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Stupid Things People Say to Cancer Survivors

2bhealed
2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
Ok Semis!

Let's start our own list of Stupid Things People Say to us:

A friend wrote me a long letter saying that my sister was dying because she had unrepented sin in her life.

A friend of mine said she couldn't think of me as having colon cancer and a tumor removed but that I just had a wart removed. (ok, in her defense, it was said because I seemed so healthy and I happen to love this friend and we laughed about it, but it was still a stupid thing to say).

"You don't look as bad as I thought you were going to look!"

"Just pray harder"

"How did you get colon cancer when you eat so healthy?"

"Why are you treating me this way?" (written in an email when I hadn't responded properly right after my diagnosis and was trying to figure out my life with 5 kids (3 homeschooling, 1 a nursing toddler, and 1 teenager).

"Just do the chemo, Emily." (I can't count the number of times I heard this one).


Ok, your turn.

peace, emily
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Comments

  • maglets
    maglets Member Posts: 2,576
    stupid things
    you were the last person I ever thought would get colon cancer.....you are the queen of greens.

    -wow I know you have done chemo but you have hair!

    -I know you are not feeling very well but you look terrific

    -my personal favourite :):):) when friends say Nothing at all

    mags
  • lisa42
    lisa42 Member Posts: 3,625
    things said
    "What did you do that made you get cancer?" (Well, duh, I'd like to know how I got it, too! I didn't "do" anything to get it!)

    "You look better today than last time I saw you." (Well, thanks- I guess that means I looked pretty bad last time!)

    "Don't take chemo- it will kill you." (I know this is the opposite of what you heard and did, Emily- but I was a severe stage IV at diagnosis and feel I surely would have died within a few months if I hadn't done the chemo. A couple of well meaning friends were insistent I try alternatives to chemo and one really acted upset with me for going the chemo route. If I were less than a stage IV, I might have considered it, but felt I didn't have the luxury of time to see if those alternatives were going to work)

    I'm sure others will have even more doozies to top these-

    Lisa
  • daydreamer110761
    daydreamer110761 Member Posts: 487
    maglets said:

    stupid things
    you were the last person I ever thought would get colon cancer.....you are the queen of greens.

    -wow I know you have done chemo but you have hair!

    -I know you are not feeling very well but you look terrific

    -my personal favourite :):):) when friends say Nothing at all

    mags

    the hair....
    I guess that's apparently a very common thing with chemo - because I have heard all of those!

    wow - you still have your hair!

    Oh - you don't look like you had/have cancer.


    Tell, me, just WHAT does cancer look like? (although I now pay more attention to people lifting things out of the meat freezer at the grocery store - if they have gloves on I have offered to help!)

    oh - yeah - and one of the best - how did you "catch" it?
  • Shayenne
    Shayenne Member Posts: 2,342
    lisa42 said:

    things said
    "What did you do that made you get cancer?" (Well, duh, I'd like to know how I got it, too! I didn't "do" anything to get it!)

    "You look better today than last time I saw you." (Well, thanks- I guess that means I looked pretty bad last time!)

    "Don't take chemo- it will kill you." (I know this is the opposite of what you heard and did, Emily- but I was a severe stage IV at diagnosis and feel I surely would have died within a few months if I hadn't done the chemo. A couple of well meaning friends were insistent I try alternatives to chemo and one really acted upset with me for going the chemo route. If I were less than a stage IV, I might have considered it, but felt I didn't have the luxury of time to see if those alternatives were going to work)

    I'm sure others will have even more doozies to top these-

    Lisa

    I am
    the same as you Lisa, had I been less stage, I may not be doing chemo either, but if I hadn't done it, I may not be here right now.

    I get the hair one ALL the time, and the SKINNY comment!

    "Wow! you really cut your hair short! where did it all go??" (I had waist length hair, they just dont realize it's all in my shower drain now)

    "You're so skinny now!" (hmm..guess ya thought I must have been fat before then)

    "Stage 4? I'm sorry to hear that" (well, damn, I'm not dead yet!)

    Hugsss!
    ~Donna


    This was on ColonClub.com and enjoyed it thoroughly, a poster posted the top things on the list:


    "Sure, you might die but I could step off a kerb and get hit by a bus" Umm, ok I guess there might be a parallel - if you know which street kerb you'll be stepping off and you've got the date, time and number of the bus. Oh, and the bus backs over you for good measure.

    "You have to think positively" Why, am I gonna die if I don't act like Tigger on prozac all the time?? Do ya think all the people who die are the one's who don't think positively? I am positive I have cancer. I am equally positive this is not a good thing.

    "Oh, I know someone who died from that type of cancer" Thanks for that, you made me feel so much better.

    "God gives you what you can handle" I could have handled winning the lottery too.

    "What's your prognosis?" If I'm around in 10 years, I'll let you know.

    "If anyone can beat it it's you" Yep, all along the cure to cancer is being myself! Sucks to everyone else, you're all doomed.

    "It's not your time to go" Then why bother with the surgery and treatment?

    "Life is not fair" Thanks for the heads up.

    "God has a plan for you" ...but He didn’t quite get around to making one for all those poor suckers who have died from cancer, huh?

    "Every cloud has a silver lining" Feel free to elaborate on that, I sure can't see anything good about being diagnosed with a life threatening disease that is highly likely to kill me and will at the very least leave me with permanent scars and side effects and a high risk of recurrence in the future.

    "It’s just a bump in the road" Living with a cancer diagnoses, getting chemo, radiation, dealing with the multitude of side effects, gaining weight, having hot flashes, being depressed and anxious is not a bump in the road it's a major mountain.

    "Lance beat cancer"…and I am going to beat you over the head with the hard copy edition of It’s not about the Bike….

    [After the final round of chemo] "Just think, you're done" Done? I'm done?...I guess I'm done with cancer everyone. Nothing left to do. Umm, how about all the side effects and worrying for the rest of my life about recurrence?

    "So, is it the bad kind of cancer?" No, I have the good kind.

    "This is a treatable disease" Oh sure. Chemo, surgery, more chemo, radiotherapy. No sweat.

    "How do you know if it's working?" If it doesn’t work, I end up 6 feet under. That’s how.

    "You'll be fine, you have a great attitude" If attitude really matters then why did I get cancer in the first place? Or does attitude only matter after you get cancer? Right now my attitude about cancer is lousy. What does that mean?

    "If you really want to live, you will. Just never give up. When people give up, they die." Finally, the real explanation for cancer survival rates! For example, why have cancer survival rates gone up over time? Because more people who get cancer really want to live! Why does the US have slightly better survival stats than say Europe and Canada? Because as everyone knows, Canadians and Europeans are more prone to giving up, right?
  • Shayenne said:

    I am
    the same as you Lisa, had I been less stage, I may not be doing chemo either, but if I hadn't done it, I may not be here right now.

    I get the hair one ALL the time, and the SKINNY comment!

    "Wow! you really cut your hair short! where did it all go??" (I had waist length hair, they just dont realize it's all in my shower drain now)

    "You're so skinny now!" (hmm..guess ya thought I must have been fat before then)

    "Stage 4? I'm sorry to hear that" (well, damn, I'm not dead yet!)

    Hugsss!
    ~Donna


    This was on ColonClub.com and enjoyed it thoroughly, a poster posted the top things on the list:


    "Sure, you might die but I could step off a kerb and get hit by a bus" Umm, ok I guess there might be a parallel - if you know which street kerb you'll be stepping off and you've got the date, time and number of the bus. Oh, and the bus backs over you for good measure.

    "You have to think positively" Why, am I gonna die if I don't act like Tigger on prozac all the time?? Do ya think all the people who die are the one's who don't think positively? I am positive I have cancer. I am equally positive this is not a good thing.

    "Oh, I know someone who died from that type of cancer" Thanks for that, you made me feel so much better.

    "God gives you what you can handle" I could have handled winning the lottery too.

    "What's your prognosis?" If I'm around in 10 years, I'll let you know.

    "If anyone can beat it it's you" Yep, all along the cure to cancer is being myself! Sucks to everyone else, you're all doomed.

    "It's not your time to go" Then why bother with the surgery and treatment?

    "Life is not fair" Thanks for the heads up.

    "God has a plan for you" ...but He didn’t quite get around to making one for all those poor suckers who have died from cancer, huh?

    "Every cloud has a silver lining" Feel free to elaborate on that, I sure can't see anything good about being diagnosed with a life threatening disease that is highly likely to kill me and will at the very least leave me with permanent scars and side effects and a high risk of recurrence in the future.

    "It’s just a bump in the road" Living with a cancer diagnoses, getting chemo, radiation, dealing with the multitude of side effects, gaining weight, having hot flashes, being depressed and anxious is not a bump in the road it's a major mountain.

    "Lance beat cancer"…and I am going to beat you over the head with the hard copy edition of It’s not about the Bike….

    [After the final round of chemo] "Just think, you're done" Done? I'm done?...I guess I'm done with cancer everyone. Nothing left to do. Umm, how about all the side effects and worrying for the rest of my life about recurrence?

    "So, is it the bad kind of cancer?" No, I have the good kind.

    "This is a treatable disease" Oh sure. Chemo, surgery, more chemo, radiotherapy. No sweat.

    "How do you know if it's working?" If it doesn’t work, I end up 6 feet under. That’s how.

    "You'll be fine, you have a great attitude" If attitude really matters then why did I get cancer in the first place? Or does attitude only matter after you get cancer? Right now my attitude about cancer is lousy. What does that mean?

    "If you really want to live, you will. Just never give up. When people give up, they die." Finally, the real explanation for cancer survival rates! For example, why have cancer survival rates gone up over time? Because more people who get cancer really want to live! Why does the US have slightly better survival stats than say Europe and Canada? Because as everyone knows, Canadians and Europeans are more prone to giving up, right?

    This comment has been removed by the Moderator
  • butterfly23
    butterfly23 Member Posts: 256
    Shayenne said:

    I am
    the same as you Lisa, had I been less stage, I may not be doing chemo either, but if I hadn't done it, I may not be here right now.

    I get the hair one ALL the time, and the SKINNY comment!

    "Wow! you really cut your hair short! where did it all go??" (I had waist length hair, they just dont realize it's all in my shower drain now)

    "You're so skinny now!" (hmm..guess ya thought I must have been fat before then)

    "Stage 4? I'm sorry to hear that" (well, damn, I'm not dead yet!)

    Hugsss!
    ~Donna


    This was on ColonClub.com and enjoyed it thoroughly, a poster posted the top things on the list:


    "Sure, you might die but I could step off a kerb and get hit by a bus" Umm, ok I guess there might be a parallel - if you know which street kerb you'll be stepping off and you've got the date, time and number of the bus. Oh, and the bus backs over you for good measure.

    "You have to think positively" Why, am I gonna die if I don't act like Tigger on prozac all the time?? Do ya think all the people who die are the one's who don't think positively? I am positive I have cancer. I am equally positive this is not a good thing.

    "Oh, I know someone who died from that type of cancer" Thanks for that, you made me feel so much better.

    "God gives you what you can handle" I could have handled winning the lottery too.

    "What's your prognosis?" If I'm around in 10 years, I'll let you know.

    "If anyone can beat it it's you" Yep, all along the cure to cancer is being myself! Sucks to everyone else, you're all doomed.

    "It's not your time to go" Then why bother with the surgery and treatment?

    "Life is not fair" Thanks for the heads up.

    "God has a plan for you" ...but He didn’t quite get around to making one for all those poor suckers who have died from cancer, huh?

    "Every cloud has a silver lining" Feel free to elaborate on that, I sure can't see anything good about being diagnosed with a life threatening disease that is highly likely to kill me and will at the very least leave me with permanent scars and side effects and a high risk of recurrence in the future.

    "It’s just a bump in the road" Living with a cancer diagnoses, getting chemo, radiation, dealing with the multitude of side effects, gaining weight, having hot flashes, being depressed and anxious is not a bump in the road it's a major mountain.

    "Lance beat cancer"…and I am going to beat you over the head with the hard copy edition of It’s not about the Bike….

    [After the final round of chemo] "Just think, you're done" Done? I'm done?...I guess I'm done with cancer everyone. Nothing left to do. Umm, how about all the side effects and worrying for the rest of my life about recurrence?

    "So, is it the bad kind of cancer?" No, I have the good kind.

    "This is a treatable disease" Oh sure. Chemo, surgery, more chemo, radiotherapy. No sweat.

    "How do you know if it's working?" If it doesn’t work, I end up 6 feet under. That’s how.

    "You'll be fine, you have a great attitude" If attitude really matters then why did I get cancer in the first place? Or does attitude only matter after you get cancer? Right now my attitude about cancer is lousy. What does that mean?

    "If you really want to live, you will. Just never give up. When people give up, they die." Finally, the real explanation for cancer survival rates! For example, why have cancer survival rates gone up over time? Because more people who get cancer really want to live! Why does the US have slightly better survival stats than say Europe and Canada? Because as everyone knows, Canadians and Europeans are more prone to giving up, right?

    I love this!
    I went to a new lab for my bloodwork and the nurse said to me "you have colon cancer?" and asked what my prognosis was!

    wow! you didn't lose ANY weight at all! You actually look like you gained some. It's good to have some extra weight on you.

    So, how long are you going to be on steroids? p.s. never told this person I was on steroids, granted, if you saw me it is very obvious I am on them, but you don't say it to that person!!!!! THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK, PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!

    WOW, thank God you didn't loose your hair!
    Karyn :00
  • maglets
    maglets Member Posts: 2,576
    Shayenne said:

    I am
    the same as you Lisa, had I been less stage, I may not be doing chemo either, but if I hadn't done it, I may not be here right now.

    I get the hair one ALL the time, and the SKINNY comment!

    "Wow! you really cut your hair short! where did it all go??" (I had waist length hair, they just dont realize it's all in my shower drain now)

    "You're so skinny now!" (hmm..guess ya thought I must have been fat before then)

    "Stage 4? I'm sorry to hear that" (well, damn, I'm not dead yet!)

    Hugsss!
    ~Donna


    This was on ColonClub.com and enjoyed it thoroughly, a poster posted the top things on the list:


    "Sure, you might die but I could step off a kerb and get hit by a bus" Umm, ok I guess there might be a parallel - if you know which street kerb you'll be stepping off and you've got the date, time and number of the bus. Oh, and the bus backs over you for good measure.

    "You have to think positively" Why, am I gonna die if I don't act like Tigger on prozac all the time?? Do ya think all the people who die are the one's who don't think positively? I am positive I have cancer. I am equally positive this is not a good thing.

    "Oh, I know someone who died from that type of cancer" Thanks for that, you made me feel so much better.

    "God gives you what you can handle" I could have handled winning the lottery too.

    "What's your prognosis?" If I'm around in 10 years, I'll let you know.

    "If anyone can beat it it's you" Yep, all along the cure to cancer is being myself! Sucks to everyone else, you're all doomed.

    "It's not your time to go" Then why bother with the surgery and treatment?

    "Life is not fair" Thanks for the heads up.

    "God has a plan for you" ...but He didn’t quite get around to making one for all those poor suckers who have died from cancer, huh?

    "Every cloud has a silver lining" Feel free to elaborate on that, I sure can't see anything good about being diagnosed with a life threatening disease that is highly likely to kill me and will at the very least leave me with permanent scars and side effects and a high risk of recurrence in the future.

    "It’s just a bump in the road" Living with a cancer diagnoses, getting chemo, radiation, dealing with the multitude of side effects, gaining weight, having hot flashes, being depressed and anxious is not a bump in the road it's a major mountain.

    "Lance beat cancer"…and I am going to beat you over the head with the hard copy edition of It’s not about the Bike….

    [After the final round of chemo] "Just think, you're done" Done? I'm done?...I guess I'm done with cancer everyone. Nothing left to do. Umm, how about all the side effects and worrying for the rest of my life about recurrence?

    "So, is it the bad kind of cancer?" No, I have the good kind.

    "This is a treatable disease" Oh sure. Chemo, surgery, more chemo, radiotherapy. No sweat.

    "How do you know if it's working?" If it doesn’t work, I end up 6 feet under. That’s how.

    "You'll be fine, you have a great attitude" If attitude really matters then why did I get cancer in the first place? Or does attitude only matter after you get cancer? Right now my attitude about cancer is lousy. What does that mean?

    "If you really want to live, you will. Just never give up. When people give up, they die." Finally, the real explanation for cancer survival rates! For example, why have cancer survival rates gone up over time? Because more people who get cancer really want to live! Why does the US have slightly better survival stats than say Europe and Canada? Because as everyone knows, Canadians and Europeans are more prone to giving up, right?

    i love it
    Oh donna....wait I had forgotten those

    -yes you know we could all step off the curb

    -it is alllllll attitude....you obviously have such a good attitude....lol

    thanks Emily and Donna

    oh it's kindof mean too though :):):)
  • unknown said:

    This comment has been removed by the Moderator

    This comment has been removed by the Moderator
  • Shayenne
    Shayenne Member Posts: 2,342
    maglets said:

    i love it
    Oh donna....wait I had forgotten those

    -yes you know we could all step off the curb

    -it is alllllll attitude....you obviously have such a good attitude....lol

    thanks Emily and Donna

    oh it's kindof mean too though :):):)

    I..
    .. did not write all that, it was someone else, not to be mean though LOL...It's all in fun, but I know alot of people that say these things are very well intentioned, and just speechless, I catch myself doing it as well, we all do, but some of it that was posted just got a laugh out of me.


    Hugsss!
    ~Donna
  • robinvan
    robinvan Member Posts: 1,012
    Great Thread!!

    What happens in Stage 5? :):)

    Rob; in Van
  • maglets
    maglets Member Posts: 2,576
    robinvan said:

    Great Thread!!

    What happens in Stage 5? :):)

    Rob; in Van

    not mean
    Donna I did not mean to imply you were being mean....I just meant...is it not funny that we really all have heard these things

    and you are right donna....I have probably said them myself lol

    mags
  • 2bhealed
    2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064
    lisa42 said:

    things said
    "What did you do that made you get cancer?" (Well, duh, I'd like to know how I got it, too! I didn't "do" anything to get it!)

    "You look better today than last time I saw you." (Well, thanks- I guess that means I looked pretty bad last time!)

    "Don't take chemo- it will kill you." (I know this is the opposite of what you heard and did, Emily- but I was a severe stage IV at diagnosis and feel I surely would have died within a few months if I hadn't done the chemo. A couple of well meaning friends were insistent I try alternatives to chemo and one really acted upset with me for going the chemo route. If I were less than a stage IV, I might have considered it, but felt I didn't have the luxury of time to see if those alternatives were going to work)

    I'm sure others will have even more doozies to top these-

    Lisa

    Oh yeah,,,,another one I forgot....
    I got that same one Lisa, "chemo will kill you." by a doctor no less! And yes, it's a stupid thing to say to someone who is going to do chemo.

    (disclaimer--I may promote alternatives for those looking for other ways to heal their cancer--especially when Western Medicine runs its course and they send you packing-- but each person has to make that highly personal decision without judgment from others. Your friends were way out of line as much as my "pastor" who hadn't done one iota of research about my type of cancer and knew nothing about my health history). Ignorance is ignorance.

    This was told to my husband after he found out that my tumor was cancerous, "You have to die from something."

    We actually laugh at this one too (now) since my hubby does a great impression of the whole scenario.

    peace, emily
  • mommyof2kds
    mommyof2kds Member Posts: 519
    robinvan said:

    Great Thread!!

    What happens in Stage 5? :):)

    Rob; in Van

    HAHA, alot of those are
    HAHA, alot of those are familiar.. My best friend made a comment when we talked about me possibly having to get a colostomy. It made me laugh so hard at the time and it was what I needed. She said" at least you won't have you wipe your AS_. LOL Not stupid, but wanted to share. It was so funny..


    I don't know how you keep up with everything, well what do you do when you have a 4&5 yr old at home. You just have no choice.

    You look so good, I wouldn't even had known you were sick, you have great color. What color were you expecting me to be GRAY? LOL
  • Annabelle41415
    Annabelle41415 Member Posts: 6,712 **
    Quotes
    Actually most people have been pretty sympathetic but here goes some of what was said to me - well looking at all I wrote maybe not real sympathetic after all :)

    By my doctor no less, "the oxi is just a minor nuisance" Ummmm what? Have you ever taken this chemo before. I don't think she meant it the way it was said, but the cold sensitivity was terrible along with the neuropathy.

    "You have lost so much weight." Yes, you don't think that I can see that when I look in the mirror. Oh wait a minute, all my images staring back at me in the silver glass are from a "fun house of mirrors."

    "You should just eat, eat anything you want. Just put on some weight." Oh my goodness, I got tired of hearing that. You would think that I am purposely not eating, because I love the effects that the chemo give me better than eating something to make me feel better - yeah right.

    "You look a little better today. Last time I saw you, you didn't look very well." Well geez thanks a lot.

    "Wow you really look tired." Yeah well I was just up for three days after having two days of steroids. I feel like I had 5 pots of strong coffee.

    "You're so strong." Sometimes I just wanted to cry when people said that. It's like what do they expect me to do, go in a corner and lay there. I did have to be so strong for my family and there were days I just wanted nothing more than to cry and curl up in a ball, but it seemed like everyone expected me to carry forward. This was probably the most sensitive statement for someone to say to me.

    I'm sure I'll think of more.

    Hugs! Kim
  • dianetavegia
    dianetavegia Member Posts: 1,942
    Sometimes it's their tone of
    Sometimes it's their tone of voice.

    'How AREEEEEEEEEEE you?'
    'Are you going to be OKAYYYYYYYYYYYY?'
    'Did chemo burn?'
    'When will you find out if chemo worked?'
    'When will you know if the cancer is all gone?' (SURGERY got it)
    'Why did you have to have chemo?'

    Then the old people in church would want to tell me about Great Aunt Suzie who 'had cancer in 1960' and how much 'pain she was in during chemo and her dying'.

    'Do you have a bag?' (NO)
    'Where's your bag?' 'Is it hard to hide your bag?'

    I have a couple of friends who would run the other way to avoid me once they heard I had cancer. Is it contagious?
  • butterfly23
    butterfly23 Member Posts: 256
    I got 1 more
    Someone asked if I was doing chemo. I said yes. Her reply was "ugh that's like putting Drano down your throat" Gee thanks!
    Karyn
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028
    GREAT thread!!!!! Let's see......
    Now that I'm almost 5 years out..."Well, it's like you never had cancer at all" (Come to my house, after dinner, almost every night, and count the trips to the toilet).

    Another recent one - "Well, don't you think you should clean out your colon each month, since you already know you can get cancer from a dirty colon?" (WHAT???????? Is that like sitting on a public toilet seat?????)

    From another colon cancer survivor (of all people...) "Can't you just stop thinking about it? After all, what's in the past is in the past". (I hugged her...offered her some popcorn just to see her 'past' - she polite refused, and then appologized).

    During treatment "Oh, you are so brave!" (Brave? Do you think I CHOSE to get cancer, just to battle it and show my strength and bravery?)


    I can remember many of the ones from you guys' other posts...sad, really, that the world shows such ignorance and lack of compassion....

    Hugs to you all, and keep on keepin' on...and, if you have nothing better to do some night, I sell tickets for the entertainment....my beau just shakes his head...

    Hugs, Kathi
  • AceSFO
    AceSFO Member Posts: 229
    People say stupid things to caregivers too
    When I told someone that John's cancer had returned and this time it was deep in the bone, he looked at the floor for a few seconds, then said "do you know how many people I've known who've died of cancer in the last 6 months? Three!"

    Um, gee, thanks? I feel SO much better now...
  • PhillieG
    PhillieG Member Posts: 4,866
    AceSFO said:

    People say stupid things to caregivers too
    When I told someone that John's cancer had returned and this time it was deep in the bone, he looked at the floor for a few seconds, then said "do you know how many people I've known who've died of cancer in the last 6 months? Three!"

    Um, gee, thanks? I feel SO much better now...

    That's good
    Things happen in three's so John's safe!
  • GOOFYLADIE
    GOOFYLADIE Member Posts: 232
    I have one more
    My husband called from work and I told him about this thread and he said "you didn't tell them what your first doctor said" So here it is:
    "I'LL MAKE YOU AS COMFORTABLE AS POSSIBLE" he had me on my death bed no questions asked. What a damn dork! 11 years!LOL
    Goofyladie (Cass)