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people with no clue

iluvmms's picture
Posts: 134
Joined: Aug 2009

Yesterday I had one heck of a day. I work with my sister, whom thinks she has more on her plate than anyone and is more stressed than anyone. She truly is a great person, she has a dog rescue group and family and works full time and is actually my boss. I am the person she seems to complain to and I usually just listen until yesterday..............She said something about having more problems than anyone and she just need to worry about herself and no one understands her problems. i usually listen well and just talk to her but it hit a sore spot yesterday I guess. I told her that for her to think her problems (they are not anything life changing) were the worst, she really need to think about that statement.

Then I found out that she and everyone else in my life and work think that because I had a liver resection, and the surgeon said I am cancer free that all of my problems are gone???? the fact that I have to do 6 mths of chemo, have scans every 3 months for now and 6 months for ever, worry about every cough, pain or poop, noone seems to realize all of this. They think this is all over. I tried to explain to my husband last night (he is the only one I complain to, everyone else I am upbeat Christy) all of my thoughts and I think he understands now.
I guess I am just needing to vent. to us cancer patients, this is never over.


pluckey's picture
Posts: 484
Joined: Jul 2009

Christy- You are where I was not too long ago.

to go from almost dead to cancer free is unlike anything most people go thru. any of us with cancer will struggle with the "after cancer", the scan anxiety, the idea that it will come back.

The very people who were our caregivers and supporters etc now look at us like, "OK, that nasty chapter is over, time to move on". For US, it'll be a different process. How do we conduct ourselves as grateful and happy and cancer free and figure out how to live with a new perspective?

And it wasn't until I read your other post about the oxycodone that I realized my overwhelming sadness and crying jags were probably due to that. I only took one a day for about 4 weeks post liver resection(March 17, 2010) but I was a crying blabbing mess.

People are only capable of so much empathy and understanding. It's not a pissing match or contest of who's live sucks worse right now, definitley all relative.

Take care.....


iluvmms's picture
Posts: 134
Joined: Aug 2009

How did u get passed this?? I am a mess right now. And we work together (my sister and I).

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4907
Joined: May 2005

The world is full of them.
They often need reality checks.

Many people have no idea that the world is full of people with more serious situation than most of then have or than any of us even have. Look at Darfur, I think being an American with cancer might be an upgrade to what they deal with every day.

It's good to vent.

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Human nature. Except when some big event, like a serious illness, teaches us to have more compassion for the world around us.

I remember, after my sister was diagnosed, having a hard time swallowing her barbs...she wanted a fight, just because she was so scared and miserable, and stated that HER cancer was so much worse than mine had been...sigh...

I try to live by the thought that I will not judge others and their situation, lest I be judged.

Why don't you try saying something like: "Wow! Sounds like you are over the top! Why don't you stop doing some of the things you are doing, if they are stressing you so?" Maybe she will tell you why she feels she must complain so much about her life....

Hugs, Kathi

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008


I can understand your anger and your hurt feelings, but I tell you what, people just don't KNOW until they've been through something like this. I've had similar responses from people after my husband was brought back from his sudden cardiac arrest. I think they believe I should just sing and dance all day long in gratitude. And I do, but it's balanced by the worry that it could happen again at any moment, will his defibrillator do its job, will people respond quickly enough, etc. There's just worry there that people can't fathom if being busy is all they've had to confront so far in life.

With my cancer diagnosis came new worry. Will I live to see my grandchildren grow up? Will it recur? Will I get another kind of cancer? On and on? I'm sure you know that story. And even though I was diagnosed at Stage 1, and some people feel like I had it easy (I know I did!) and have no future worries, that is not the case. I could get cancer again, and I do have chronic pain every day of my life since the operation.

It discourages me that people don't always understand or respond the way I would appreciate, but people are just made that way, I think. We all react differently to things, and it leads to misunderstandings and hurt feelings a lot of the time, but sometimes people are just caught up in their own story and can't accurately read yours.

I think Kathi had great advice. Maybe by offering your sister a bit of sympathy, she'll open up and then move on from her own worries. I hope so!

As you said, this is never over. So come back every day if you need to and vent!


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

"It discourages me that people don't always understand or respond the way I would appreciate, but people are just made that way, I think. We all react differently to things, and it leads to misunderstandings and hurt feelings a lot of the time, but sometimes people are just caught up in their own story and can't accurately read yours."

Well, Gail, you have it absolutely correct here. You are glued into the fabric of life with post. Very well said, and just wanted you to know it:)

Take care, Toots:)


tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5056
Joined: Feb 2008

Thank you, dear. I do my best!


John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

It's human nature to try to help a sufferer "feel better" by telling stories
of our own suffering.

"You're having trouble keeping up with the bills? You should see mine!
I have an electric bill that"
......yada yada yada.....

"You had surgery and now still feeling lousy? I've been totally exhausted
myself, after that bout I had last month with"
.....yada yada yada...

Our problems are not as big to anyone but ourselves. My cancer isn't
as bad as your's; your cancer isn't as bad as mine.

It's just human nature..... I got over it a long time ago...

(no I didn't; I never will)

Smile, there are bigger fish to fry.

Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2009

For awhile I thought I would just not be able to hang out with people who hadn't had/have cancer! I just didn't have the patience to listen to people whine about what seemed to me, to be such trivial issues. How could something possibly compare to what I'd been through...but then that makes me look like I think I'm special.
I have a friend that complains fairly constantly as well....and I just want to jump up and say HELLO.....I just had 1/2 of my liver removed.....last year I had 1/5 of my lung, etc.....but you know it is just IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to relate to us, except us! I just think to myself, how lucky they are, to only have to worry about the things on their plate, and not to have to worry about their next scan, the new pain, and what it could be, etc....
YEAH FOR THEM!!!! And THANK GOD for forums like this that remind us there IS someone who "gets it"!!

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Then I just shoot out the line "I was told I had 6 months to live, 5 years ago. So, unless I didn't get the e-mail, I consider myself good to go!" The shock value is priceless!

Hugs, Kathi

Posts: 489
Joined: Dec 2009

Now there is SOMETHING I love to hear Kathi!!


geotina's picture
Posts: 2118
Joined: Oct 2009

Like you, we could write a book. Crap like "oh he looks so good are you sure he is sick" what I want to say, is no, we been bs's you for a year, he runs around with a pump and tubbing attached to chest because we thought it was cool. One person I thought I was particulary close to when learning of George's Stage IV diagnosis said, "well, I hope he feels better". Yikes not what I expected to hear. Never heard from them in a year and then an e-mail pops out, "so what you been up to". Maybe I was wrong but I sent a scathing e-mail back, got a response, Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize. Still no phone call. Their e-maill addy, I put it in junk mail. Right now, if they showed up at my door I don't think I would open it, am I angry and hurt, you bet. Can I forgive them, right now, no. Who is this person, one of my drama queen sisters.

It is in every family. Sometimes you just to blow it off, better things to worry about. The rest of the family, unbelievably supportive in every way possible. So go ahead and vent most of us have been there, done that.

Take care - Tina

msccolon's picture
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

My first thought is at least after all my recurrences and chemo, the people in my life have stopped complaining to me! Then I read that others here, even with multiple recurrences, are still getting the "aren't you over it yet?" bit. I guess I see it with some of my church friends, I look so good, they are just assuming I have moved on, even with how close I came to seeing my mother again last year. I have to agree that sometimes it's just so hard for people to comprehend the trauma of what we're going through that it's easier to assume all is now well; after all, with the things in their life, things DO eventually work out, no matter how much they complain that they don't. They just can't comprehend what it would be like to be dealing with cancer on a daily basis, and thank God they can't! Sometimes a well placed sympathetic nod or hmmmmmm is all that's necessary to get the complainer to move on. I also like Kathi's comment about being told she had 6 months to live 5 years ago; sometimes a well placed comment matter of factly reminding the complainer about how hard it's REALLY been for you is all that's necessary to get them to stop as well! For some people, though, they just don't hear what's coming from others, it's all about them, and for them, it's not worth it to get upset; they won't notice anyhow! Sucks when the complainer is your boss, since you can't very well avoid them, but maybe in her case a well placed comment about some horrible experience you've had can get her to start directing her complaining to a more sympathetic ear! Good luck with that! :)

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

Take yourself out of the picture for a moment, because in that moment she probably was not thinking about you, she was thinking about herself and the problems she was facing that day, If it was my sister (any 1 of 4), I probably would have said, do you need too talk? Do you need one of my pils, they work really well. :-) My sisters.... We are all high strung and speak our mind. I can say that they have really been there for me when I needed them. They have always looked up to me, as I was the one that moved away, and I was the youngest......I'm now that I am acting more like myself and so are they. I'm listening to their problems with their kids, husbands, whatever...and I know they haven'ny forgetten me, they just need to vent too.

Not sure if this helps any, but I don't normally think, act, walk like I have cancer. It does not hurt, that people may forget where I've been, I only hope that they think of where I'm going, NOWHERE..... :-)

Hang in there!

greybeard64's picture
Posts: 254
Joined: Mar 2010

I got one for you. When I had my third recurrance, I knew it was there even before the scan which we had done jsut before the holidays. We celebrate with an event called Thanksmas, its a way for more of our extended families to get together between Thanksgiving and Christmas as those days are so full already there was no way we could all get together on the actuall date. We (my wife) and I kept the news to ourselves as we didnt want others thinking about Cancer instead of the joy of getting together as a family and all that goes with it. The following week I called my girls to the house to tell them, my mother in law was there and we really wanted to wait until she went home, but the grandbaby was getting cranky and my oldest was getting ready to go shortly so.... I told them that the cancer was back and that it appeared my liver was now involved. Not a healthy prognosis. I told them what the Onc had said etc....
Before any of my three daughters could say anything, my mother-in-law actually started rambling about how her old boyfriend. I think they dated for two months about 6 months earlier. He had just about tore her world in two when he broke things off, and how miserable she was and.... My middle daughters head snapped towards her Grandmother with a look of complete shock.I made eye contact with each of my daughters with a look of "dont do it" on my face.
I listened to this for about 30 seconds my tongue bleeding from the clamping down of my teeth upon it, and then I had to leave the room. I was about to say something that while it may have been more then appropriate would have left a nasty scar on our relationship and therefore would have had a negative effect on my entire family. I stayed upstairs until she left unable to trust myself in her company.
A bit of history; My wifes father had a very rare Kidney disease which hit him at an early age. When my wife was around five she (mom-n-law) became sole supporter of my wifes family and was an amazing caregiver to her husband. He survived through two transplants the first back in the day when transplants were no where near as successful as they are now. He passed away around ten years ago. My wifes only sibling (her sister) developed the same thing and passed actually before he did from a whole series of complications. This woman has, to put it simply, been through hell.
She cared for her husband, provided for her daughters, and then watched the man she loved and her oldest child pass on.
You would think..well maybe not but to my amazement it seems she is now in a competetion with the only daughter she has left, my wife, for who has the suckiest life. My wife refuses to play the game.
I tell you this because it seems that no matter where in the spectrum you are from clueless, to care giver, to cancer warrior, to survivor we all can fall victim to the "oh woe is me! attitude wrapped up in our own little world we become oblivious to the effect that it has on those around us.
I was and am able to look past this event and the other little ones that always come around at some point by trying to understand what a crappy set of cards she was dealt and that I am convinced she is oblivious to what she is doing to her daughter, granddaughters, and anyone else in her life.
I have learned to try to give people the benefit of the doubt its actually easier now then when I was younger and healthy myself. I just keep telling myself its not that they are mean spirited people, the poor things are just STUPID!!
So now I have made it a point to turn what could have been a family crisis had I said or did want I wanted so badly to say at the time into a lesson for me. I will not become one of THEM. I also had a long talk with my girls and my wife about it, how I felt, and how I would hope that they could also keep things in a perspective that allowed them a relationship with there Grandma.

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