Topic: Pointless Positivity

Forum: Mental Health: Because Cancer Doesn't Just Affect Your Breasts — Meet and support others who are affected by these issues around anxiety, depression & other emotional effects.

Posted on: Aug 24, 2021 04:35PM - edited Aug 24, 2021 06:49PM by melbo

Posted on: Aug 24, 2021 04:35PM - edited Aug 24, 2021 06:49PM by melbo

melbo wrote:

really I just wanted alliteration in my topic, because I don't think positivity is necessarily pointless and I think trying to focus on the positives can help a lot of people. However, as soon as anyone starts saying you “have to be" positive or trying to say that your attitude has anything to do with your cancer or your response to treatment pisses me off pretty darn quick. Based on the comments on a similar topic from a few days ago, I was definitely not the only one to feel that way, and the poster offered to takeher thread down.

I did think the topic was fairly interesting though, and I enjoyed reading a lot of the comments left by others on the boards. I probably would have dropped it right there and never really thought about it again — but there is an article in the Atlantic today that pretty much captures my feelings perfectly, and I'm sure many of you can relate.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/619844/

Diagnosed right before my 42nd birthday. One husband, two dogs, one cat and no kids. Dx 7/16/2020, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Targeted Therapy 8/7/2020 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 8/7/2020 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Chemotherapy 8/7/2020 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/20/2020 Lumpectomy; Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph node removal; Reconstruction (Left); Reconstruction (Right) Radiation Therapy 1/31/2021 Whole breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Aug 24, 2021 08:09PM - edited Aug 24, 2021 09:26PM by exbrnxgrl

Alice you never fail to crack me up. You give all those cancer cells hellmy friend!

Dx IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 24, 2021 08:14PM ShetlandPony wrote:

My DH would like to post this: The fingers need to point at the people who are making money off promoting positive thinking as a cure; that is, at those who are selling the books, etc.

2011 Stage I ITCs sn, premenopausal, Oncotype 16. 2014 Stage IV mets breast,liver. TaxolNEAD. Ibrance+letrozole 2yrs. Fas+afinitor nope. XelodaNEAD 2yrs. Eribulin,Doxil nope. SUMMIT FaslodexHerceptinNeratinib for Her2mut NEAD 1 1/2yrs. GI/perit mets Dx 2011, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2014, ILC, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/other, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole breast: Breast Surgery Lumpectomy
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Aug 24, 2021 08:19PM trishyla wrote:

I think your cancers are afraid of you, Alice. They don't date progress beyond stage 1.

Dx 8/30/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/30/2016, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Dx 9/6/2016, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 9/28/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/4/2017 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (Right): DIEP flap Chemotherapy 8/4/2017 Xeloda (capecitabine)
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Aug 24, 2021 09:08PM alicebastable wrote:

My goodness (or badness lol!), I seem to have a reputation. It's about time; I spent seven decades being bland and invisible.

The whole positivity makes me CRAZY! I stayed off the other thread because I was afraid of starting WWII. Why do people say positive things to cancer patients? My hip replacement hurt like hell but I never heard "You've got this! You can beat it!" I think it's almost a superstitious thing for some people, like if they say something positive to a person with cancer, it'll keep the Cancer Cooties™ from landing on them. Shit, positivity repels ME, so maybe they're on to something. 🤔

Ignore treatment info (below) which is a BCO glitch. Do not enter personal information on this site since they grossly mishandled a data breach.
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Aug 24, 2021 09:36PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

A well meaning acquaintance decided to argue with me on the positivity vs. cancer thing. She was almost offended when I tried to debunk it. She was also shocked that me, generally quite the Pollyanna (I just retired from teaching grade 1 and I also taught kindergarten for many years.) , didn’t believe that a good attitude helped cancer. Trying to explain that it helped make my life easier but that cancer didn’t care, fell on deaf ears. Believe me, if being positive helped better ones outcome with cancer or any other disease, I’d be shouting it from the rooftops! Until such time, I’ll stay off the roof.


Dx IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 25, 2021 05:57AM rah2464 wrote:

Melbo what a wonderful article thank you so much for sharing. Cancer seems to be the only disease the occurs because you "did something" or "failed to do something" . In my case, that darned old 3-5 hours of aerobic exercise per week.

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 6/27/2018 Mastectomy; Mastectomy (Left); Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction (Left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (Right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/27/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 25, 2021 07:06AM traveltext wrote:

Good to see that article posted here again. It’s been on a few other bc forums as well. I think I used positivity falsely to cheer up family members who were a bit horrified at what I was going through. I certainly didn’t feel very positive after I naively asked my oncologist if I was cured after chemo. She said no, not until cancer is out of all the cells in your body. Oh, how many of them are there? Billions she replied!

The paragraph that got my attention in the article was about the administering of doxorubicin. I recall well the nurse dressed up in something like PPE to set me up for my dose. At the time it was scary, but I now realise these amazing drugs are the reason why I’m still in remission. Not because of anypositive attitude.


NED breast and prostate cancer. Dx 03/14, IBC, Lgth. 2cm, Stge IIIB, Gde 2B, ER+/PR+, HER2- ; FEC x3, Taxol x3; Mx & 2/23 nodes; Rads x 33; now on tamoxofin.
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Aug 25, 2021 07:07AM mountainmia wrote:

Shetland Pony: "How did you know to be so proactive, MountainMia? And was your request/instruction respected?"

Well, by the time I told them, I'd been here at bco for at least a couple of months (early 2019.) I'd seen an earlier discussion thread on this same topic and realized that people (including me in the past) say stupid and hurtful things, usually without malicious intentions. Often they're trying to be helpful. So I had some forewarning.

And yes, for the most part, my request was respected. I think that was partly because I was so matter-of-fact, and partly because my friends are my friends because I can trust them.

The rain comes and the rain goes, but the mountain remains. I am the mountain.
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Sep 2, 2021 02:19AM - edited Sep 2, 2021 02:23AM by margueritekv

OMG, Melbo, I just joined this evening and made a point of looking for a chat about that infuriating "stay positive" stuff. I'm familiar with the Atlantic article you mentioned and love just about every word in it.

If you google on "Atlantic Toxic Positivity," you'll find another related Atlantic article that suggests Tragic Optimism as a more realistic approach to the reality of our human condition.

Surgery 8/25/2021 Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph node removal (Right): Sentinel Radiation Therapy 10/13/2021 Whole breast, Radiation boost: Right breast, Lymph nodes Hormonal Therapy 11/10/2021

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