I believe that the true measure of a disease is what it steals from you.
The flu steals your energy, your vitality, your very essence, along with the ability to breath through your nose without drowning in snot. Actually, it only borrows these things for a few days. But those few days leave you physically bankrupt, living in the equivalent of a cardboard box on Skid Row. Incidentally, I highly recommend getting a flu shot every year.
Adult-onset diabetes is a mountain bandit, making frequent and random raids before disappearing back into the night. Oops, there goes your ability to have that slice of pie without worrying about your glucose numbers. Oh no, there goes your feeling of health independence — having to visit the doctor isn’t just one of those good ideas, it is a necessity. A dependence. Wait, there’s diabetes again, making off with your eyesight. But you were careful to defend yourself! You took your meds, you watched your diet, you did everything possible to fend off the bandit! But even the best defenses can be broken by this most determined of desperadoes…
Cancer is an armed robber, Glock 9mm in hand, bursting in when you least expected. There is no subtlety to him. Give me your health, NOW motherfucker! Open the goddamn register and hand me your hair! Now give me your skin quality, your appetite, and ANY fucking hope you had of a pain-free existence. Give me all your energy and then get on the floor NOW! If you’re lucky, maybe I’ll let you keep your life! Or maybe I’ll take that too! Because I’m the motherfucker with the gun!
That is what’s relevant about illness. Not the numbers or the lab values, not the specific diagnosis. It’s all about what they take from you. And how.