Other people's perception

bpcbrinks Member Posts: 31
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Does anyone else have the problem with friends (and others) having a perception of you that is not correct? I have gotten to the point where I don't like letting others know any "new" developments because they think (and almost expect ) the worst.

Last spring I found out that the BC had spread to my bones but we only found one spot in my hip. I was told that this was a little odd because usually with bone mets you have more than one spot. So my doctor and I were basically just waiting until the other spots showed up. Well they finally did (on three vertabrae) and even though I am not having any pain with it, when others had asked about my health I told them the latest findings. Now I hear through the grapevine that the rumor is the my health has gotten "alot worse".
I understand that they are ignornant to the ins and outs of cancer (so was I until I got diagnosed), but I would think that the people talking would at least ask me. I have been probably more active in the last year than I have been in a long time. I have a five yr old son that keeps me busy and I have no plans of slowing down -- for a really long time.
I feel that I get left out of things and not included because those people think I am on my death bed.
Any suggestions?


  • nancyeob
    nancyeob Member Posts: 19
    As you said, even you didn't know the ins and outs of cancer. Even in this day and age THE BIG C scares so many people as they think there is only one outcome to this disease. It was very interesting for me to watch strangers reaction to me when I was out and about. People would look and then move away, like it was contagious or something. But it was something my daughter said to my son when he asked if she wasn't embarrassed to be with me in a public place. She told him that she was not embarrassed, she was proud to be with me. She told him that it was such a positive statement being with me and that I was dispelling all the uneducated truths about this disease.
    Ignore the rumors. You know that a positive outlook is the best medicine you can have. People are afraid to ask you about your health. They more than likely fear they wouldn't know what to say if you did give them bad news. Maybe you should start the conversation if you want to keep these people in your life. "Hey, guess what my Doctor told me at my last appointment" might be a way to start and hopefully after that they'll be able to ask you what is going on.
    You'll be in my prayers,
  • I_will_survive
    I_will_survive Member Posts: 31
    When you told the others about the latest developments, did you make it clear that the findings were not a death sentence? When people hear that cancer has spread, they usually expect the worst. Cancer is still the Big "C" and still a scary thing to hear about. So maybe just additional explanation is needed. People are sometimes unsure of how to talk to ones with cancer so we have to be the ones to educate. We have to be the ones to assure others and initiate the conversation at times. Hope this makes sense and helps a bit.
  • kcbh
    kcbh Member Posts: 8
    Yes I have the same problem with no reason. My dx was very early, I was very lucky. I became so tired of people saying, with great surprise, "You look good?! or just staring at my chest. I bleached my hair for a whole new look. It cheered me up. Whether it's correct or not, I attribute their surprise to my new look :). My mother-in-law (who did not contact me or her son for 5 weeks after my dx) now sends me an occasional get well card, for the terminally ill??? My son wants to explain things to her. I hope I've stopped him by explaining he won't be able to change a very stubborn 80 year-olds mind. I'm afraid she'll plant seeds of doubt in his. Try not to let ignorance get you down.
  • pattyrg
    pattyrg Member Posts: 16
    I have been finished with treatments for about 2 months and have recovered from my elective 2nd mastectomy. People still ask how I am doing, with great concern. I answer them just as I did while I was in treatment, and I I'm thinking you could do the same.

    Not everyone is entitled to (or even wants) a specific medical update. Your attitude when replying will set the tone of discussion. Say things like, "Some days are better than others" "Today's a good day, I did blah, blah, blah." "It's so nice of you to ask; I'm doing fine."

    Of course, there are people who need and you want to know the exact situation - your intimate support group. Beyond the edges of that group, don't be as specific. I believe it will relieve some of your stress as well as theirs. I wanted people to accept me as I was that day, and on bad days they didn't see me!

    Consider joining in a chat room and asking your question there. I'm sure you will get some interesting responses.