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Co-worker - need to vent a bit

sfan428's picture
Posts: 32
Joined: Jun 2010

I apologize, but I need to vent for a minute and I am sure that some of you can relate. Anyway, I just finished my fifth round of FOLFOX w/ Avastin (one more round to go ... woo hoo) on Wednesday and had absolutely no desire to even attempt to climb out of bed yesterday. I send a quick email out to my colleagues explaining that I was not feeling to hot, but would be working remotely and would be available if needed. One of my co-workers replies with "geez, you get away with so much ... catch you later". Seriously? Feeling a bit a upset by her comments, I reply with "Well, perhaps one day, god willing, you will get cancer and be able to enjoy a few days off as well". So anyway, I come in to the office this morning and she in a very snide tone says "Your reply yesterday was completely uncalled for, I was just kidding". I just chuckled, shook my head and walked away. I really can't believe people. I, of course, wish no one would have to deal with this crap, but I also wanted her to realize that if I had my choice I would have certainly rather been in the office. Ok, I'm done ... I feel a little better.


geotina's picture
Posts: 2122
Joined: Oct 2009

First, congrats on working thru your treatments. My hubby did the same so I know firsthand how difficult it can be.

Your co-worker sounds like my sister, when I told her George had Stage IV cancer she actually said, well, I hope he feels better, like he had the flu or a cold. Some people are just self centered on themselves and will never change.

Next time you are out to lunch or something with some of your co-workers that have been understanding, tell them thanks, treatment has been rough. I'm guessing your co-workes would not look too favorably on her comment.

Her comments were hurtful and that is soooo unacceptable, to be deliberately hurtful to someone undergoing cancer treatment, what was this woman thinking.

If this broad continues along these tracks, ignore her and ask HR to intervene, that she is making your treatment very difficult with her comments. HR does not like to hear these things.

Take care and ignore her, she is not worth it.

Hugs - Tina

karguy's picture
Posts: 1024
Joined: Apr 2009

I'm glad you feel better,it's never easy to go thru the treatments,then have someone act like that.Just tell her that if she ever gets sick,you will be happy to give her blood if she needs it.

christinecarl's picture
Posts: 545
Joined: Sep 2009

Ugh that is a stupid comment and instead of apologizing to you when she had the chance, she was still being stupid. I agree with taking it to HR.

It sort of reminded me of a comment that a coworker made to me after I was first diagnosed, I was talking about the cancer diagnoses and she rudely states, "well everyone has to die from something" I just looked at her and said "it is different when you are facing it" I had another coworker same the same thing another time, I just have to shake my head thinking, how would you feel if you had your Dr tell you this news? Would you really just shake it off and go, Oh well I knew one day I would die?

I am sure there are many of us that have had to deal with rude comments from people and I am interested it what others have to post regarding this topic and how they handled it.

abrub's picture
Posts: 2149
Joined: Mar 2010

Beth was being treated for advanced breast cancer, and during chemo weeks, would only work half days, as she was too sick and tired to work longer hours.

Her colleague: "You're so lucky that you get to take so much time off." I couldn't believe it - same thing as just happened to you, Shane.

You have every right to feel peeved, and I think your response was on target. If hers was a joke, then she should have been able to see the "humor" in your comment.

PS - my lucky friend Beth died a few months later - about 3 months before I learned that I was joining our "elite ranks" of cancer patients/survivors.

Posts: 1154
Joined: Jun 2010

People are so insensitive.

Posts: 3692
Joined: Oct 2009

You are almost there, congrats! Your co-workwer is very insensitive. I have shocked in my own journey to hear some insensitive remarks from people. I remember some time ago we had a whole thread on the insensitve + shocking things people have said to all of us. It can help to know you are not alone, but to think there are that many insensitive people around is scary!

Posts: 157
Joined: Jan 2011

I truly believe people that don't have cancer or no someone with cancer can not comprehend what is happening. At first I discribed my son as being sick and he quickly explained he was NOT sick, he had a disease. Try to forgive the ignorance of people. Cancer sucks and I pray that most people never have to feel what we as victims have to go through.
Be Happy in the moment, and try to forgive those who are ignorant.


pepebcn's picture
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010


Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3355
Joined: Jan 2010

Suggested response to those who make such unfeeling comments:

I forgive you your ignorance and hope that neither you nor anyone you love comes to know the physical, emotional and financial effects of having Cancer.

Marie who loves kitties

P.S. Ignorance is defined as lack of knowledge

RickMurtagh's picture
Posts: 586
Joined: Feb 2010

burn her at the stake - she is obviously a witch. I am glad you are over it. Getting over things and not holding grudges always puts me in a better place - eventually.

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

Most joking around, is not joking at all. You are covered by Hipaa laws and she shouldn't even be making her statements. If you are taking intermittent FMLA, that could be bad for the Company. Start documenting. Start saving every email that deals with your illness. Take notes and file it away, should you need it!

Believe me, I know first hand.

Kathleen808's picture
Posts: 2361
Joined: Jan 2009

I'm glad you are almost done with your treatments. Yes, your coworker was wayyyyyy out of line and as others said probably crossed some HR rules. I think your reply was spot on.


lizzydavis's picture
Posts: 893
Joined: May 2009


They can never know or understand unless they have been there. You know what you are dealing with and it isn't a picnic. Keep your spirits up and take the high road.

Kind regards,

plh4gail's picture
Posts: 1238
Joined: Oct 2010

Shane that was a rude sarcastic comment that she made. She should be ashamed of herself for not knowing better. Take care friend.


herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

Yeppers, I loved your response, totally perfect. Wow, talk about an insensitive uncaring co-worker.
Glad you got to vent, we all need to now and then again.
My husband likes to tell me I'm cured of cancer since my surgery, there is no convincing him otherwise, ignorance is in the smartest of people (he's an electrical engineer), sigh.
Winter Marie
PS, no apology was necessary for venting, that's what we actually are all here for, education, love and venting, you were spot on(hmm, did I steal the "spot on" from Cheryl? If this was an English essay, I would have to show her as "work cited".

Vickilg's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: Jan 2011

Hi there... I know I go against what is being said here but I really think your coworker was just treating joking and treating you like a "normal" person. Humor can help you get through the hard times and being treated "normal" helps a lot. My friends and I will joke about me having chemo head and things like that. It helps take the edge off of a serious situation. For me... I love and cherish when people treat me normal and not with kid gloves. When they treat me all tender it makes me feel weak. Oddly, I look at your coworkers comment as one of faith that you are going to beat this and they are just teasing you. God bless people that treat those with cancer as still alive humans. Also, just because someone has cancer doesn't give them the right to be mean and wishing someone else had cancer is just wrong.

Hang in there and I hope you are having better days. Big hug!

Posts: 157
Joined: Jan 2011


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

I think one knows a co worker better then any else can, a joke is usually followed by lol or, teasing you...but the point has been made.. I however, don't wish cancer on anyone. She was insensitive and could get herself and the Company in lots of trouble. Sorry, MS HR here.

geotina's picture
Posts: 2122
Joined: Oct 2009

You are spot on. When George called in a few times while on Folfox, he did get a few messasges on his phone from work, they were along the lines of "sorry you are feeling bad, need me to do anything for you on this end just let me know". Thats what a caring co-worker does and George is so very lucky, he has a room full of them.

Hugs - Tina

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sharpy102's picture
Posts: 370
Joined: Apr 2009

@Sfan428: Although I understand where you are coming from, but...I still feel it was a bit of "out of thinking reaction". My dad used to tell me when I was little that count to three and if you still think it is worth saying then say it. Although, your co-worker definitely didn't think until to three, neither did you. Don't take me wrong please, I understand how it can come out when someone leaves you a note how you get away with things so easily. She should've indicated to you at the first place that this is just a sour joke, no intention of hurting you, or insulting you in any way. On the other hand, I would've not replied what you replied...it's way too harsh. Maybe you could have asked why she wrote what she wrote. Probably you would've found out pretty quickly whether she was just joking, or not, and probably that way she would've realized that maybe this is a joke that is not funny at all. Anyway, if I were you, I would go up to her and say sorry for my response, and tell her that this is a very sensitive subject of yours; you cannot explain how painful and crap it is to go through chemo, and you just overreacted of her message. She'll probably do the same (if she is normal) and tell you that she is sorry for her comment, she really wasn't thinking it through and you had every right to "snap back" the way you did; it makes sense. Hm? I know, easier said than done...but...I'm very much the opposite...I really avoid conflicts even if it means personal sacrifice. I just avoid them and try to always stay "on ground" and resolve the differences I may have, or someone may have created...
Best of luck to you! And congratulations on finishing off Avastin and Folfox. I really hope this also going to be shown by your PET/MRI scan how the tumors died back! Best to you!
Your friend,

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