Why It's Time to Stop Comparing My Son With Leukemia to Others

Say what? Stop comparing? Isn’t that what it means to be human? We compare ourselves to others, our spouses to others and our kids to others, wondering who’s smarter, better looking or more advanced. You may sit there reading this and think you don’t, but it seems like everyone has one little nerve (or a thousand) inside them that compares. But today, today is the day we stop. Or at least make it right.

Jaclyn Nees's son

My son was diagnosed with leukemia when he was only 4 months old. As a first-time mom, his first four months were filled with concern on whether he was meeting his milestones. There was happiness when he did and delight when he was called advanced. But then he was diagnosed, and the world around me crumbled. His milestones came to a halt, and we were just excited when he made it through the day.

Fast forward to now, I have an amazing, smart and beautiful 2-year-old boy whose smile can light up a room and laughter can make you smile through tears, although he is small, unable to walk yet and doesn’t talk much.

People have been asking me for the past two years when he will turn a year old, and it used to pain me when I said he was 2. I used to feel everyone was judging my motherly skills, wondering how a 2-year-old couldn’t walk or talk yet. I used to watch other kids — 8 or 9 months old — just waddling along without any help and already saying five or six words. I used to talk to his doctors in tears wondering when it was going to be his turn. But with all things, all he needs is time.

That’s all anyone really needs, isn’t it? Time to grow. Time to heal. Time to prosper. Instead of wondering when he’s going to do these things and getting offended when people ask me if he’s 11 months, I proudly say he’s 2. We’re so lucky he’s here to be 2. So lucky he’s not cooped up in a hospital room, watching the days pass through a window. So lucky he’s here to continue his treatment (though it can aid in his delays) and to end it soon so he can finally grow, heal and prosper.

Everyone has a unique story so comparing is irrelevant. Comparing him to other kids is like apples to onions. Even kids going through the same thing aren’t comparable because they all experience different side effects. I would never compare myself to another mother, whether she’s cancer mom or not because everything we go through is different.

So, stop comparing. Cut yourself some slack. Cut your loved ones some slack. And love yourself and them with everything you got. Tomorrow is a blessing when you get to wake up in it.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Leukemia

My Fears as the Parent of a Child With Leukemia

Last night, I put my 2-year-old son to sleep as I often do. I turned out the light, turned on the sound machine and arranged all of his many blankets and pillows around him the way that he likes. My son lowered his head and snuggled in. Then suddenly, he shot up in bed and [...]

To the Superheroes in Scrubs I Didn’t Get to Thank While My Child Fought Cancer

My child’s three-year battle with infantile leukemia created a unique circumstance, introducing countless medical professionals into our lives. Some were mastermind doctors, but most were an assortment of wise nurses, therapists and other professionals who really make the worlds go round inside a pediatric hospital. On certain dark days, the only light a cancer mom [...]

Classmates Show Solidarity for Teen Cyber-Bullied for Her Illness

When a teen was bullied for having cancer, her classmates and the community didn’t hesitate to offer support. Nicole Pfister, 14, of Laredo, Texas, has a high risk form of leukemia, according to her Facebook support page. // Posted by Team Nicole on Friday, August 15, 2014   Two of Nicole’s classmates, her ex-boyfriend and his [...]

Construction Workers Leave Touching Message for Little Girl With Cancer

Vivian, 2, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia this past winter, and because of her compromised immune system, she has had to spend a lot of time in isolation at the hospital, USA Today reported. Ironworkers Travis Barnes and Greg Combs happened to be working on a construction project visible from Vivian’s ninth floor window at the St. Louis [...]