stage III Cancer. I would really kill to be a "previvor"(someone who has a BRCA mutation and gets a preventative mastectomy). I always think, "why did it have to be SO serious, when I first got diagnosed?" It's hard to cope with. And it's infuriating that if my insurance would've approved my genetic testing, I would've known I carried the gene sooner and likely wouldn't have had aggressive cancer when I first got tested.. But neither here nor there, I caught it when I did and there are the cards I have to play.

I often find that I get jealous, LITERALLY JEALOUS, of people who have early stages of cancer. How messed up is that?!

It's so easy to think about what life would be like if I was like them and got diagnosed in the early stages, how I would plan on dealing with that diagnosis, what I would do and how grateful I would be that I "caught it early".

But in all reality, there is no telling how I would be coping because I'm not going through that. I probably would be just as mad if I was a previvor, because I wouldn't be comparing it to the idea of Stage IV Cancer. I would be scared then, too! And I would probably be initially thinking, "do I NEED to do this surgery?". Here I go again with the "woulds"


I am gaining absolutely nothing by being jealous/angry that there are people who have early stages of cancer. So I find myself applying that to the rest of my life.

What am I ever gaining by being jealous of others (cancer related or not)? The answer is simple, I'm losing a hell of a lot more than I'm gaining.


I've got a lot to be thankful for, and sometimes I need to sit down and bring myself back to reality and remember how truly great life is:

-Sure, I got cancer and it's shitty, but I caught it before it spread to other places besides my liver.

-I am able to move home to be surrounded by family during this tough time.

-I don't have to take care of anyone except myself right now.

-I'm responding well to treatment.

-I can maintain a job while I'm going through treatment.

-I have VERY minimal side effects from chemotherapy.

I think in life, especially during hard times, it is so easy for us to get caught up in what we DON'T have and it becomes so toxic to our wellbeing because we aren't focusing on what we do have, that other's might even be envious of!

I felt so guilty for a while because I was envious of others with different types of cancer when I first got diagnosed, so I wanted to write about this for those of you who DO have cancer to let you know that it is okay to be jealous, but always bring yourself back to what you have that makes your journey, yours.

Times are tough people, but!



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