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12 Ways the Movie '50/50' Got Illness Right

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As most people with chronic illness, I have a deep appreciation for Netflix. Drawn in by the pairing of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anna Kendrick, I recently watched the movie “50/50.”

I was expecting it to be enjoyable but I didn’t expect it to be so relatable. I have never had cancer but I have been embedded in the medical system for the past 17 years, having type 1 diabetes and myasthenia gravis. There were so many moments in the film that made me cry out, “Yes! That’s exactly right!” that I had to start making a list. Here it is:

1. Callous doctors will forget that you are a person and not just a fascinating body part.

2. Anxiety before significant appointments will make it hard to sleep the night before.

3. The normal niceties of the hospital environment seem out of step with the bizarre treatments and choices presented to you. What is momentous for the patient is routine for the health care professionals.

4. The endless hours sitting on the couch, or laying in bed as you wait for your body to smarten up, feel tedious.

5. The face in the mirror can create shock, revulsion or anger.

6. Other people sometimes use your illness to get what they need out of life.

7. Regardless of the fact that your life is literally falling apart, you still have to endure the mundane necessities of life – like taking the bus to and from painful, exhausting treatments.

8. Having sex becomes very tricky. You don’t want to ruin it for the other person, or make it awkward, but sometimes that’s just how it is.

9. You’re able to hold it together 99 percent of the time, but then you randomly explode emotionally.

10. Everyone around you wants to ignore the scary parts. You hear, “It’ll all be OK… take it one day at a time. You’re young and strong… you’ve got this.” When what you really need is for people to recognize the reality of how you live.

11. You do become friends with the people you have regular treatments with, and you worry that they’ve died if they don’t show up one day.

12. You forge new relationships and deepen preexisting ones. You find love.

Follow this journey on 8 to 10 Jelly Beans.

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Photo courtesy of 50/50 Facebook page

Originally published: March 10, 2017
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