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stupid relatives

abbimom's picture
abbimom
Posts: 81
Joined: Sep 2010

So I really need to vent. Went to visit the in laws. My father in law started talking about his friend who has stage IV cancer so me trying to show him that people could make it through that said that my cancer was stage IV (He lives far away so he did not see me during my treatments). Then he proceeds to tell me that my cancer was not stage IV because it did not spread. So then I was trying to explain to him that is did spread to many lymphnodes in my neck. My husband is lucky I love him because I just let it go. But I"m still really pissed about this. How dare someone tell me what type of cancer I had. He thinks he know everything he is just a selfish jerk. People have no idea what we go through and especially having oral cancer that our problems don't end after treatment. I still want to punch the man in the face. I couldn't believe that he was actually arguing with me about what cancer I had. I think I know loser. Anyone else have relatives who think that know so much that they know more than you? I really wish I would've told him off. At least I'm at home now and won't see or talk to him again for at least 6 months. I really want to say something to him but I don't know what to say that won't include using curse words and minor violence (just kidding, maybe not) How do you deal with ignorant people.
Linda Simon

train-nut
Posts: 101
Joined: Jun 2008

Dad for your information on cancer. Next time I visit I'd like to see your Doctor of Medicine degree and license. Bet the whole family will be interested.

adventurebob's picture
adventurebob
Posts: 691
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi Linda,
I ask to use their bathroom and then pee on their toothbrush.

Bob

Hal61's picture
Hal61
Posts: 656
Joined: Dec 2009

(I like Bob's answer better than mine.)
Hi Linda, I basically do it like you, and steam about it later. I never expect people to be thoughtless, so am still taken by surprise most of the time when it happens. I've tried to train myself to react slowly and with my head when such things are said to me, the answer being, "I think I know what kind of cancer I had, d*****s," in an even voice.

You're right though, it's not about you and your history of cancer, it's simply a statement about the person, and if you can be sage about it, nothing is always a clever answer. I read once that one of the definitions of wisdom is the ability to listen to the most outrageous BS without losing either you temper or self confidence.

It would be nice though, if those people oould be tagged early on, genetically, and barred from reproducing.

best, Hal

abbimom's picture
abbimom
Posts: 81
Joined: Sep 2010

I loved both your responses. They made me laugh and strangely I'm starting to calm down now and realize that he is just an a**hole. I shouldn't care what he thinks but you are right it would be nice if we could give a scarlet S for stupid for people to wear.
Linda
ps. I'll remember to do the toothbrush thing next time (lol)

Kimba1505's picture
Kimba1505
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

I can feel the anger bubbling in me as I read your post. There will always be stupid, insensitive people, that know how to say just the wrong thing. I think you took the high road and vented here. You will probably eventually be happy for this. We all want that great response in the moment; but because it is not in our nature to be nasty, that thought comes far too late, and we stew.
Linda, I just hope your husband had your back. That will probably mean the most in the end.
I too like the passive-aggressive peeing on the tooth brush, and I can say there have been times in my life that I have not been above taking such action...in the end, not my finer moments.
Kim :)

miccmill's picture
miccmill
Posts: 247
Joined: May 2010

Linda,

I admire your restraint.

Glenn's family and my family have been nothing but super the whole way although they looked up Squamous Cell Carcinoma on the internet, when they first heard about it, and decided it was a skin cancer that was a little less dangerous than Melanoma. Lol.

I'm definately not up for the "I know a little about a lot" type of person right now. Hope I could be as tactful as you were.
Lisa

Misty2011
Posts: 15
Joined: Feb 2011

I say you get out a piece of construction paper and spend some time relieving stress by drawing a big S for stupid, color it, put some glitter on it if you want, etc. Then next time you visit with your father in law, tape it to his back when he's not looking! Gives you something to look forward to until you see him again! Hehe :)

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

What's the prob? Following my surg for tongue cancer along with a radical neck dissection, followed then by chemo and a bunch of rads, I was sitting at dining room table the next year at Thanksgiving TRYING to eat whatever I could (with little success) when the widowed lady we always invite, sitting to my right, commented that she admired my restraint and needed to lose a little weight too.

I said nothing until after she left and then laughed my a** off. (Okay, laughed until I cried, but the tears were from laughing.)

Hope and Humor.

Take care,

Joe

abbimom's picture
abbimom
Posts: 81
Joined: Sep 2010

Yeah my father in law also made jokes about how slow I eat. I have a sense of humor but give me a break. That is too funny Joe. I think I would've busted out laughing at the table. I've had people comment on how little I eat I just tell them I'm not really hungry when I'm acutally starving.
Best wishes,
Linda

fisrpotpe's picture
fisrpotpe
Posts: 1338
Joined: Aug 2010

My father who I call doctor dad has no clue. He thinks he knows everything including what problems I have. You would think after 15 years of having a meal with him many many times he would know. I went for his birthday party dinner last weekend, he looked at me and asked why I was not having any meat or the spicy stuff. Daaaa hard to swallow and spices do not work of any kind. I bit my lip and now let it hit me when I see meat or spicy foods. Do they actually hear you when you share what the problems are over the years. One year i was eating so slow at their home with 25 attending that all were done and they picked everything up for desert and just let me sit there with my wife and two girls who waited on me. Then served desert and while serving my mothers asked while i was putting something in my mouth are you done with that I will take your plate. I remember this every thanks giving since but also do not go there for thanks giving dinner.

It's funny now but was sad back then.

Good place to vent and put smiles on some faces.

John

abbimom's picture
abbimom
Posts: 81
Joined: Sep 2010

Yeah my father in law also made jokes about how slow I eat. I have a sense of humor but give me a break. That is too funny Joe. I think I would've busted out laughing at the table. I've had people comment on how little I eat I just tell them I'm not really hungry when I'm acutally starving.
Best wishes,
Linda

staceya's picture
staceya
Posts: 702
Joined: Jan 2010

I am growling for you!!
I am so sorry you have to deal with ignorance on top of everything else we go through.

Next time you visit, you have to take all of the above advice..AND then some..
When it is time to eat grab your father in law by the throat really tight as he is chewing and ask him if it slows him down any.

Stacey

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

"Dear Father Inlaw,

How about you get your stupid ass down to a Cancer Clinic, head on into the Radiation room, get your face pressed into a tight Hannibal Lechter Mask, then get that same stupid head bolted down to a freakin table so tight you can hardly breath, and then have your dumb ass head shoved into into a high powered beam of radiation from a giant Linnear Accelerator, not once but 70 time, every freakin day, and at the same time have the most toxic crap around pumped into your veins for 7 freakin' weeks, have your head and neck fried to raw red, puke for 4 weeks, have a tube stuck in your stupid guts so they can pump food directly into your stupid body, get daily doses of morphine and every other drug for the pain, have your mouth tissues cooked to blistering, not be able to eat for 3 months, and maybe THEN and ONLY THEN tell me about what Stage IV cancer is you ignorant twit !!" "Oh , Did I mention the Neck Dissection...? Now where are my car keys ?"

Now I feel MUCH better.

Scam

abbimom's picture
abbimom
Posts: 81
Joined: Sep 2010

I may print this letter scam it suits me perfectly. Thanks
Linda

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

If I had $5 for every idiot relative and alleged friend that has said stupid cr@p to me I would be able to buy my own little house. Honestly, I really have stopped eating around people on a daily basis because they just don't get it, and I'm not that nice anymore.

I basically only make an exception to eat with the family on special occasions like holidays and when we have out of town company. I bring my own food because no one will make me anything I can eat. Then I get stared at and everyone leaves me alone at the table, taking away all the food. Meanwhile, I am trying to fend off four dogs (my dog is good. He just sits on my lap) two of which are bigger than I am, one is twice my weight and a bully.

One time every one was eating steak at the table, this is when I was still peg tube reliant. It was killing me to be at the table with everyone eating steak. I had a bit of mushed up avocado and Amish macaroni salad in a small bowl listening to everyone saying how wonderful their steak was. My step aunt leaned over to me and said, "What's the matter with you? Too good to eat what everyone else is having?" :/

A whole bunch of relatives were up and my dad was making his huge pan of paella. I was still with my peg, but I thought I would try since he was nagging me to come up because I hadn't seen these relatives in a long time, one being my godfather. (My father put hot sausage in the paella so I couldn't eat it anyway should have stayed home. I was only about 94 pounds at the time, and I was just off my fentanyl patch. I felt like crap because I went thru withdrawal to get off it. I was still looking pretty frail, and I think it scared my godfather a bit. We chatted a bit inside and I went to see who else came. As soon as I walked out side a cousin that I really don't care for started in with me. He basically said something about me being lazy and not working and if I was his kid he would have a weed wacker with my name on it. Well, I let him have it with both guns right there in front of every one. I busted my keister working 10-12 hour days 5-6 days a week for 23 years. I worked despite a serious illness all those years and then ended up with cancer on top of that. I just couldn't believe the nerve!

I could tell you stories all night of stupid crap relatives have said to me. People don't understand that we have very real, and very lasting side effects from treatment. I am tired of trying to explain my stricture to one relative. Just doesn't get it. She keeps saying how I should just go get it stretched again. I keep telling her I have had it done multiple times and I almost died the last time. She shrugged her shoulders at me and said, "well if you won't go have it done again, I guess you don't want to be normal that bad. There will always be the people that like being the victim." That one had me speechless. Hmmm. She is lucky she lives in NYC and I don't have access to her tooth brush. :)

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

You can let them bother you or you can laugh at them. You are, after all, not the idiot.

I find that finding the humor in these situations makes them not just bearable but, as someone else suggested, memorable.

Take care, my sweet friend,

Joe

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

I have to say I have a better sense of humor about it this year, more so than last year. I don't let it bother me as much anymore. ;-)

rozaroo
Posts: 667
Joined: Apr 2010

I am going to kick somebody's ass! Literally! I went for my 3 month check up at my cancer centre & a volounteer that saw me proceeded to call everyone he knew & told them I had cancer. A woman stopped me at Costco to tell me that he called her. Now how bad is that! I hate going out & getting bombarded by nosey people. My hubby want's to smash him!

fisrpotpe's picture
fisrpotpe
Posts: 1338
Joined: Aug 2010

You could call the hospital and tell them about this person as they also have the HIPPA law to follow as a volunteer. Says they can not share the information they see or hear while there.

rozaroo
Posts: 667
Joined: Apr 2010

I fully intend to do just that! Thank you so much! I hate to be nasty but I am upset over this!

abbimom's picture
abbimom
Posts: 81
Joined: Sep 2010

Sweetblood I have to admit you have it a lot worse than me. My father in law is the only mean one about it. My other family members just don't realize still what I can and cannot eat. My husband is the amazing one who will go to a gas station and get me milk before going out to eat so he is sure I have it to drink. He even warmed it in the microwave there becauase I have severly sensitive teeth. Sorry about all the stuff your family has said. Wow they are so stupid and insensitive. Sorry you have to go through that on top of everything else

abbimom's picture
abbimom
Posts: 81
Joined: Sep 2010

Sweetblood I have to admit you have it a lot worse than me. My father in law is the only mean one about it. My other family members just don't realize still what I can and cannot eat. My husband is the amazing one who will go to a gas station and get me milk before going out to eat so he is sure I have it to drink. He even warmed it in the microwave there becauase I have severly sensitive teeth. Sorry about all the stuff your family has said. Wow they are so stupid and insensitive. Sorry you have to go through that on top of everything else

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Learning to ignore people is something I am still working on. Thanks to my crazy family, I get lots of practice. :)

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8087
Joined: Sep 2009

Linda, there's a lady on here that has you beat for stupid relative comments I think....

She was having a family get together dinner during the Holidays. An Aunt I think it was, told her that "she got cancer because God was punishing her for something that she must have done in her past"....

How's that for wanting to make you wanna smack someone.

John

ekdennie's picture
ekdennie
Posts: 231
Joined: Aug 2010

linda,
I had a relative who told her family members that I had cancer and that she didn't know how my husband was going to raise our kids by himself. left everyone with the impression that I was going to die, even though I was told that my cancer was very treatable. I ended up needing surgery and then radiation. I spent a good portion of the first couple of months reassuring people that I should not die from my cancer. It was not fun to have to explain to people that I wasn't dying, that I not only would be able to care for my children through most of it, but that I would be able to continue nursing my youngest who was 4 months old when I was diagnosed. my mom moved in when I was too medicated to care for the kids around the clock, but I was the one who fed them, who got them ready for school and who gave them their after school snacks...she helped drive them and took care of them when I was asleep.
then that same relative sent my mom a note telling her how grateful she was that my mom took care of my husband's kids while I was going through treatment. not our kids, but his kids. not my mom's grandchildren, but my husband's kids, as though she was hired help. that ticked me off more than her thoughtless comments to me about my weight, or the erroneous impressions she gave of my condition to other family members.
some people would really do well to remember to think about what they are about to say BEFORE they say it! but in her case, even if I were to say she should remember that if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything...what she considers nice...like commenting on how skinny and how much healthier I look now...that I look so much better than I did before...are really not complements, but slaps to the face as to how she felt I looked before.
shaking my head and hoping people who are ignorant and insensitive will learn when to shut the _______ up! :)

HAWVET's picture
HAWVET
Posts: 318
Joined: Apr 2006

It is not my intention to upset those who feel agitated, but I act differently. I think I have done a good job of not being mad at the remarks made by many during my past 13 years after cancer.

There are even members of my immediate family who had forgotten about my eating problems. As time has passed, I think they are all aware. If not, it is not a biggie to me. I am just happy to be around and share my thoughts. God Bless you all.

dennis318's picture
dennis318
Posts: 349
Joined: Feb 2010

I found out during the time I was very sick, raw, weeping neck, nauseas, dehydrated, people have no idea the pain we are in, I can't describe the smells, the weakness, tired, teeth hurting, throat on fire, soar, My family especially, thought gee, make sure you get to work, the bills need to be paid. The boss, see you tomorrow, can you cover those neck burns, there not very good looking, and you smell, isn't there something you can do about that.......heartless, I can understand your mental anguish. My Doctors told me to chnage somethings in my life, I left the boss, struggle, but I can tell the improvement. Hang in there kiddo, there are a bunch of uneducated people out there,Vent all you want, I do,,Dennis

kingcole42005's picture
kingcole42005
Posts: 177
Joined: Oct 2010

My own father told his nurses in his convalescent hospital that I was in hospice and was dying of cancer so they would feel sorry for him. My whole life he has always made things about him, even my having cancer. People can be idiots family or not. Frankly I'm not going to give them an ounce of my emotion anymore because they aren't worth the energy.

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5791
Joined: Apr 2009

Sorry to hear you had to go through this, it is sad to say that sometimes people best intentions are the ones that hurt the most when they start talking about something they don’t really know.

I know a lady who tells everyone how they need to raise there children, the problem was that she never had any children so how does she know. Somewhere they read a book and become experts on what they think they know.

Don’t let it bother you, it is not worth the stress

Take care and keep doing well
Hondo

buzz99's picture
buzz99
Posts: 404
Joined: Sep 2010

Buzz has a sister who is always full of helpful advise on things she knows nothing about. We were told by some relatives that the radiation would by easy compared to the chemo. (we wish!). That may be true in some cases but not head/neck radiation.

abbimom's picture
abbimom
Posts: 81
Joined: Sep 2010

Thank you for all your comments. I feel much better now. The hard part is I never really liked my father in law so that was the icing on the cake. Thank you for sharing your stories and making me not feel so alone. I've never met anyone who went through what I went through and it is nice to know that there are people dealing with the same problems I am. Take care everyone and thanks for cheering me up.
Best wishes,
Linda

Noellesmom
Posts: 1302
Joined: Aug 2010

I'm still wondering why you didn't just punch him in the face...

It would have felt sooooooooooo good to read that you did, Linda.

Mentally punching him for you. Hard.

rozaroo
Posts: 667
Joined: Apr 2010

I really don't mind when people are genuine & caring! Or ask me question's since they are not knowledgable on head & neck cancer or treatment. I am dissapointed in those that really just like to stir up gossip & give out improper information is what bother's me.

donna340
Posts: 72
Joined: Nov 2010

Sorry to here about the way your father inlaw treated you.
I wish there was a pill for "Stupid". When he speaks just think of Charlie Brown "WAH,WAH,WAH.... I CANNOT HEAR YOU!

theresam
Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2011

You're definitely not alone in the stupid relative group!

My husband has throat cancer and his stepmom told him that she was so upset that when he died he was going to hell instead of heaven because he hasn't "found Christ". She's really distraught about it because she won't get to see him in the afterlife (because apparently, she knows that she's going to heaven). She then proceeded to tell him that he just doesn't realize how bad it is in hell. This discussion took place when he told her that he decided to have the radiation treatments.

I'm no expert, but I have to guess that telling a cancer patient that it's a shame they're going to hell when they die isn't on the top 10 list of discussion topics to have.

Sad part is that she was really sincere and truly sad about his demise.
Good thing is that my husband and I laugh about it all the time. Whenever we start to get upset about his parents (and there are more good stories), I remind him that they are good for entertainment. It's like watching reruns of 'All in the Family'.

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

Wow. That's nice. :( I have gotten the "you're not a real Christain" speech from people. Drives me nuts. Sometimes I just don't understand people. God knows what is in my heart.

LilTexLady's picture
LilTexLady
Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2011

You are definitely not alone. As much as we have had to go through, no one needs one more ignorant person to deal with. I had a difficult boss, ironically, I worked in the healthcare industry. We shouldn't have to justify anything to anyone!! Cancer is Cancer, and we are all made differently, heal, process, and live differently than others. Some people get it, some people won't. I had stage 1 cancer, and although it was caught in it's earliest stage, I got it again 5 months later in a different location. After the second time, I ended up going in for radiation. As frustrating as it is to hear someone downplay your situation by comparing it to another, chuck it off to that "he doesn't know what he is talking about." In my case, I believe in Karma will reach my boss in some form in life.

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8087
Joined: Sep 2009

And I mean uneducated in the school of life, not advanced institutional education....

To me (and it's still hard in the moment of being PO'd) in the big picture, it doesn't really matter what's said by someone that is uneductaed an ignorant to the situation, your feelings and how their comments are taken.

Most of the time, it really wouldn't change anything to say something, because they are not capabale of comprehending that what they said makes no sense at all.

Best,
John

Liz K.'s picture
Liz K.
Posts: 32
Joined: Dec 2010

What a thread you started! I can't understand how your thoughtless Father-in-law produced such a thoughtful husband! Must be his Mom!

abbimom's picture
abbimom
Posts: 81
Joined: Sep 2010

It is all his mom and I'm so thankful for that!

SASH's picture
SASH
Posts: 279
Joined: Apr 2006

Mine wasn't a relative that made the stupid comments, it was a customer of my business.

After I finished all my treatments and went back to work, I answered the phone and as I was trying to give information to a customer over the phone, they said, "can't you talk clearer?"

My response was, "No, this is how I talk."

What I wanted to say was, "lets hear how you talk while your tongue just sits on the floor of your mouth without moving and see how clear you are."

abbimom's picture
abbimom
Posts: 81
Joined: Sep 2010

In college my nickname was "What" because I always had to repeat what I said. After another tongue surgery and speech therapy I am talking much better. But still have a problem with the \K\ sound.
Linda

Hal61's picture
Hal61
Posts: 656
Joined: Dec 2009

Interesting thread, and something I've thought about. I'll make a longer post than usual.

Lots of bad answers to announcements that you have/had cancer are not stupid, just human. I told my neighbor recently that I had been home a lot in the last year because I've been being treated for cancer. She said a priest in her parish recently contracted cancer and died very quickly. She also said it would be great if she didn't have taste buds because she could sure lose some weight. I don't count her as stupid or mean. Most people simply don't know how to respond and don't say the right things. I didn't get upset because there was no reason.

My other thought is that we are often those people ourselves. I've heard insensitive comments by good people on this board in the last year. Any time you don't have a look at what your saying, or what you've said now and then, you can be one of those people. Once we are satisified that we are good people, tree huggers, good conservatives, caring types, not racisct, etc., it's easy to say the wrong thing. One of Socrates most quoted lines is that the unexamined life is not worth living. If anyone is totally convinced they would never say an inappropriate, thoughtless thing, they will.

Like John said, most of the folks who are repeat offenders won't accept correction anyway, but they are the minority, I hope. I still think it's worth responding if you can be sure the person deserves it though, if you can do it with your head. It might not change them, but it feels good. You have to be sure though, can't jump on someone like my neighbor, because most people will respond with a mindless answer reflexively.

Just my 4 cents.

Hal

rozaroo
Posts: 667
Joined: Apr 2010

You are so right! I have to grow a thicker skin! One thing I have learned through all of this is to be the better person & walk away with a smile on my face! I know I have put my foot in my mouth on numerous occasion's! Thank you for your perspective on this!
God Bless
Roz

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