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Just Venting

AnnieM939's picture
AnnieM939
Posts: 38
Joined: Aug 2006

Maybe these chemo treatments are making me cranky but I just feel like I have to vent today, so forgive me. Two things have really bugged me lately:

1. "You look good". Is anyone else tired of hearing that? I know people mean well but I have resorted to saying "thanks, how did I look before cancer?" Is that terrible? Again, I know people mean well but I guess I'm just chemo-cranky.

2. Survivor's Guilt - a coworker of mine asked me if I had survivor's guilt. I thought it was the right thing to say, so I said yes. When I really think about it, NO, I don't have survivor's guilt. Of course I feel for anyone who is going through any of this and I feel for their families/friends, but am I supposed to feel guilty because I am still alive? I have been battling (and battling hard) for almost 8 months now (between surgery and chemo and I am at Stage IV). On March 22, I start my 12th of 12 treatments and then Avastin maintenance. Should I feel bad that I am surviving (for now)? Am I a horrible person for feeling this way?

Sorry, took a sick day today and again, just wanted to vent. Please feel free to let me know if you think I'm a terrible person and I'll try to look at things with a new perspective.

lorriel
Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2007

You have every right to feel the way you do. this stuff takes a toll on your life. Just HANG in there..

themis01
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2005

I felt the same way with my mom. Even when she was 75 pounds people would say you look good. It is like they don't really know what to say. I am glad you do not have survivor's guilt. That is ridiculous! Keep fighting

Monicaemilia's picture
Monicaemilia
Posts: 455
Joined: Nov 2006

You have every right to feel this way. It is incredible the inappropriate things that are said by well-meaning people. In my case, it is usually my own family members. Sometimes I wish I had one of those sponge hands so that I could wack them with it. Then I calm down and I realize that they are having as hard a time with this as I am. Hang in there and don't worry so much about what is being said or how to respond, just take care of yourself. Monica

uni522's picture
uni522
Posts: 46
Joined: Dec 2005

I just had to reply. I work and live around a lot of those same "well-meaning" people. Sometimes you have to wonder if they THINK before they speak.

My husband doesn't work since he started his chemo. Not because he doesn't want to. He was an aircraft mechanic and the FAA won't let mechanics work on aircraft while on morphine. (personally, I like that rule!!) Some people say, "You look like you could be working? Why aren't you working?" I want to say back, "You look like you had something intelligent to say.. not today, I guess!"

I think half the time their comments are because they don't know HOW to talk to us.

You're a lot nicer than I am if you didn't tell that person at work, "I have as much guilt as you do. You know, the guilt you must feel because you don't have cancer...!"

Chin up, you're not a bad person because stupid people piss you off. I'm just glad they're where you are, too. I used to think stupid people and bad drivers followed me from state to state!! lol
Enjoy your day off! God bless and keep your perspective, it's yours, not theirs!!
~a little venting on my part, too!

foxy
Posts: 190
Joined: Oct 2005

Hi Annie, I went through 12 months of the old style chemo in 1994, and I felt like s**t, but I was constantly being told how well I looked. I usually managed to hold my tongue, but it was so so aggravating I felt like letting them have it !!!

I also think a lot of people just do not know what to say.

Have a great day off, and you have nothing to feel guilty about.

Virginia.

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1254
Joined: Jul 2005

Hi Annie -

I completely understand how you feel, but as you say, they mean well (and lots of people just don't know what to say.) My oncologist actually told me before I started chemo, that most colorectal patients look so good that no one can believe they are sick - so perhaps we get more than our share of the "you look good's".

I came to accept the "you look good" stuff (better than "you look bad", but the one that has always bugged me - even though I understand the good people who are asking - is "How ARE you?" It's ain't the same "HI - how are you" that happens in normal conversation. At first I sort of lock up, but then I remember they really mean well. If it is a good friend, then I go into details - if it's a casual someone, I just say "Fine" and let it go at that.

Take care,
Betsy

hopefulone
Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

Just let it roll off your back . People don't know what to say. Enjoy the day off and forget about it. If I was asked about survivors guilt , i'd turn around and ask them the same. Anybody who is alive on this earth is a survivor, I doubt if they feel guilty. ! Have a great nite.

HowardJ
Posts: 484
Joined: Jan 2005

It's ok to vent.

There's a great book I read when I was first diagnosed called, "Help Me Live, 20 Things People With Cancer Want You to Know", by Lori Hope (yes, it's really her last name). It covers stuff like you mentioned and worth a read.

Howard

CAMaura
Posts: 719
Joined: Feb 2005

You are so funny...thank you very much for your post. I know I needed to read it.

Someone who I know pretty well - or well enough that I see him on a business level twice a week at my Health Club - just recently stopped and stared at my stomach - specifically at my scar (which I think Is pretty great looking)...and for whatever stupid reason, I felt bad about myself. LORD! I wish I would have just broken the ice with a funny or sarcastic comment - instead of momentarily feeling like an alien...

People sometimes don't know what to do or say so they stick their foot in their mouth. I do know that I have a few friends who were incredibly sincere when they did say that I looked good. They knew I was (while in chemo) or just had been through hell and the were just happy to see me...I hope you have a feew of those people around you.

As for the guilt thing, I have never felt it - and I unselfishly say that I am not guilty about it! We have all had our private hell and we all work very hard to maintain our lives and work with what we have been given to make the best of every situation. You have battled just as hard as anyone else and no one has walked in your shoes...I think you can be very proud of yourself.
Again, thanks for sharing...I think we have all felt your feelings...
Take care and all the best - Maura

AnnieM939's picture
AnnieM939
Posts: 38
Joined: Aug 2006

Thanks Everyone

Guess I was really cranky. I have many people "rallying around me" and I guess some folks just don't know what to say. I'm relieved to hear that others feel and have experienced the same emotions.

Again, God Bless and let's continue to fight the good fight............AND WIN

Lucylu
Posts: 7
Joined: Mar 2007

annie- no one knows what to say but we can educate them you should be able to have your feelings and they are all okay. I don't think you are cranky at all you are going through something difficult and can't be expected to be all peaches and cream. my biggest problem was what people would say after I was diagnosed, things that indicated it was my fault-- because I'm an anxious person or because I told someone I exercised everyday so I could try and prevent cancer I was told "that's why you got it, it was in your mind all the time" mpst people are so afraid of getting cancer that they have to explain the dx by seeing as something you have total control over so they can say "that won't happen to me because I..."

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