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Stupid Things People Say to Cancer Survivors

2

Comments

  • Betsydoglover
    Betsydoglover Member Posts: 1,248
    Stupid things people say...........
    So, back in 2005 when I was diagnosed a friend - actually a good one - said "Well, at least you know what you're going to die of - most of us don't." Yikes! I mean she does have a point, but please give me a break - that's not exactly the most supportive thing I've ever heard!

    Betsy
    (Stage IV, long story, NED for 3+ years (and 3 off chemo), solitary lung nodule detected 11/08, removed 4/09. did another 6 cycles of Xeloda and Avastin, continuing on Avastin only, still NED (again) since surgery and most recently based on CT and PET scans in the last 3 weeks.)
  • amyboston
    amyboston Member Posts: 91
    KathiM said:

    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

    stupid things
    I was told to "be strong."

    Another one," don't cry."

    And, "You're feeling ok now, aren't you."

    I am sure there will be others.

    Amy
  • kristasplace
    kristasplace Member Posts: 955
    Robo Krista
    I forgot to mention a co-worker called me Robo Krista when i first started the 5FU pump because of the weird electronic noise it makes.

    I thought it was hilarious, and made me feel less like someone who had one foot in the grave. I remember in the beginning what bothered me more than anything was that "look" people would give me when they found out i had cancer. I think we all know that "look". Their expression suddenly changes to, "i'm looking at the walking dead...poor thing!"

    Hugs,
    Krista
  • Patteee
    Patteee Member Posts: 945
    robinvan said:

    Great Thread!!

    What happens in Stage 5? :):)

    Rob; in Van

    OMG

    OMG
  • dianetavegia
    dianetavegia Member Posts: 1,942
    Beth Moore said...
    Many of our ladies will know who Beth Moore is, well she tells the story of how she was working in a health club as a very young woman and an obese woman came in to be measured. The lady was very ashamed of her measurements and weight so to make her feel better, Beth said 'Well at least you have a nice tan!' The woman answered that she had cancer that had spread to her liver. Beth said she told the woman 'Wall it looks good on you'. She said she's never gotten over how bad she felt for saying that.
  • cowman
    cowman Member Posts: 61
    This is Nothing
    My brother told me "this is nothing" I know of so and so and he had the same thing and he's fine now.
    Such ignorance.....10 dr's probing my butt, 6 weeks of radiation and chemo before surgery, extreme pain every morning when I sit on the pot....blahblah blah - I don't have to tell you guys but all that and then painful sugery that I wasn't prepared for, blood clots, colostomy, etc- I don't call that "nothing"!

    I know his intent was to encourage but when they really don't have a clue of what we are dealing with......it's a little stupid! I don't hate people for what they say if their intent is good.

    kevin
  • jillpls
    jillpls Member Posts: 238
    funny/stupid response to cancer
    I had a lady at my church come up to me, tug on my hair and say "well you still have your hair!".
  • 2bhealed
    2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064
    PhillieG said:

    That's good
    Things happen in three's so John's safe!

    AH HA!
    So you're the one behind the crash today! Figures! Playing hooky again from work stirring up trouble. Uh huh. Don't hide. We know.
  • 2bhealed
    2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064

    Robo Krista
    I forgot to mention a co-worker called me Robo Krista when i first started the 5FU pump because of the weird electronic noise it makes.

    I thought it was hilarious, and made me feel less like someone who had one foot in the grave. I remember in the beginning what bothered me more than anything was that "look" people would give me when they found out i had cancer. I think we all know that "look". Their expression suddenly changes to, "i'm looking at the walking dead...poor thing!"

    Hugs,
    Krista

    OMG! The Look!
    Yes, the "look". I pray I never give anyone the "look" ever in my life so help me God!


    Honey, you never had one foot in the grave....that was Bab's sister's friend at the wedding that had one foot in the grave.

    (sorry, I couldn't resist).
  • lizzydavis
    lizzydavis Member Posts: 893
    jillpls said:

    funny/stupid response to cancer
    I had a lady at my church come up to me, tug on my hair and say "well you still have your hair!".

    I can certainly relate to most of these especially the look.
    I can certainly relate to most of these especially the look. So what do YOU say to someone who has cancer that is comforting?
  • Mike49
    Mike49 Member Posts: 261
    More fun

    1) During a CT scan the tech told me a lengthy rendidition of his brothers misery with chemo and finally just letting himself die, he then asked me,"Do you have Kids"? "I said, yes two boys 9 and 12 and a stepdaughter 7", his reply "little ones, too bad".

    2) Giving my brother in law a ride to the mechanic, I shared that I had just finished my chemo, he said they didn't give you the strong stuff, you still have hair. FOLFOX and AVASTIN are strong stuff my feet and fingers remind me every day.

    3)My friend with lung cancer told me that on greeting a friend at Walmart, she was asked "what is it like to be dying of cancer.

    4)A Masters prepared nursing instructor told my wife, I wish I could have cancer for a little shile, you know to loose weight. The new Jenny Craig Grey Plan and you don't even have to buy the meals.


    Fun stuff
  • 2bhealed
    2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064
    Mike49 said:

    More fun

    1) During a CT scan the tech told me a lengthy rendidition of his brothers misery with chemo and finally just letting himself die, he then asked me,"Do you have Kids"? "I said, yes two boys 9 and 12 and a stepdaughter 7", his reply "little ones, too bad".

    2) Giving my brother in law a ride to the mechanic, I shared that I had just finished my chemo, he said they didn't give you the strong stuff, you still have hair. FOLFOX and AVASTIN are strong stuff my feet and fingers remind me every day.

    3)My friend with lung cancer told me that on greeting a friend at Walmart, she was asked "what is it like to be dying of cancer.

    4)A Masters prepared nursing instructor told my wife, I wish I could have cancer for a little shile, you know to loose weight. The new Jenny Craig Grey Plan and you don't even have to buy the meals.


    Fun stuff

    OMG!
    Unbelievable!
  • 2bhealed
    2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064
    2bhealed said:

    OMG!
    Unbelievable!

    Just remembered another one....
    This one was buried in my memory and just popped out right now....I thought I had forgiven him, but maybe not....


    When my sister came home from Mayo the first time after her surgery, radiation, and first sessions of chemo, I thought she looked really wonderful and was telling her so--color in her cheeks and life in her step-- and my BIL says (about his wife no less!!!), "She looks like a Bopal refuge" . Honest to God that came out of his mouth!

    I'm not even gonna start up on what I think of him.....forgive as I have been forgiven....forgive as I have been forgiven.....mantra for the day.

    peace, emily who has been known to say stupid things too
  • geotina
    geotina Member Posts: 2,111
    2bhealed said:

    Just remembered another one....
    This one was buried in my memory and just popped out right now....I thought I had forgiven him, but maybe not....


    When my sister came home from Mayo the first time after her surgery, radiation, and first sessions of chemo, I thought she looked really wonderful and was telling her so--color in her cheeks and life in her step-- and my BIL says (about his wife no less!!!), "She looks like a Bopal refuge" . Honest to God that came out of his mouth!

    I'm not even gonna start up on what I think of him.....forgive as I have been forgiven....forgive as I have been forgiven.....mantra for the day.

    peace, emily who has been known to say stupid things too

    you have got to be kidding
    Someone said to me, "Oh, my uncle died of that, is George going to die" Ummmm, not today but let me ask God and I will get back to you.

    What happens at Stage V, ummm don't know have to get back to you on that one.
  • laurie83833
    laurie83833 Member Posts: 63
    Just Shoot -
    When we found out Denny had Cancer and then decided to let the public and/our friends know.
    A few of the good ones we heard were -

    Oh no, both my parents died from Colon Cancer...

    But this one topped all that was said to us -

    If that ever happens to me I will just go out back and shoot myself!
  • SandyL
    SandyL Member Posts: 218

    Just Shoot -
    When we found out Denny had Cancer and then decided to let the public and/our friends know.
    A few of the good ones we heard were -

    Oh no, both my parents died from Colon Cancer...

    But this one topped all that was said to us -

    If that ever happens to me I will just go out back and shoot myself!

    I'm sure that we've all heard
    many of these comments. So, let's hear what you would want to hear....
    from a concerned friend, relative, etc. What is the correct thing to
    say? Just wondering as I'm racking my brain and can't come up with
    much that we would want to hear.
  • daydreamer110761
    daydreamer110761 Member Posts: 487
    SandyL said:

    I'm sure that we've all heard
    many of these comments. So, let's hear what you would want to hear....
    from a concerned friend, relative, etc. What is the correct thing to
    say? Just wondering as I'm racking my brain and can't come up with
    much that we would want to hear.

    I can't
    Think of anything that I would really want to hear! I guess that's why we all say things that actually sound stupid once you think about them! When I heard about my fiance's partner and her breast cancer, even having had cancer myself, I didn't know what to say, there isn't much of anything that is comforting when you find out. All I did say was wow, sorry to hear that. Cancer sucks, now lets talk about what you need to do next....

    Oh, and the first thing I did was talk about her hair (because she is definately going to loose it) and made her get rid of some of these weight watchers meals she's been eating for now. Told her that in less than a month, she is going to hate food anyway, so lets have some fun now while you can taste it!
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028

    I can't
    Think of anything that I would really want to hear! I guess that's why we all say things that actually sound stupid once you think about them! When I heard about my fiance's partner and her breast cancer, even having had cancer myself, I didn't know what to say, there isn't much of anything that is comforting when you find out. All I did say was wow, sorry to hear that. Cancer sucks, now lets talk about what you need to do next....

    Oh, and the first thing I did was talk about her hair (because she is definately going to loose it) and made her get rid of some of these weight watchers meals she's been eating for now. Told her that in less than a month, she is going to hate food anyway, so lets have some fun now while you can taste it!

    That's exactly what to say!!!
    What you said to her was honest, aknowledged the situation, but offered a fun alternative....BRAVO!

    Hugs, Kathi
  • Jacq03
    Jacq03 Member Posts: 9
    KathiM said:

    That's exactly what to say!!!
    What you said to her was honest, aknowledged the situation, but offered a fun alternative....BRAVO!

    Hugs, Kathi

    Thanks for the laugh!
    I am eight weeks post surgery. I heard so many of these...thanks for the laugh tonight. I actually have kept a great sense of humor through this. There is nothing better than butt jokes! I especially love when people ask "what kind" of cancer. Nothing shuts a conversation down like the colon!
  • Patteee
    Patteee Member Posts: 945
    the day after my fact
    the day after my fact finding colonoscopy, the one that found the cancer- the news is still hitting me in waves- I ran into my next door neighbor (who is a nut) and told him I have colon cancer. The first words out of his mouth, "OMG YOU AREN'T GOING TO DIE ARE YOU??"

    I paused, the look on his face was one of horror, and I finally said, "David, truly, I can not believe you actually said that". Then shook my head and walked away.
  • Kathryn_in_MN
    Kathryn_in_MN Member Posts: 1,252
    A week after surgery I was
    A week after surgery I was out on my walk and ran across a neighbor I hadn't seen for a while. She just had her first colonoscopy (age 50), and they found polyps. I told her my story, and that I was so glad she had her screening and they were able to take out polyps before they had a chance to possibly grow into a tumor like mine. She told me that she thinks it is a racket - "They just tell you they find polyps to make you keep coming back often and pay them more."

    After I admitted that I finally broke down and cried (many weeks into this whole ordeal) here is what a "friend" posted on my CaringBridge site:

    "Crying only helps sometimes. Don't do it lightly. Save your tears for when you really need them. I'm not saying you didn''t need to...I'm just saying, measure them"

    And here is another of her famous postings, and she wrote it following 3 separate posts over a week that I wrote, where I had not complained or said anything negative, and never said a word about having it worse than other people, or anything of the sort:

    "A lot of developments! When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis I didn't expect it to be a daily battle, but it is. One of the things that makes it easier is to consider the crosses other people have to bear. You might look at it that way, too. You will always find someone worse off. And for you, that might be something that person is quite accustomed to. In that case, soon you will find yoursel accustomed to what you are experiencing.
    As we used to say, keep on keeping on"


    It is a good thing she doesn't live close to me here in MN. My children want to strangle her. My friends want to strangle her. I'm tempted to strangle her myself...

    I'm still working on becoming "accustomed" to cancer and chemo. I think that is a great goal - NOT!!!!
  • Paula G.
    Paula G. Member Posts: 596
    Had to responed
    My sister-in-law said " I'm glad it isn't that bad" I said WHAT he is stage 4 ....
  • Hatshepsut
    Hatshepsut Member Posts: 335
    Clueless remarks...


    Only someone who knows the miserable experience my husband and I have had with Anthem could fully appreciate our entry into the "worst remark" contest:


    "At least you have good insurance."

    Hatshepsut
  • angellistic
    angellistic Member Posts: 3
    Stupid Things

    People respond inadequately because they feel out of place , and really do not know how to respond.. I was diagnosed with breast cancer.. Jesus died on the cross not only for our sins, but also for sickness and diseases..Surely He has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains...and by His stripes we are healed"; Isaiah 53: 4,5 .. and I know that God has healed me..and my response is God's word that no weapone formed against me shall prosper..Isaiah 54:17..God bless.
  • 2bhealed
    2bhealed Member Posts: 2,064
    uh huh
    My point exactly.
  • Shayenne
    Shayenne Member Posts: 2,342
    2bhealed said:

    uh huh
    My point exactly.

    Emily...
    whatcha drinking there? looks pretty tastey :)
  • jenni.lopez1984
    jenni.lopez1984 Member Posts: 1
    Stupid things people say to cancer survivors

    I am nearly 3 years out from stage 1A ovarian cancer. I had a complete hysterectory then 6 rounds of chemo.  I got so tired of walking out of the house and hearing my neighbors in that whiny tone along with a pitying hand on my shoulder  "OMG...are you okaaaaaaaaay?? How do you FEEEEEEEEEEL??"   What the hell difference does it make to you how I feel? What were you planning to do about it?

    My own cousin said to me "OMG...I am SOOOOO disappointed for you"...    Yeah...that's real encouraging

    And now that I am a little ways out, I still get remarks from my sisters in law, who have always wanted to feel superior. They say things like "you know...you're going to have this hanging over your head the rest of your life..."   Gee...thanks

    Or...."what meds are you taking for your cancer?" to which I replied after nearly 3 years.... "I don't have cancer." Or.."Wow, I bet you got REALLY depressed..."  Thanks for reminding me.    

     It got to be that very time I would see them, cancer was the first thing they wanted to talk about.  I avoid them like the plague now...don't need people in my life who bring me down.  Thanks for letting me vent...  

     

     

  • Phil64
    Phil64 Member Posts: 838
    Ok. I got a good one.
    I

    Ok. I got a good one.

    I posted on FaceBook that I won free pizza for a year. Someone posted a reply. That's yet another reason to live another year. Ha Ha ha. 

  • Lilypad50
    Lilypad50 Member Posts: 3
    New here

    I have been following your blogs for the past 6 months and feel like I know many of you.  I have found comfort here in the past, but not today.  I feel so angry, I registered so I could add my opinion as a caregiver for the 2nd time around.

    My husband has just finished 10 rounds of modified folfox6 chemo...he has colon cancer for the 2nd time (1st time 5 years ago--plasmoblastic lymphoma (stage 4, with a surprise adenocarcinoma)...discovered during surgery where they removed 3 feet of colon...suspected was just Krohn's disease-related.  NOT!!!! (chances of being alive in 5 years - less than 10%)

    Now 5 years later, he had another 2 feet 6 inches removed (suspected Krohn's-related--did not light-up on the PET scan)...surprise - adenocarcinoma in the small intestine, again.

    He is the bravest person I know.  He does not look ill, just a little more tired.  He has great color - non-gray.  He will beat this - it is not his time - the children and I still need him.  He is a warrior - I'm not sure I could handle everything he is going through .  He goes to work everyday--not a desk job, either!  He needs to hear these things.  If we (as caregivers/friends/family) don't say these things, you complain that we don't care or that we are not sensitive.

    Should I tell him that his dark circles make him look like a raccoon?  Should I tell him that he is thinner than ever?  Should I tell him colon cancer is a killer and his chances aren't great?  Do I pound into him that his risk for recurrence remains high because he has Krohn's disease?  Or should I let him live happy, feeling great, relieved this round of chemo is over and allow him to make future plans and feel excited about the future?  

    What should people say to those with cancer?  Oh, wow, what a bummer?  Yeah, I thought you looked ill for a while, now?  So, how long do they say you have to live?  You look great bald?  

    I find that people who have cancer become very self-centered and selfish.  Many of you justify this with "I don't have time for people who cause me stress...I don't sweat the small stuff anymore...I only do things I enjoy...and the list continues...

    You want to wave the cancer flag, but you don't want people to try to interact with you.  We don't know what you want to hear.  We do know that people are beating cancer and/or are surviving with it.  We do still need you to care about us and what we are going through.  Our lives are not less important than yours!   When you were diagnosed with cancer, our lives changed, too, forever!!!!  

    I am amazed by my husband and his strength.  He is my hero.  I tell him so every single day.  I admire his determination.  I gave him a high-five when his last treatment was finished.  We still high-five each other.  We still believe he is going to beat this.  He has many things he still wants to do.  Lucky for our family, they include us.  Many of you are only looking inside yourselves now.  Try to remember your friends/family/caregivers had hopes and dreams, too, before you got this awful disease.  You may only feel like doing what you want to do now, but we are still here, too.

    I thank you for listening.  I expect many angry backlashes.  That's ok...I am pretty tough...I am a caregiver.

    Best to all of you!

    Lily

     

     

     

     

  • Trubrit
    Trubrit Member Posts: 5,530 **
    Lilypad50 said:

    New here

    I have been following your blogs for the past 6 months and feel like I know many of you.  I have found comfort here in the past, but not today.  I feel so angry, I registered so I could add my opinion as a caregiver for the 2nd time around.

    My husband has just finished 10 rounds of modified folfox6 chemo...he has colon cancer for the 2nd time (1st time 5 years ago--plasmoblastic lymphoma (stage 4, with a surprise adenocarcinoma)...discovered during surgery where they removed 3 feet of colon...suspected was just Krohn's disease-related.  NOT!!!! (chances of being alive in 5 years - less than 10%)

    Now 5 years later, he had another 2 feet 6 inches removed (suspected Krohn's-related--did not light-up on the PET scan)...surprise - adenocarcinoma in the small intestine, again.

    He is the bravest person I know.  He does not look ill, just a little more tired.  He has great color - non-gray.  He will beat this - it is not his time - the children and I still need him.  He is a warrior - I'm not sure I could handle everything he is going through .  He goes to work everyday--not a desk job, either!  He needs to hear these things.  If we (as caregivers/friends/family) don't say these things, you complain that we don't care or that we are not sensitive.

    Should I tell him that his dark circles make him look like a raccoon?  Should I tell him that he is thinner than ever?  Should I tell him colon cancer is a killer and his chances aren't great?  Do I pound into him that his risk for recurrence remains high because he has Krohn's disease?  Or should I let him live happy, feeling great, relieved this round of chemo is over and allow him to make future plans and feel excited about the future?  

    What should people say to those with cancer?  Oh, wow, what a bummer?  Yeah, I thought you looked ill for a while, now?  So, how long do they say you have to live?  You look great bald?  

    I find that people who have cancer become very self-centered and selfish.  Many of you justify this with "I don't have time for people who cause me stress...I don't sweat the small stuff anymore...I only do things I enjoy...and the list continues...

    You want to wave the cancer flag, but you don't want people to try to interact with you.  We don't know what you want to hear.  We do know that people are beating cancer and/or are surviving with it.  We do still need you to care about us and what we are going through.  Our lives are not less important than yours!   When you were diagnosed with cancer, our lives changed, too, forever!!!!  

    I am amazed by my husband and his strength.  He is my hero.  I tell him so every single day.  I admire his determination.  I gave him a high-five when his last treatment was finished.  We still high-five each other.  We still believe he is going to beat this.  He has many things he still wants to do.  Lucky for our family, they include us.  Many of you are only looking inside yourselves now.  Try to remember your friends/family/caregivers had hopes and dreams, too, before you got this awful disease.  You may only feel like doing what you want to do now, but we are still here, too.

    I thank you for listening.  I expect many angry backlashes.  That's ok...I am pretty tough...I am a caregiver.

    Best to all of you!

    Lily

     

     

     

     

    Absolutely no 'angry backlashes' here

    I think this is a very well worded post, very thought provoking, and just as important to hear, as the posts from patients. 

    In fact, I think you should start a new thread, as this old post (2009) may not get so many views, and your post alone should be seen.

    I know we all, caregivers and patients, handle this diagnosis in a different manner, depending on our personalities. I personally like to be up-front and like to be treated that way. Others can't handle that. I remember not liking people telling me I looked great, when I knew I looked like death warmed over. If someone had just said something like 'Oh, not a good day, I see', I could hadnle that allot better, whereas, someone else would feel lifted if they were told they looked good when they obviously didn't.

    Its a hard thing.  I don't blieve I have become more selfish, probably because I am a pretty selfish person to start with. I will wave 'the flag' if I think it will show people that Stage IV isn't a death sentence, or at least an immedient a death sentence. I definitely take more time for myslef, but I also serve others and enjoy every moment of it.

    Anyway, a great post, worth its own thread. Think about it, and welcome to the forum. 

    Sue - Trubrit