Half way there on Day 15 of WEGO’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge! Today’s prompt is to pick someone else’s blog post and comment on it, linking it back and sharing the love.
I’m venturing out of my “condition” today and sharing a post by Carolyn Thomas@Heart Sisters. She has an excellent–and very colorful–website focusing on heart disease. Frankly, even though both of my grandfathers died of cancer (lung and kidney) and my dad has had two bouts of bladder cancer, heart disease has tended to be of greater immediate concern in my family than the Big C. My grandmother had a heart attack at 86 (and is still going strong at 93), but her mother died of a heart attack at 44 and one of her sisters at 78. A close first cousin of my mother died of a heart attack when he was 40 and my mom’s sister had to have heart surgery in the last 5 years. My mother-in-law unfortunately died of congestive heart failure, as well. Protecting the heart seemed of more immediate concern and I educated myself about heart disease and prevention, rather than cancer.
Carolyn’s post last week on ‘Healthy Privilege’–when you just can’t imagine being sick was spot on. I felt ‘healthy privilege’ up until I turned 41 and the next month tore my ACL. According to the definition by Dr. Ann Becker-Schutte:
“Healthy people enjoy the privilege of bodies that work in the ways that they expect, free from regular pain or suffering, without extraordinary effort.
“Healthy privilege allows healthy people to assume that their experience is ‘normal’, and to be unaware that coping strategies that work for them will not work for someone dealing with illness.”
I rehabbed after tearing my ACL, returning to the privileged side and that comfortable cocooned world I had previously inhabited. However, my coping strategies were not prepared for the shock of having my world turned upside down with my breast cancer diagnosis nearly 3 years later.
The one good thing about having my healthy privileges yanked from my life is that I now have empathy and understanding of the struggles that people go through with all sorts of medical issues, not just breast cancer. Maybe this actually gives us going through major health issues an advantage, an advantage of insight. And with advantage comes privilege…and with privilege, responsibility?
Thanks, Carolyn, for a great post!