"You look really well!"

I went to my office for the first time in 2 months today. My company has been really great. I have been able to work at my own pace at home. In the early days of chemo, I went a few times to the office and each time they sent a car for me both ways (I commute to London by train so the immune issue was a problem).

Today I went in for an important meeting. It was a week after my last FEC and I physically feel like a 90 year old. My movement is slow and laboured. But I made sure I did my face, painted on my eyebrows, and wore a jaunty scarf to match my peach linen suit.

It was great that everyone was so pleased to see me. It was a really warm feeling. But I was told so many time " You look really well".

What does that mean???

  1. We thought you were about to die
  2. You are a fraud - you look so well you can’t possibly be ill
  3. I am being really nice to you and going to ignore the fact you have put on weight and have that lovely steroid glow
  4. I don’t know what else to say
  5. Anything else


Rant over - you will all understand how I feel

Sharon x

Yes Sharon

If we had a quid for every time we heard that phrase - all I can say is make up is a wonderful thing - if they saw us first thing in the morning or last thing at night I dont think they would be saying that!!


Hi Sharon

Join the club! They say that whenit may be true, and certainly when I feel the oppoisite. Go with the flow. bet you actually do look great, however you may feel. Take it in good spirit!

Lots of love from a baldy! Actually today I was with OH at the hospital for him. Wearing turban. His doctor asked me if I had been to a funeral. No I said, just bald! You can’t win!

Lots of love


Thanks, Dilys and Fiona. I know my friends on here know what I mean. I’m still me - just shaken and a bit stirred - and bald and fatter and knackered.

S x

Hi Sharon

I went through surgery and full treatment and was signed off work for 8.5 months, but would hand deliver my sick notes or attend work meetings on my better days. Yes I had the comments that I looked good etc. mind you I always made the effort of applying make up and also used the cold cap so still had hair, so I was not the cancer sterotype portrayed by emmerdale at the same time.

To be quite honest I enjoyed the comments, yes I was fully aware that they knew I was ill, but while feeling sh*t am quite happy to be told I dont exactly look like sh*t and really didn’t feel the need to elaborate on quite the nastiness of it all. I dont think your illness is being belittled I personally think your friends are suffering too and sometimes its easier for them to remember your good days more than your bad days.

I had a party once I had finished chemo, rads and herceptin and my mates were able to feel quite open and told me then how tired I had appeared, so perhaps your friends are trying to keep your spirits up.

Take care

Debbie x

I think these comments are also related to the images everybody has of BC: you know, all the sop movies with the dying ladies… now, if this is a serious illness, it is also something that can be treated / that is why we all are here, right?, but outsiders don’t really remember this. When I first told everybody, some people took it as if I was uttering my own death sentence - so naturally, now when they see me they are stunned that I look alive…

In those terms, I love to hear them say how good I look… :slight_smile: and as I lost quite a bit of weight, I do look trim and healthy… well, if one does not look at the hair, my big *hang up* these days. :frowning:

what i’ve always found worse is when you are feeling heaps better - and everyone says how ill you look!

Hi Sharon and everyone else!

I know exactly what you mean, I get told that all the time, but I must say there are certain times of the month when I am glowing if you know what I mean… a lovely glow from steroids! I have it at the moment and seeing as though Im usually very pale…

I have had some classic comments come my way since diagnosis, I thought I worked in a very PC environment but on returning to work one day was told by the Head of Sociology that I had lost no weight, I was lost for a minute, perhaps she thought Id been at a health farm all this time, so I asked her whatever she meant, well, she said you have cancer so I thought you might have lost a bit of weight now… I only thought it funny because I have a very good handle on my situation but the thought of her saying that to a more vulnerable person made my blood boil, my colleagues were outraged! She got me again the next time I went back, she shouted down the corridor “ah I recognise you this time, when I first saw you in the wig I didnt 'cos I thought youve have got one more like your own hair”!! I just flatly ignored her as very angry as my wig is same colour and style as my hair. I just dont understand what she was trying to say.

Most of the time I prefer looking good to alternative, i.e. you look like s**t Pauline, which is my mother’s way! She says helpful things like “you look really fat in those jeans and should stop wearing them now”, “why dont you paint in your eyebrows as they look really odd”, “I cant believe you havent had recon as I know how youve always liked to look good”. Ive put a stone on and she is not the only person to mention the weight going on, you know, “ooh those steroids are piling the weight on arent they, never mind when you come off you’ll be back to normal”.

All in all I think I prefer the vacuous “you look really well”, I think I would always say to this people but would also say “but how are you feeling” just so they know that I know that surface appearances arent everything.

Take care everyone,

Pauline x

Dear All
Popped in to read and sooo glad I did. I now know why this morning I have a great big rosy glow!!! Hadnt been told about the steroids having this effect!!! Reading the comments this can only get better. NOT. I must admit I too have been told many times how well I am looking and have taken it in the best way, however Sharon reading your comments I think you have a point.
Keep bright (know its easier said than done somedays but its my little way of trying to keep bright!)

Hi All

A bit of a rant here. One friend left me a voice message the other night, I was out having a quiet Greek meal with my sister. The friend was offering me a drunken night out with one of our other friends and stated that as I was not answering my phone on a Saturday night that I must be “out clubbing”. JESUS! There are so many things wrong with that, firstly I’m 47, when do I go “out clubbing” and secondly I’m on chemo for crying out loud, what exactly does she think a drunken night out is going to do to my blood count! I was left absolutely seething and have not been able to phone her since.

Sorry, got that off my chest, but this is another example of “looking well”, maybe they don’t believe I actually have cancer!

Cecelia. x

Hi Sharon & fellow members of the ‘you look really well’ club!!!

Blimey that post really stuck a chord with me. I haven’t worked since I was diagnosed in Mar and am unlikely to return this side of christmas. I have always kept in regular contact with my work colleagues though and see them whenever I am at the med centre (I’m in the armed forces and ‘live out’). They often pop round and see me too which is nice as I live nowhere near work! Anyway, each time I pop into work its always at the end of each CMF cycle when I am obviously at my ‘best’. I always wear a good covering of make-up too which gives me a nice ‘healthy’ glow. That said, I always feel like a right fraud!! They’re always saying how ‘well’ I look, and I then end up thinking, are they thinking ‘well, she doesn’t look ill to me’ or ‘she looks well enough to work’. I hope they don’t feel like this but I can’t help but wonder… My response is always the same though ‘I may look and feel ‘well’ today but I can assure you I won’t be looking or feeling this good in a day or 2 when I’ve just had chemo and am on steroids and stuff!’. Aaaaarrrgggghhhhhhh!!!

I took my family out a few weekends ago when they came to visit at the end of one of my cycles. I saw a work colleague and that same place and felt mortified!!! I know they are a bit short staffed at time and just felt terrible. I couldn’t help wondering if he was thinking ‘she’s well enough to go galavanting but she’s not well enough to work, hmmm…’.

Anyway, rant over!! I’m just glad I’m not the only one. The compliments you get when you’re bald are pretty mad too aren’t they!? If one more person had told me how I ‘really suit a bald head’ or ‘have the perfect shaped head for a bald head’ or ‘have such pretty features I can carry off a bald head’ I would’ve screamed!!! WHATEVER!!! Don’t get me wrong, I know they are just beng nice and are doing their best to make me feel better about the whole hair loss thing but it really doesn’t help. I think personally that very few people can pull off a bald head and I’m bl**dy sure I’m not one of them!!


Take care all,


At least we are looking at the “funny side” of what people say to us. I have a few good friends that ask me how I am and accept what I say. I might LOOK well but the BC overwhelms all other problems and Ive stopped worrying about those and I look "well" I can sleep how many hours a day and still feel tired. And then the aches which people dont see because Im taking extra rest but if I walk for too long do I know about.
And that underlying “what if its not stopped” they dont know about.

But SMILE and “look well” and they can hide their fears that it might be them next.

With you all in thought and prayers.


Hi Sharon

Read your post before I went to work this morning. It made really made me smile and made my day. I totally understand how you feel. The number of times people said to me “you really look well”. I was tempted to ask if I should apologise for not looking worse. I really had brilliant support from everyone, family, work colleagues and friends, so I understand that they were trying to help.

I always made an effort to look as good as possible when I went out, but then people don’t see you when you get home again.

I looked wonderful going to bed, no hair, no teeth and watering eyes and runny nose. I warned my hubby if the house was going to go on fire to give me at least three hours notice. I would have frightened the firemen out of their wits.

I met one friend last week who said to me “you look tired” when I actually felt and thought I looked okay, so you can’t win. I put on a smile and take all the kind comments gratefully.

Love and take care

Had to smile. I’ve been thinking about the constant ‘You’re looking really well’ comments too.

I am a receptionist in a vets surgery, and have a good relationship with many of the clients. A lot of them know about my cancer (had no chemo, but had mastectomy in March and am on hormone therapy). Of course, because of my job I have to be very pleasant and smile a lot - that’s what receptionists do. But when I hear that comment time and time again - very kindly meant - I just want to scream, ‘Well actually, both the Tamoxifen and Zoladex are messing my hormones around sooooo much at the moment, that what I’d really like to do is rip your head off!!!’

That wouldn’t be polite, so I say, ‘Oh, thank you very much!’


Jacki xx

hey, how about next time we get the “you look really well” we whip our wigs/scarves/bandanas off… I threatened to do this yesterday when I was having lunch with a really good friend! I must admit it was day after chemo, steroid buzz so lovely and rosy looking, a good covering of quality make-up from free looking good session at the hospital! She probably had a point as I think I did look rather good!! However, when I woke up this morning the “me” of yesterday had completely disappeared to be replaced by a still scarily rosy face but with dark rings under the eyes and fluffy white hair! Not quite as good!

Take care and dont let the bas***s grind you down!

Pauline x

Oh Thistle you really made me laugh with your 3 hours notice for the firemen - v funny.

I get this ‘don’t you look well’ thing all the time almost like I should look like death warmed up.
I reckon though I should use this bald lark to my advantage come Halloween. I thought about painting face, and head, white, blacken the eyes - even more! - drape a black cape over me & trick or treat as Uncle Fester.
Either that or stay at home & when the trick or treaters knock at the door whip the wig off and scream ‘trick’ at them so they have to give ME a lollipop!!! They’ll never top that.

Had chemo today so will be glowing in a matter of hours


This really struck a chord with me, as the driver who took me to chemo last week, last one, said I was really doing well as I looked fit and was always happy, not sick and miserable like some of his other patients, he said TAC chemo must be much milder than other kinds. I told him he never saw me in the week after Chemo. I also met a neighbour the other day who I hadn’t seen since I told her my diagnosis in April, she looked at my wig and said she liked my hair that colour and style, I told her it was a wig and she said oh have you lost your hair I thought you hadn’t had any side effects as you hav’nt lost any weight. I am sure as I am not pale thin and ill looking everyone thinks I am a fraud or dont have proper cancer.

Oh how this thread made me giggle and remember when I was having chemo and going to work in London. My friends assumed I was a fraud as I wasn’t looking like a “cancer victim” - when I questioned them on this they assumed I’d look like a skeleton and be grey??? When I lost my hair I whipped off the scarf or wig at anyone who questioned how I “really was”…I told them how it was - sick, achey, lethargic and of course at the worst point I was 4 stone over weight and wearing horrid jogging pants and baggy t’s. My skin wasn’t good either - what a sight I was…my boss was not one to mince his words - you look like sh*t was quite often bantered and one day I got a brown paper bag with eyes cut out and lipstick painted on it for me to wear. Gotta laugh at these poor people!!
Thankfully all seems to be going well at the moment - although I’ve just posted a Tumour Marker question as I’ve had high temps on and off and infections since May, seeing Onc on Wed. so hope that sorts it all out.

Keep cheery everyone, it does help.

:))))) gotta love the idea of the bag!!!

you know, i can remember when i was pregnant, i was sick for the whole nine months each time, and i looked really well, ditto with this bc, i have even asked people who say, “i can’t believe you have had cancer” “can you see two heads???” if only they could see the inner turmoil eh?