What are we supposed to say?

Hi Everyone

I find that when people ask how I am I say fine, because I am feeling a lot better than I was on chemo and rads and for a while after as I adjusted to the effects of Tamoxifen. But in truth I don’t really feel that great, I’m really tired although I’ve been getting proper, long sleep.

I’m 21mths post dx, 14mths post primary treatment but I don’t know what to say to people - do I say I have cancer or I had cancer? What do others say?


I say I was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago if I’m talking to someone who doesn’t know my story. Otherwise I usually just say I’m fine - it’s what people want to hear. Or I may say that I’m fine as far as I know. There’s very few people I would actually tell my fears of recurrence.

Hi Kinden,

I’m in a similar situation to you, finished chemo and now on Tamoxifen.

It’s difficult to say how we feel sometimes because we can feel different from day to day, some days are better than others. When people ask me how I am. That depends on who is asking. If it’s some people whom I don’t want to talk to or a total stranger asking that question, I usually say I’m fine to avoid further questions and comments. If it’s one of my close friends who has been very supportive, I usually tell him/her the truth - I’m a lot better than before. I think the worst is over. But there is still a long way to go. (I’m only 8 months post dx, primary + secondary a few weeks apart.)

Hope that helps. But of course everybody is different. Others might reply in a completely different way. Hope you get a few more replies soon.

Take care

It really depends on who I am speaking to and how I am feeling at the time…so my answers vary week to week! I sometimes say " Oh well mustn’t grumble"…sometimes add " well no-one listens anyway"…Other times it is “great” or " much better thanks"…so there is no right answer…Just say what you feel comfortable with on the day and don’t dwell on it. If you asked someone the same question they have asked you…what would YOU expect them to reply???There is no easy answer really. Love Val

I think if it’s someone you are close to - it doesn’t do any harm to say you are feeling rotten. People need to know what you are going through and make allowances for it. My stock answers for bad days are “well, one day at a time”, “I’m getting through it”, “I’m managing” - that sort of thing. I don’t buy into the need to put on a brave face all the time.

Casual acquaintances are different though - and I don’t have the energy to get into it with them. So they get a quick “I’m ok thanks” and change the subject. Everyone’s different though. But I’m afraid I am getting rather irritated by people I barely know telling me everything will be OK if I stay positive - they don’t know my dx. They get a wry smile and a “I wish it was that simple”.

If I know them well and think they really want to know then I might say ok today or that I’m feeling emotional and pants, if I dont know them so good then I say I’m fine are you?

I feel some people are morbidly interested so don’t like to give them any information and usually just start talking about something else!

It’s an interesting question. Knowing that the likely hood of something returning is high and making the next 10 years is low what do you say??? Yep it’s all gone whoop whoop and don’t mention what you’ve been told about re-occurance??
I don’t think most people really want to know but hey sometimes I want to shout at them. In their face I’m all smiles and calm in my head I’m going waaahhh!

Unless your “in” this disease I don’t think you have a concept.

Am I rambling, probably… Like Val says, go with what you feel comfortable with at the time.

love Katie x x

Thanks lovely ladies.
I think I’m feeling that I don’t really have anyone that I’m that close to at the moment. Having bc has changed me, and made me different to my friends.

OH never mentions it, never asks how I am. This morning I woke up with bad pain in what’s left of my breast, and my trunk on that side all around the front and back, but when I mentioned it, the response effectively was ‘so what’.

I work full time in a stressful, demanding job and have young children (now 6 and 4). OH looks after the children. I am happy with this arrangement as (especially before bc but it is also true now)I really enjoy my job, and I earn just about double what he last earned so it makes good financial sense too. However, if it were me at home I would do so much more!

Sorry for whingeing! Feel disloyal talking to friends about OH in this way, it’s easier with you ladies, who all understand so much…

Take care all