Encouraging things that people say!

After my 15th (and last??!!)Rads treatment, the senior radiographer
said “See you again, but for SOCIAL VISITS ONLY!!”
I gave her a hug!

When I went for my biopsy the lovely nurse who walked me down to theatre and then back gave me a hug and said “we will get you through this”

Lovely consultant that on first visit said you are so fit and healthy you will go another 20 to 30 years, I’m nearly 70

I’ve just had my hip and femur pinned, as they were both so damaged by my bone mets that they were in imminent danger of breaking. All has gone really well, and of course most of the other people on the ward having hip replacements etc were a good bit older than me, but as a secondary, 50+ lady currently on chemotherapy it was still lovely to be told “you have exceeded all our expectations”, and even better “recovery should be quick because you are young and fit”!!!

last night we had a barbeque with people ihave known for nearly 40 years.its the first time i had seen any of them since the dx. my husband told them about the cancer in the invitation to the barbeque.

Last week i had a realy bad fall, and it was interesting that everybody openly discussed the fall with me, wanted to know exactly how it happened, what injuries I had, when i got better made a huge huge fuss about it, but then only said vague things about the op and treatment.

I dont think people are thoughtless and callous when they say the wrong thing I think they just do not know what to say and how to handle it. Nobody has given them a script, they didnt give lessons at school about it. I knew they cared about me because of the way they went over the top about the fall, and I could see how awkward they felt about discussing the cancer. Later when we were all so pissed we did not know if it was christmas or not people did ask about how i found the lump and was the hospital good etc, but it took a few bottles of wine to get rid of their inhibitions before they could talk in a relaxed normal way.

So i posted on here not because people were encouraging last night, but because I realised that they do all care, but they used talking about a safe area like my fall to show it because they just did not know what to say about the cancer.

What a lovely thread :)) I have found the staff & team looking after me amazing with alot of encouraging words.

do so agree with you oldandlumpy- it is all very well to moan about the ‘wrong’ things that people say to us but most folk really mean well and just struggle to know what it is appropriate to say. I can cringe with embarrassment at some of the inappropriate remarks that I’m sure I have made in the past. Until it’s you, you just don’t realize quite what is involved in having cancer- and BC is particularly difficult to talk about because we are never actually ‘cured’ …

It really is so much easier to talk about someone’s hip replacement op or their accident or their poor hearing etc etc than to start enquiring about the dreaded C diagnosis or something equalling devastating like Parkinsons or MS

Most people do really care and want to show sympathy and concern - and to say the ‘right’ thing - but not everyone has the skills to choose the ‘right’ words, to be empathetic etc etc They may feel (rightly in my case) that we really don’t mind discussing the subject- but the time and place may be inappropriate; they may fear saying or doing the ‘wrong’ thing eg some people like to be touched or hugged to show empathy but others really hate it and feel embarrassed- we are all different and we all respond differently - even sometimes to those we know best and feel closest to.

hi topsymo

yes you are right. especially about hip replacement. last night i said to one of my friends who was p***ed but concerned about what it all meant,---- if i had to have a hip replacent, i would be in more pain and disability, for much longer before and after the op. and the fact that one hip gave way probably means the other one is going the same way soon. That is much more disruptive than my sort of cancer, but nobody is scared of hip replacements.

Its not until you get a scare yourself that you get onto a site like this and understand what some people are having to face that you realise that some people with cancer are suffering with being poisoned because it might mean they live a few more years. and yet others, like me, just need a bit of treatment and they are back like anyone else that could get cancer at any time.

I do feel for us all that want the right word at the right time to help us get through our particular stage, be it relatively taxing or not, but i also understand the bystanders who just dont know what to say.

having said all that, there are just some people in this world that are totally self centred, and turn everything round to what it means to them, and you probably did not notice ti until you needed a bit of support–life is short–delete them from your contact list

hi topsymo-i think you’re so right about people not knowing what to say-and i think that saying"-if you can’t say anything good-say nothing"- would come in handy ! i gave my sister and her friend a lift to a local pub for a party-the who;e of the journey her friend told me about people (who i didn’t know!)who had cancer WORSE than me !!!when she got out-i said “have a good time” i felt like saying "### off "-i know she didn’t mean any harm-she was trying to cheer me up (!)but it had the reverse effect-i spent the night looking for comfort on here-which i got-then snivelling under me covers !!!

Well done Jen3 for starting a positive thread! I have stopped using this site lately as there always seem to be very negative things being said about others. I don’t believe people deliberately say thing wrong to hurt us, they just don’t understand, and I expect I was the same before BC.
For me anger and hurt give physical pains and I hate it, I find it eats away at me and does no good, so to see a thread like this has made me smile, thank you.
BD xxx

Hi ladies!
Really pleased my new thread’s cheering us up - keep the posts coming!

Don’t you think that it’s up to us members of the Cancer Club to try to convince non-members that they CAN say the word CANCER without the sky falling in on them? To some people (perhaps of an older generation - tho’ I’m 67, so perhaps I mean an older generation attitude-wise?) a DX means an instant death sentence & is therefore a taboo subject.

If we show that we’re prepared to talk freely about it,maybe others won’t be so reluctant? I’ve found that by doing so, people are concerned & seem genuinely interested to talk about my treatments without being embarassed or reluctant.

What do you think?
Keep strong!
Jen XXX

I totally agree there Jen :slight_smile:

Besides getting the message across that it’s all right to say cancer and all right to talk about it, if we explain about our treatment and its effects, then more people will learn helpful things to say and perhaps fewer will say silly or hurtful things when they mean well.

I was at a family birthday party yesterday, answered all questions truthfully and, only when someone seemed genuinely interested, and some people did ask, told them about the treatment. I said that I would like my hair to be a bit longer, but that I’m really happy to have a full head of hair plus eyebrows and lashes back again, and that I’m not quite back to normal yet but I can do a lot more than during chemo when I had low blood pressure, anaemia and dizzy spells. I have to say, these relatives of my husbands are kind and caring people, which made it a lot easier.

Several asked if my treatment has finished, whether this meant I was cured (how else will they know?), and most asked how I am feeling now and said something nice about my very short hair. A late aunt died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, so those cousins had very pertinent questions and understood that treatment can make you quite ill and that it takes time to recover from treatment itself. My answer to ‘Does this mean you are cured?’ or ‘Have they said you are cured?’ is usually just to say ‘I hope so but I will have regular check-ups.’ Again, you can explain more to some people who are interested, and say that the word ‘cured’ is not usually used in cancer treatment.

One big question is how much detail to give people so that they are informed about cancer and treatments without giving too much information or appearing to be self-centred or obsessive about it. Another is how far to be upbeat about the big improvement in treatments and how far to remind people that while some of us may ‘get off lightly’ as these things go, there are others who have to have very drastic treatment and may have a less good prognosis.