After Hillary Clinton remained on the campaign trail for several days during her recent bout with pneumonia before finally taking a few days off to rest, feminists and other like-minded people referred to what she did as “powering through.” These people say that women, unlike men, do this all the time, and it demonstrates the fact that women have more inner strength than men do. However, had anyone said that men have more of any positive quality than women do, it would have been considered a sexist remark. That’s just one example of the crazy double standards that our society tolerates.
Besides, the statement is not really true. Men can “power through” too, and I have done it quite often. I can offer several examples from my own life as proof. I don’t like to emphasize the medical issues that I have overcome. That’s because I’d rather be known for something prestigious. However, I not have not only overcome those issues, but I have “powered through” them while I endured them. When I was growing up, I suffered from asthma that was often debilitating. I had several very serious attacks that sent me to the hospital. But there were other times when the attacks were almost as serious that I just continued on with life as normal and didn’t tell anyone. I was able to hide it so well that very few people other than my mother could tell. I sat in school many a day when I could barely breathe. I also did homework in that condition.
When I was 20, my left lung collapsed on me in consecutive months. The first time it happened, I walked to the hospital from my doctor’s office after he diagnosed the problem. The lung was only partially collapsed that time. During my stay at the hospital, the surgeon re-inflated my lung, and I was sent home a few days later with a clean bill of health. But then it completely collapsed the following month. That time, after calling my doctor to describe my symptoms, I walked to the hospital from my home, which was about a mile and one half away. The doctors and nurses were shocked that I had walked in. One of them told me that most people in my condition would have been brought in on a stretcher.
I have survived Stage 3 cancer twice. In 1995, at the age of 34, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After surgery and three hard months of chemotherapy, I was declared cancer-free. In 2007, at the age of 46, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. Once again, I needed surgery and chemotherapy. This time, the treatments lasted for six months. But I went back to work as soon as I had healed from my surgery and continued to work though my treatment process except on the one day every two weeks when I took my chemo. When my treatments were completed, I was again declared free of cancer. I thank God that I am alive today and in pretty good health (based on the results of my latest checkup, at least).
But I’m not going to let anyone tell me that women are the only humans who can "power through" various illnesses. I know firsthand that’s not true.