Do you have cancer????

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sinai
sinai Member Posts: 24
How do you guys handle people that you don't even know personally asking you if you have cancer? I work at a clinic discharging patients, scheduling appointments, answering the phones etc. an average of 60 people come to the clinic every day. For the most part they just stare at with my scarf and then leave. Today I had 2 patients ask me straight up if I had cancer, I ignored one of them and continued speaking about something else, the other one I said no I just used bandanas because I like them. One lady just stared at me and then asked my coworker if I had cancer, with me being next to her and hearing everything. I don't know what to answer, I don't want to be rude but I don't feel comfortable telling them I have cancer. Have you guys ever had that happen to you? What do you do?

thanks, Gabby

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  • mamolady
    mamolady Member Posts: 796 Member
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    It's like a secret handshake
    I really don't mind people asking. I do mammos for a living and see all kinds of cancer survivors at work. It is also like running into some one that speaks english when you are visiting Russia. There is a language and a comfort we share as survivors. If it is just curiosity, I would rather they ask than just stare.
    It is easier than people telling me how cute my hair looks! My hair is only a couple of inches long so I feel like its obvious I just finished chemo.
    Cindy
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
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    Depending on how you feel
    Depending on how you feel about the personality or the person asking, you have multiple answers. For example, and with a BIG grin: "What was your first clue?" Or, " I used to, but now I'm in treatment." Or, "I sure hope not!" Or, "Thanks for asking, kinda makes it real, doesn't it?" Or, "Nope, not anymore I don't!" etc etc!

    People are so unpredictable~ we just have to roll with the punches and unless someone is really obviously rude and out of line, just take it as human curiosity and maybe even that they care!

    Hugs,
    Chen♥
  • Rague
    Rague Member Posts: 3,653 Member
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    Personally when I was 'sans
    Personally when I was 'sans hair' I would much rather that someone would have asked an honest question rather than just stareing at me. It's a great time to educate people. Somebody just stares at me makes me wonder if I fogot to button my shirt, have it on bsackwards or have horns growing out of my head or whatever. I will/would not be rude to others by ignoring them because they don't know/understand something. I wound up talking to kids several times in WalMart explaining 'things' to them after a child had shown fear/apprehension with the parents approval.

    I am an IBC Survivor and there is nothing to be ashamed of at all - I'm one of the lucky ones and if I can pass any small amount of info on that might help someone in the years ahead then I'll do it in a heart beat.

    I'm an IBC SURVIVOR! I'll talk to anybody - I have nothing to be ashamed of or hide!

    How I feel - though not all do appartently.

    Susan
  • Megan M
    Megan M Member Posts: 3,000
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    Rague said:

    Personally when I was 'sans
    Personally when I was 'sans hair' I would much rather that someone would have asked an honest question rather than just stareing at me. It's a great time to educate people. Somebody just stares at me makes me wonder if I fogot to button my shirt, have it on bsackwards or have horns growing out of my head or whatever. I will/would not be rude to others by ignoring them because they don't know/understand something. I wound up talking to kids several times in WalMart explaining 'things' to them after a child had shown fear/apprehension with the parents approval.

    I am an IBC Survivor and there is nothing to be ashamed of at all - I'm one of the lucky ones and if I can pass any small amount of info on that might help someone in the years ahead then I'll do it in a heart beat.

    I'm an IBC SURVIVOR! I'll talk to anybody - I have nothing to be ashamed of or hide!

    How I feel - though not all do appartently.

    Susan

    Well
    You could just say to them "Why would you ask me that?" That way, it puts them in the spotlight to explain why they asked in the first place.

    I don't think anyone is trying to be rude or mean. I believe that they are more just sympathetic or can relate to having cancer and/or are concerned about you.

    I always give everyone the benefit of the doubt. People that haven't had bc or any kind of cancer just don't 'get it' and never will. So, I guess we have to be a little tolerant of their behavior at times.


    Hugs to you,

    Megan
  • sinai
    sinai Member Posts: 24
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    Rague said:

    Personally when I was 'sans
    Personally when I was 'sans hair' I would much rather that someone would have asked an honest question rather than just stareing at me. It's a great time to educate people. Somebody just stares at me makes me wonder if I fogot to button my shirt, have it on bsackwards or have horns growing out of my head or whatever. I will/would not be rude to others by ignoring them because they don't know/understand something. I wound up talking to kids several times in WalMart explaining 'things' to them after a child had shown fear/apprehension with the parents approval.

    I am an IBC Survivor and there is nothing to be ashamed of at all - I'm one of the lucky ones and if I can pass any small amount of info on that might help someone in the years ahead then I'll do it in a heart beat.

    I'm an IBC SURVIVOR! I'll talk to anybody - I have nothing to be ashamed of or hide!

    How I feel - though not all do appartently.

    Susan

    Susan it's not that I am
    Susan it's not that I am ashamed to have cancer or hiding it, I just don't feel comfortable. I am not a very outgoing person I don't know if that has anything to do with it, I know they don't ask me to make me feel bad.
  • grams2jc
    grams2jc Member Posts: 756
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    sinai said:

    Susan it's not that I am
    Susan it's not that I am ashamed to have cancer or hiding it, I just don't feel comfortable. I am not a very outgoing person I don't know if that has anything to do with it, I know they don't ask me to make me feel bad.

    Our work situations sound similar
    I decided it was easier to get a human hair wig and have my stylist color and cut it to look very much like the way I was wearing my hair at diagnosis. I just didn't want the attention and that wig fooled so many people. I only talked about it to people who had been seeing me at my job for quite some time and I felt like I "knew" Because a former employee returned during my treatment there were some questions about where I was and what was going on but they were easily deflected unless I wanted to tell. Since I have stopped wearing my wig (5 weeks Thursday) I have had many compliments on my "haircut", I usually just say thank you. I told 1 lady and she said she would have never guessed. Sooo, the attention went to the hair not the cancer..easier that way.

    Good luck, I hope you figure out what works for you, the wig worked best for me,

    Jennifer
  • laughs_a_lot
    laughs_a_lot Member Posts: 1,368 Member
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    where I work
    I am to not let on that I have cancer as I work in a mental health home. I also thing that my diagnosis occurred right after a co worker got murdered by her boyfriend. This was hard on the clients. Knowing I have cancer would make them wonder if they are going to lose me too. There are also those who would use my illness to try and get away with difficult behaviors though most of them are not this way. None of them have asked and I have been wearing a hat daily.
  • skipper54
    skipper54 Member Posts: 936 Member
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    where I work
    I am to not let on that I have cancer as I work in a mental health home. I also thing that my diagnosis occurred right after a co worker got murdered by her boyfriend. This was hard on the clients. Knowing I have cancer would make them wonder if they are going to lose me too. There are also those who would use my illness to try and get away with difficult behaviors though most of them are not this way. None of them have asked and I have been wearing a hat daily.

    best of both worlds I guess
    I was very up front with people when I was diagnosed. I asked for prayers and felt it was only fair to let people know what was going on. I would also rather have someone ask than just stare! I had that issue for a while. People would stare or look through me. Then a clerk at Staples asked what kind of cancer I was in treatment for and when I told her breast cancer she replied that she was a survivor and would pray for me. She made my day! I was tired and frustrated and tired of people giving me funny looks. I guess it might get tough on a daily basis and I'm sorry you have to go through that. I hear where you're coming from. I wasn't always the most outgoing person either and it can be uncomfortable.
  • disneyfan2008
    disneyfan2008 Member Posts: 6,583 Member
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    not cancer related
    but My daughter when about 12 was going through tests thinking epileptic (SP?) she had all the wires attached to he head and wrapped in gauze-someone came up to her in store and said OH YOU have cancer! FIRST of all a child-2nd stranger-3rd hurtful not knowing if she did or how she is handling it..

    Denise
  • Tkitty
    Tkitty Member Posts: 56
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    not cancer related
    but My daughter when about 12 was going through tests thinking epileptic (SP?) she had all the wires attached to he head and wrapped in gauze-someone came up to her in store and said OH YOU have cancer! FIRST of all a child-2nd stranger-3rd hurtful not knowing if she did or how she is handling it..

    Denise

    questions
    I think I would rather a person ask than stare. Most of the people who asked me if I had cancer were ones who also had had cancer or who had a relative who had or was battling cancer.
    I didn't mind them asking. I also had people who said " I didn't know you were sick". Well, I didn't feel sick, but neither did I go around telling everybody I had cancer either. I found people, for the most part, to be kind and caring.
  • Solange49
    Solange49 Member Posts: 10
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    Gabby
    Hi Gabby,

    I can understand how uncomfortable it can be. I have 2 wigs but it's been so hot here that I just prefer wearing a scarves all the time. I've only had a handful of people actually ask me if I have cancer. I do get quite a few stares. Sometimes it doesn't bother me, other times when I'm not feeling well I hate it. Or they just look through you. My boyfriend says I should snatch my scarf off one day and say "There...Is That Better". Lol ...he keeps me laughing. I know most people truly mean well.

    Diana
  • Solange49
    Solange49 Member Posts: 10
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    Solange49 said:

    Gabby
    Hi Gabby,

    I can understand how uncomfortable it can be. I have 2 wigs but it's been so hot here that I just prefer wearing a scarves all the time. I've only had a handful of people actually ask me if I have cancer. I do get quite a few stares. Sometimes it doesn't bother me, other times when I'm not feeling well I hate it. Or they just look through you. My boyfriend says I should snatch my scarf off one day and say "There...Is That Better". Lol ...he keeps me laughing. I know most people truly mean well.

    Diana

    Oh
    Oh....I also meant to say I have walked past women who have giving me "knowing" looks and nods. And i know that they've been through the same thing without speaking a word. :)

    Diana