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Thoughtless "Helpful" Comments

carrieh's picture
carrieh
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2012

I saw the "We're all dying" thread and it brought to mind the crazy, thoughtless things people have said over the years...of course, trying to be helpful... if anyone has any good ones, feel free to add on. My faves:

when I was down, "maybe it's time to stop fighting?" So helpful and uplifting! 

From a friend with cerebral palsy (not dying).."now you know how I feel." Nope, not even close!

"What kind of funeral do you want?" Yeah, I'm still alive!

"Don't you get sick of it?" Uh huh...yes, yes I do?

"Don't eat anything but brown rice. You'll be cured." Says the person who's never had cancer. 

"It's negative energy that causes cancer. Maybe deep down you were checking out?" No comment 

****** and....my favorite 

"I knew someone with cancer once, but he died." Very comforting. 

 

kristasplace's picture
kristasplace
Posts: 956
Joined: Oct 2007

Those are really horrible. I've never had anyone say anything quite like that, but I have heard some strange things. Someone asked me if I was sure it was cancer, even though she was watching me go through chemo and a couple of subsequent surgeries. Another was a step-mother of a friend whom I hadn't had any contact with in twenty years. She told my friend she didn't believe I had cancer. I thought that was the strangest thing I'd ever heard anyone say; especially because she was a cancer survivor herself from back when we were kids. I understood her statement a lot better when it came out just recently that she never had cancer. The doctors had found a precancerous cyst on her ovary and she told everyone it was cancer and she was going to die. I think my friend found out when she went to get a life-insurance policy on her. People can be so bizarre.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 4967
Joined: Jan 2013

When I was undergoing treatment, I met an person I hadn't seen in a few years. I did look pretty bad at that time, but one of the first things she said was 'How long do you have left'. 

I think I told her 'Until tomorrow'.  

SUE

kmygil
Posts: 881
Joined: Feb 2007

Good for you, Sue.  People can be incredibly...insensitive isn't even the word.  Dense?  Stupid?  Robots in human disguise?  Arrrggghhh!!!!

Kirsten

nateswife's picture
nateswife
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2016

HAA! Good one, Sue! I might use that. Or, say "Not long- ten, nine, eight, seven..." :)

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Good Lord, I'm so sorry people have said those things to you, that's horrible. I have't experienced anything like that at all. The closest I came was a friend's 11 year old daughter who I've been told is very upset about my situation who recently asked me if I'm going to die and I told her 'not anytime soon'.

The annoying comments I get are from the 'helpful' people who tell me how to live to not have my cancer come back. The main ones are two people who have had what I consider minor cancers. One had a bump on her lip and the other had a bump on his neck. Nothing invasive. And because they do the things they espouse they think it works because their cancer hasn't returned. And both think they're cancer experts. The one with the lip bump doesn't even understand what margins are. She thinks because she had a bigger area taken out than the size of the bump that it shows how bad her cancer was.

I get asked often how I'm doing but I'm generally upbeat about it and I'll give details without going into it too much. Or leave it at I'm doing allright if it's just an acquaintance. I don't know what I'd say if someone had the cajones to say some of the things to me that has been said to you. I'd probably be flabbergasted and not say what I'd like to say. What I do in a situation where someone has said something stupid is to say "excuse me?" in an incredulous tone so they have a chance to rethink their comment and to buy time for me to come up with an answer.

Jan

nateswife's picture
nateswife
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2016

Oh my GOSH- those are all terrible responses! So bad it's almost funny. Now I wonder what dumb / insensitive things I said to people in the past when faced with their bad news or tragedies. No one knows what to say, but those who have experienced cancer or have gone through it with a loved one are able to connect with me meaningfully. 

My least favorite saying so far is "You look great! Like nothing has happened!" I know it's supposed to be a compliment but it still annoys.

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1128
Joined: Feb 2015

"Don't eat anything but brown rice. You'll be cured." Says the person who's never had cancer. 

And similar comments.  Including injecting urine, do not get surgery to remove the large tumor because it will make it spread and not allow treaments of drinking peroxide to work (about two days before surgery)  and vast conspiracy theories.  Not oppossed to eating healthy, trying some things including some traditional herbs, but know some people who are totally into the extreme tinfoil hat scenario.  

Helen321's picture
Helen321
Posts: 1393
Joined: May 2012

My neighbor remains my favorite.....You need to stop worrying about dying, I could hit by a bus tomorrow.......I wanted to tell him that could be arranged.  lol  Jerk.

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1128
Joined: Feb 2015

We all can be hit by a bus tomorrow.  And it really does concern me ALL the time, especially when I look left and right before crossing the street when waiting for the walk light.  Keeps me up at night.

What never gets to me is the whole having 11 out of 20 lymph nodes, with it broken through the colon into surroinding tissue, with the initial really being Stage 4A if the met in my lung was just a tad larger, plus the other things being monitored, that has no chance of killing me.  

I will pay good money to lose the cancer and make sure I take the risk of getting hit by a bus.  Even if the chance of getting hit by the bus is doubled. Or tripled ;)

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 4967
Joined: Jan 2013

for every time I've heard this one since I was diagnosed; I could pay off my medical bills. HA! 

I think I hate this one more than any other.  

I think I'll find out what the stats are for getting hit by a bus and then I can shoot that right back at them along with the stats of my dying of Cancer. 

SUE

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1128
Joined: Feb 2015

Seems to be a bit of information out there with some variation, but here is something from stats U.K., which I thought was appropriate ;)

http://blogs.dnvgl.com/oilgas/safety/what-is-the-risk-of-crossing-the-road/

200,000 to 1 chance of being hit, than higher odds of it being fatal.  (If I read this all right)

Road Crossing Risk

 

Dividing the annual risk by the number of daily road crossings and the number of days in the year gives a fatality risk of 5.1 x 10-6/(3.9 x 365) = 3.6 x 10-9 per crossing, or about 1 chance in 300 million for each road crossing. This is the fatality risk for an average person crossing an average road. Undoubtedly some people and some crossing places have higher risks and some lower risks, and clearly for someone with suicidal intent the risk approaches one. But the average is still a useful benchmark.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 4967
Joined: Jan 2013

I guess that proves that we have the best reason to be more worried about Cancer than being hit by a bus AND getting annoyed at those who think it help make us feel better.  Thanks!

SUE

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I think someone shared this link in the past but I'm going to share it anyway.

http://emilymcdowell.com/blogs/all/105537926-empathy-cards-for-serious-illness

She has had cancer and makes cards that are appropriate for people dealing with it after all the things she was told. They're actually rather funny.

Jan

nateswife's picture
nateswife
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2016

Those cards are great!! I want the first one: "I promise I will not try to sell you on some random treatment I found in the Internet." So apropos!

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1128
Joined: Feb 2015

I bookedmarked it this time.  I think I had seen that one before, or perhaps another site.  I think a friend of mine (non Cancer ;) ) pointed me to something similar when I started all this.  He basically said he was not quite sue what to say, so figured making me laugh with some of those was the move.  He was correct 

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I definitely get lots of the "I found something on the internet and think you should try it" messages on Facebook. Or I did, at least. I think my responses finally put a stop to it.

Jan

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