Saturday, June 1, 2013

someone has it worse

sometimes i feel bad because my greatest obstacle for the day is when i think i'm pouring ketchup onto my plate but it has separated in the bottle and tomato water has landed there instead (so gross). i then have to wipe it up before it touches any of my food and this is a major annoyance for me. some days (honestly, most days) minor irritations such as this are the only things that have gone wrong. then i hear about someone else's day (honestly, anybody else's day) and they typically have something vastly more strenuous that they've got going on in their lives. be it a mother in-law that they don't get along with, a hard workday that will carry on to tomorrow, miscarriage, or kids who aren't appreciative. someone hates their job but is stuck because they have mouths to feed. or maybe their daily commute to work is so long that they don't have time for their friends. how about people who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and don't know any other way than the one they were born into.

about a month ago a cute little five year old boy came in for a CT scan of his chest to see if his cancer  had spread to his lungs. in a stroller his grandma swiftly pushed him down the hallway towards the examination room making a windy path. full of life and energy, the kid laughed and seemed like he was having the time of his life. once he got into the scanner he was terrified and uncooperative (but you can't blame the little guy, it's a big scary machine). i looked at his prior imaging to see what kind of cancer he had or what he'd already been through. he'd had far more exams done than any five year old should have to endure. it turns out that he had sarcoma (a malignant cancer) in his knee. once we got his scan done, i showed him some images of his chest. kids think it's really cool to see the insides of their bodies (hell, adults think so too! at least this one [points at self] thinks it's pretty damn cool). i pointed some things out to him, "this is your heart! looks it's so big! you must have a lot of love! and these are your lungs..that's how you breathe." then in his cute, high pitched little voice, he said "yeah i saw a picture of my leg before. but they said i have to make my leg smaller." this is how his parents explained to him that they had to amputate his leg up to above the area of the sarcoma. this brought an instant sadness to myself and my coworkers who were fortunate enough to meet this brave little guy. it's really unfair that someone who's just barely starting their life has to go through such a drastic change that will alter his life from that moment on. it's really unfair that his parents have to watch their son take a different road than the one they envisioned for him. one where he'll be seen and treated differently by his peers. not to mention one where they'll have to keep an eye out for a recurrence. it truly broke my heart and i couldn't can't get the thought of him out of my head.

it's humbling to hear other people's concerns, especially if you take the time to recognize what their struggles are compared to what your struggles are. this is not to say that whatever you struggle with has been demoted to nothing, but someone out there has it worse. it might be different, it might be the same. but someone somewhere out there is living with a situation that is comparable or even more detrimental. i think it's important to be aware of other's lives and to know that everybody has something that they're dealing with. on days where ketchup water is my biggest concern, i feel guilty for not having a harder life but this also makes me grateful for the life that i've been given. whatever you're dealing with, someone has it harder. keep that in mind and your life may not seem so terrible. it's all relative to what you make it relative to.

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