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Worst Thing Someone Said To You?

I have finished my four treatments of AC and have two more of four of Taxol to go--I can not wait for this part of the treatment to end. I don't know if its me, but when people feel compeled to say something to me about my cancer, I'm amazed at how insensative they can be. Lately, it has been people telling me "you know, your hair will grow back in curly" or "Breast cancer? People don't really die from that anymore." Why do they feel the need to comment on my condition as if they are experts? I'm sure others have heard worse things.

Thanks, Pennyone
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Comments

  • stacey2930
    stacey2930 Member Posts: 14
    edited May 2006

    People can be so insenitive. One of my co-workers asked matter of factly..."How's your cancer doing" I wanted to knock him out cold!

  • cewoliver
    cewoliver Member Posts: 3
    edited May 2006
    I think the thing that gets me is the stares .I know have what looks like 3 boobs the expander on the left is high .
    One of my neighbors saw me yesterday in the bank with my 15 year old son who was opening his first checking account.
    She came over stared at my chest and said well honey you sorda look like me .All I have is big nipples .She is in her late 70's I am 41 . My son about died and I wanted to slide into a crack in the floor.Then I said well just wait a couple of months .I did not cry until I got my son back to school.
  • Margerie
    Margerie Member Posts: 5
    edited November 2009
    My favorite was from my MIL 2 days before my mastectomy. "Can't you just get a lumpectomy, or ARE THERE TOO MANY? All I know is I used to be a nurse and the mastectomy patients would come IN HORRIBLE PAIN." Mind you this is one week after we found out I had cancer. Then I told her the advantage (the only one I could think of) for mastectomy was I would probably not need radiation, little did I know, and her reply was "Good, because then you would lose your hair and that would be AWFUL!!"

    She has some serious foot-in-mouthitis.

    How's your cancer doing? That one cracked me up. Men don't really know what to say!
  • Hattie
    Hattie Member Posts: 12
    edited May 2006
    I think most people actually mean well, but some are just not smart enough to be kind. There is a whole thread of stupid things people have said. Most things roll off my back these days (luckily). I am certainly a lot smarter about the realities of bc now, and how to be helpful.
    Take care,
    --Hattie
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Member Posts: 183
    edited May 2006
    Pennyone, believe me, you're not alone. We've all wanted to strangle/pimp slap someone for being insensitive/down right stupid. Check out the "Stupid Things Folks Have Said" thread here:
    http://community.breastcancer.org/ubbthr...part=1&vc=1
  • jlazyk
    jlazyk Member Posts: 9
    edited May 2006

    I'm getting a little tired of the puppy dog face "How are you feeling?" I know they mean well, but when your out somewhere trying to have a good time or just feel normal it is tiresome. A cute doe-eyed good friend I saw at happy hour asked "how are you feeling" and I smacked his rear end and said "HORNEY". Okay....this was after a couple gin and tonics.

  • jasmine
    jasmine Member Posts: 773
    edited July 2008
    ..."How's your cancer doing"

    Next time say something like...I'm not sure...give me a minute and I'll ask it.
  • jasmine
    jasmine Member Posts: 773
    edited July 2008

    My fav was the personnel lady where I worked. She was helping me fill out the paperwork for short term leave to have my mastectomy. And Miss Perky looked at me and said....aren't you lucky...now you can't get those boobs you always wanted! I almost fell off my chair. In hindsight now...I find it hilarious.

  • Fitztwins
    Fitztwins Member Posts: 144
    edited May 2006

    from my mother..."you should have gone in sooner". to the doctor.

  • sportycath
    sportycath Member Posts: 2
    edited May 2006

    I think the worst thing was said to my sister who passed away from bc. "So called" Christians suggested she had done something bad to deserve getting cancer. Also when her kitchen burnt down they said the Devil did it! Actually it was her poor husband trying to cook dinner and answer the phone at the same time!

  • maryannecb
    maryannecb Member Posts: 74
    edited May 2006
    From a 19 year old aquaintance
    "so, are you cured?" "let me give you a hug in case I never see you again"
    I laughed my head off it was so inappropriate.

    Fists up!
  • Paula
    Paula Member Posts: 2
    edited May 2006
    From a girlfriend (who was having issues with her boyfriend):
    'sometimes i wish i had what you have, at least YOUR problem can be cut out'!

    i've learnt now to ignore stupid comments like that. I am sure people dont mean to be insensitive. Unfortunately, not all have enough tact (and brains?) to think before they speak.
  • Shirlann
    Shirlann Member Posts: 60
    edited May 2006
    Sigghhh, it is truly amazing as I read through the posts at the "foot in mouth" disease so many people seem to have when cancer is the discussion.

    I have a personal theory that I kinda figured out myself while having the whole "fun" trip we have all had or are having.

    When people said, "Oh, my aunt had that, she is just fine, you will be just fine, too". I simmered with rage, how did this person know? How could this person even begin to know what would happen to me?

    Then, the other type, who said, "Oh, my poor dear, have you picked out a casket?", or even better, the ones who whispered to me like I had a social disease. How could they know I was going to die? Idiots!

    After about 4 years of this it suddenly dawned on me that NOBODY who has not walked the walk can say ANYTHING that doesn't make us mad. NOTHING they say is informed or gentle, sometimes people are downright cruel.

    Then, I began to laugh as I realized they were as stunned as I was and did not have a clue what to say or what not to say.

    Then I came to the boards with my dear sisters and here I have found gentle counsel, kindness, and love.

    God bless you all!

    Gentle hugs, Shirlann
  • corgigirl
    corgigirl Member Posts: 1
    edited May 2006

    My personal best is the person who said the following when I told her I had zero stage breast cancer: "Yes, but you know what happens next, zero turns into one and then two and three and then four and then you die." For real - she said that. I did not get angry - saw it as her own fear coming out. There really was nothing I could respond with to make her fear go away except to go forward and survive and prove her wrong, wrong, wrong.

  • lauri
    lauri Member Posts: 59
    edited May 2006
    For me, the worst thing is the number of people who say "well, at least they found it early" ... I feel like screaming "do you know what Stage III means?"

    Yes, it's early compared to having mets (test results are still coming in, but CT abdomen and pelvis reported clean) -- but it's not a walk in the park !!

    Lauri
    dx 3/8/06 ILC 11 cm
  • cas145
    cas145 Member Posts: 3
    edited May 2006

    well today im very hurt and angry with my very insencitive mother, on top of all the medical stuff we have to move house and as you all know money just isnt there so i asked her for a small loan (still owe her from just before BC) she put her head in her hands and said you already owe me so much and havent paid it back she is getting a little less than i get per week and im looking after 3 daughters anyone would think i asked her for her life to save mine well i dont need her i have to many fantastic friends much more understanding than her. sorry for rammbling just needed to get it off my chest!!!!! that fells better Cas

  • inspiewriter
    inspiewriter Member Posts: 54
    edited May 2006
    Quote:

    ..."How's your cancer doing"

    Next time say something like...I'm not sure...give me a minute and I'll ask it.




    Recently my well-meaning neighbor, a retired doctor, walked over to me and said, "How's the breast doing?"

    I know he is a doctor but I found that uncomfortable.
  • cewoliver
    cewoliver Member Posts: 3
    edited May 2006
    My husband is soo sweet he just said to me I am going to have you a shirt made so that when they look at your chest they will have something to read.
    T (TITS)
    I (IN)
    P (PROGRESS)
    I love him he is a hoot and I figue if he can handle it no one else really matters.
  • alix
    alix Member Posts: 1
    edited May 2006
    I was talking to three friends just after my diagnosis. After some discussion, I said, "I just want to acknowledge that for a little while, this is going to suck." One friend, who admits to having few "bad things" happen to her in life and who is often at a loss at how to respond to scary stuff, said, "Well, I knew a woman who got breast cancer; she went in for a mastectomy and came out beaming. She said it was the best thing to happen in her life!" I let the silence stretch between us for a moment and then said, "I just want to acknowledge that I'm going to learn a lot of great insights about myself on this journey and I'll come out of it transformed and also, for a while, it's going to suck." That kind of ended the conversation.

    People often really don't know what to say at all. She meant well. I just felt invalidated by the comment.

    Shirlann, your post was great. It makes me reflect, though, on how I still might not say the right thing to a BC survivor, even having been diagnosed with BC myself. That's because I don't think we all approach things the same way. I doubt BC survivors going to say many cruel things to each other; tricky areas are more subtle than that. For exmaple, I can imagine that I might ask how someone is doing in a way that just isn't helpful to her at that time, but because I would have wanted to have been asked, I think I'm being helpful. I can also see how my laughter over the insanity of a particular procedure may seem insensitive to someone who was traumatized by her own experience with it. So, even having walked the same path, we wear still wear our own shoes.

    On a personal note, I was glad to hear you say that the comment, "Oh, my aunt had that, she is just fine, you will be just fine, too" made you simmer with rage. I have been amazed that of everything people have said to me, it's the breezy assurances that I'm going to be "just fine" that make me mad. Not because I think I won't, but because I think somehow that trivializes the intensity and challenge of this journey. I haven't yet figured out how to tell them that and perhaps it's not important that I do. Ah, well.
  • jz20022001
    jz20022001 Member Posts: 17
    edited May 2006
    Sporty Cath, I could relate to your post about your sister as the same thing happened to my grandmother! Nana told someone she had breast cancer and the idiot said, "That can't be true, you're a good woman." What an ignorant thing to say, particularly to the closest thing to a saint that I've ever met. My grandmother was a lovely truly religious woman. I'd have given that stupid biddy an earful if I'd heard her.

    Catherine
  • jz20022001
    jz20022001 Member Posts: 17
    edited May 2006
    Shirlann, you had the worst one, "Have you picked out a casket?" Are they nuts? How can anyone be so ignorant?

    I posted this on another thread about mean kids. My son had a snot at his high school say, "Your Mom is fat." Well, I knew the kid's mom because she worked in the laundramat and I told my son, "That kid's mom is fatter than me, so he should shut the hell up."

    Catherine
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Member Posts: 282
    edited May 2006
  • Chattypatti
    Chattypatti Member Posts: 17
    edited May 2006
    How about 6 weeks after my mastectomy running into someone who said, "You look how I feel..tired, haggard and worn out!" I wanted to say, "Did you learn those manners in school or did you learn that at home?" but was too stunned to respond!

    Patti
  • MrsBee
    MrsBee Member Posts: 31
    edited May 2006
    I've had the "how's your cancer doing?" question, to which I've answered, "I'm having it bronzed."

    Probably the absolute worst thing anyone has said to me was a relative who'd had augmentation implants a number of years ago and then had them removed. When I was newly diagnosed, she gave me a "pep talk" about how she knew what it was like to "have something and then lose it" and "it was not big deal" so I should just go ahead and have them both cut off. I just sat there in open-mouthed silence. When I later called her hand on how stupid her comments were, she turned against me. She also didn't like how I "handled having cancer." Oh, I didn't know there was a rule book!
  • Jorf
    Jorf Member Posts: 26
    edited May 2006

    I guess I feel pretty fortunate that I've not had any experiences like these. I had someone tell me about her foot surgery. Well, I guess that was her way of relating. At least she was relating. I have one friend who just can't bring herself to say anything at all. I guess that's her way. I just can't let any of it bother me. I am appreciative of anyone's effort to ask how I'm doing. I find that very kind even if it's said in a kind of funny way.

  • Agie
    Agie Member Posts: 1
    edited May 2006

    People do mean well, but still the stuff that comes out of their mouths..most of the time when someone asks if they got it all...I say 'I'm hoping', or 'ask me again in five years'. One older gent said "Well, I hope the got it all because a lot of people are going to die of cancer this year." Gee, didn't know that. Thanks for the info!

  • Harriet4
    Harriet4 Member Posts: 1
    edited May 2006
    My BIL (after I had just started chemo) asked me if it had spread to my brain yet. He then told me that that's where it would go next.

    A neighbor (a man) slipped me a piece of paper on the sly with the web address of a quack remedy. He told me that his daughter had a friend who was using this stuff 'cause she did not want to lose her hair.

    A neighbor lady, who is a doctor, told me that breast cancer was nothing. They cure it all the time and it would be no problem at all. Cancer is not her field, obviously.

    Another neighbor asked me what my husband would do when I was gone. My husband is disabled. Strangely enough, his wife is a very long term survivor, 28 years or so.
  • Shirlann
    Shirlann Member Posts: 60
    edited May 2006
    Oh MrsBee, that was a good one! Heeeeeee And the other comment about not necessarily walking in anothers shoes was very inciteful and good too.

    What a long and hard journey cancer is. Hard to hear, hard to heal and hard to handle.

    Nothing easy on this long, long road.

    God bless you dear sisters, SHirlann
  • DebraLynn
    DebraLynn Member Posts: 8
    edited May 2006
    My daughter's friend's mother (used to be 'friend' of mine)asked my daughter if I was still alive. She looked at the woman and said, "yes, and thanks for helping out and calling her when she sick, I know she really appreciated that." The woman said stupidly, 'oh, I never called' so my dear daughter said, 'oh, I must have had you confused with her real friends.'

    As far as an answer about 'how's your cancer doing?' How about, "Fine, I hear it's contagious now" Then we never have to see those insensitive persons again!
  • jasmine
    jasmine Member Posts: 773
    edited July 2008

    Debra! I love it. I'm stealing it from you.....its hilarious....'I hear its contagious now'...LMAO