CSN Login
Members Online: 6

You are here

How to not talk about cancer?

barbebarb's picture
Posts: 464
Joined: Oct 2011

Trying to reach out and ask how do you direct friends or family members not to
state platitudes as support?
I will find out the next plan for my reoccurence this week and am trying to be
strong and keep fearful feelings at bay but it is hard. Maybe I am too sensitive.
I try to keep explanations of my current health concise (too complicated to explain and don't want to at times!)
but I guess some friends are trying to say the right thing and I must realize this.
Feel like my head is filled with how will I handle a new treatment plan, more compressed time to get my house in order after being sick for 10 months then back to work!
Its all so consuming I could scream.
I ride my bike or walk and it does calm me.Thank you for letting me share.
Just wondering how you get cancer off your mind at times.
There is a need to express how I feel about what is happening but its a very small group of friends and my young adult children.

Is any of this making sense?

LivinginNH's picture
Posts: 1458
Joined: Apr 2010


When well meaning friends and co-workers asked me how Rick was doing, I just smiled and said, "We're just taking things one day at a time", then I quickly changed the subject. They usually get the hint. And as for me personally, the only place that I've found people who truly understand what you are going through emotional and physically, are right here on this board. These are the most wonderful friends in the world.

Love you all,

dmj101's picture
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2011

Let me know if you find out..
I wonder this same question.. it feels like the elephant in every room I walk into. but I think is it my sensitivity and not others insensitivity.. People in general terms are caring and want to offer help.. I just feel wierd.
I try to make a short statement and then finish with.. but otherwise all is well and now how are you? Everyone loves to speak about themself...
Good Luck...

Doc_Hawk's picture
Posts: 685
Joined: Jan 2012

When I don't feel like talking about it, I tell them "we could sit here and discuss the vast distances in space and neither of us can understand it because we haven't been there. So talking about what I'm going through is sort of the same way. You haven't been there so you just can't imagine what I'm going through." That usually changes the subject pretty quick.

Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

I struggle with the same thing. My husbands cancer (and cancer in general) is always on my mind. Steve does not focus on it much. Just goes about living his life. I'm consumed by his illness. We have many friends and relatives who are very concerned for him. After every onc appointment or scan etc, we are flooded with phone calls. Everyone wants to know how it went. I realize that they love us and mean well, but it irritates me. I am bombarded with difficult questions at work, as well. Up until Steve's diagnosis, we worked together. When a co-worker inquires about him I would like to say, "mind your own business". I think I will follow Cynthia's lead and reply with the same general response and hope that people take the hint. I know that I should feel lucky to have people in our life who care. If no one asked about him I would likely be ticked off too. LOL. Thank God for this web site and for all the people here who really get it.

Good luck with your new treatment plan.


joemetz's picture
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2011


I do a blog post to CaringBridge to keep people updated.

here's a copy of my blog: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/joemetzger

its perfect for getting the word out, without all the calls to my wife or I.

I must say, that I often find myself wanting to talk about it more... but i think that's just me. but, there are times when i feel like its all that's on my mind and times when i wish i could forget all about it... but i can't.

friends and family really want to know as much as they can... and they ARE very concerned.
also some might feel its an interuption of privacy. but, poeple truly care.


Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

Thanks for that information, Joe. I know what you mean about wanting to talk about it at times. I go to Steve's chemo sessions with him. While there, I love to talk to other chemo recipients. I enjoy exchanging information and sharing details. It' s a great way to learn. I guess I just feel more comfortable talking to people who are going through the same thing. I will check out Caringbridge.



tachilders's picture
Posts: 313
Joined: Jun 2012

Caring bridge is a great tool to keep "the masses" informed of your health status. My wife has taken on the responsibility of maintaining my site. I have a few friends and family members that I call directly to tell them how I am doing and after my major appointments (CT scans, procedures, etc..). I have found this is the easiest way to keep everyone informed w/out having to repeat myself all the time. Facebook also works well, and my sister usually updates my status on there after I talk to her...

Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3346
Joined: Jan 2010

How your relationships were before cancer can influence how they are after the diagnosis.

Sopmeone once told me that when someone asks "how are you doing?" they really don't want a detailed answer.

Asses your relationship with the folks that you interact with and ask how you are doing. Some will fall into the 'causal' group and for them a 'doing fine today' will suffice. For those where the relationship is deeped, still keep it fairly non-detail...like 'treatments are making me a bit tired'. If they truely want to know more, they will ask another question. Then it will be time to let them know just how much you want to discuss.

It is never rude to tell people that you have to deal with this so much of the time, that you really just want to enjoy their company and not think about it for a while.

In the beginning I found that I had to put limits on my thinking...that is when worries, concerns, etc. were lurking, I would consciously only allow myself a certain amount of time to dwell on it. Then I would find something mind numbing to do like reading or watching a movie...something to keep the other thoughts in the background. It took practice, but did help.

Hugs to you,

Marie who loves kitties

barbebarb's picture
Posts: 464
Joined: Oct 2011

This is great advise and I so appreciate it.
Needed some ideas on how to handle the inquiries etc.
I am probably my own wosrse enemy at times and need to set time limits on thoughts. Its getting better. I tell myself its less time to enjoy
and try to move to the next task.
It feels good to fall in to someone else's world, too, and hate when they say its nothing compared to what you are going through. Guess you have to expect those comments.
Yes, everyone here is caring and understanding!
Thank you!

Helen321's picture
Posts: 1409
Joined: May 2012

Hey Barb! Just popping on for my monthly check in. Tonight at a family holiday party I went to help clear the table and was told that "I am not allowed to do that, sit down" by several people. I said "why my cancer is in my "bleep" not in my hands". That pretty much shut everyone up. It was meant to be funny and not derogatory and I'm glad I said it because it broke the tension which you could have cut with a piece of thread. Let me know if you find out the answer because whenever I walk into a room, everyone is thinking and talking about cancer.

YoVita's picture
Posts: 590
Joined: Mar 2010

We're all different and have different needs to communicate at different stages of our own journeys. When I was first diagnosed, I shared details with family members and 2 people at work. I asked those two work people to share my medical status with other staff to the degree that each staff member wanted information. I also asked the 2 people at work to pass on that I didn't want to talk about it at work at all. Everyone followed through for me at a time when I was overwhelmed and emotional. I didn't want to show that emotion at work. Things are more stable for me now so I do share with staff mostly about planned absences from work and treatment if they want to know. Best of luck to you.

dmj101's picture
Posts: 527
Joined: Nov 2011

you know I have been thinking about this all day today..
I have to say I don't hide anything. you ask I tell.. I rather tell than have them make up stories.. and I make the story sound so dreadful they will never ask again.. I didn't realize I did this till someone today asked me something and I found this spilling out of me...

Subscribe to Comments for "How to not talk about cancer?"