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well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

HJU63
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Great thread. Sums up those real feelings when everyone and their brother wants to tell you how well you look - really got on my nerves. My "favourite" is an extension of the person who says they know you will be ok - when someone tells you "I had a friend who had breast cancer ..." and then they tell you all about their treatment and end with how they died!! Like, what am I supposed to do with that? It hasn't happened just once but on several occasions.
A friend gave me a copy of a book called "Smile or die" about how society seems to require us to be positive - the inference being if we dont the cancer will come back. The author is against this notion. An interesting read, after which I decided to answer truthfully but have to say people just don't want to hear the truth (even if you spare the details) I think it makes them feel uncomfortable. I have come to the conclusion that most people cannot handle those of us with cancer because it makes them feel vulnerable - I have colleagues at work who just cannot bear to speak to me at all since my diagnosis - sad but true.

jmeg
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

old thread i know but this has had me crying with laughter i am planning on working though and work in a shop so should get some classics
Jayne_m
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Why since my diagnosis has my ame changed to 'Oh Jayne', I am fine just being Jayne grrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lilac51
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Sending you a hug.
Pauline xxx

smudge65
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Hi All
Just had to share with ladies who will understand...
When trying to explain to my mum how upset I was at having to have a mx after two lumpectomies, she said "oh, it'll be like when you were a teenager and putting cotton wool in your bra", no it bloody won't my breast won't grow again!
Sometimes just a hug would be nice xx

ChoccieMuffin
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

BUMP for Mythos and others. Enjoy and add.

mb4658
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Well meaning comments from friends and family are one thing, but from the professionals ............... During 6 cycles of FEC chemo and desperate to keep my hair, if at all possible, as my daughter was getting married 2 months after my treatment was due to end, I endured the miserable experience of 4 hourly sessions of the Cold Cap during each session. Although my hair thinned, I had always worn it short, so I kept it styled and was very grateful not to lose it.
Six months after my treatment ended it is now possibly even thicker than it was originally. When I saw my Breast Care Nurse last week for the first time since chemo, she said, 'I take it that's not your own hair'.
How do you react to that? Yes it is actually, but does that mean that you think it looks like a wig??!!!
Maybe, 'how did you get on with the Cold Cap?' would've been more subtle, and would a wig really have grey roots growing through? I suppose I should just be thankful I've got a sense of humour as well as my hair!

squeakymouse
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

I have just finished chemo. A few weeks ago I was chatting to our neighbour and he said "you look really well". Chatted to him again tonight for the first time since then and he said "you look really well, you looked really tired last time we spoke"
er...I thought you said I looked really well the first time..?

moorcow
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

This thread is a treat - and saved me from much embarrassment on Monday I think ...I was asked to do a lecture on kindness for the local hospital trust consultants group....when i was planning it I wanted to tell the story of after my MX when the surgeon came to see me and tweeked my big toe and smiled and said the op was really fine and all tumour margins good ....whih i thought was very kind and human of him and not at all surgeon like..
ANYWAY I suddenly realised cos of remembering this thread that if I said that I would have a lecture theatre full of doctors staring at my boobs trying to work out which one it was!!!!!
PHEW...
thanks lasses! best N

Lilac51
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

My manager, on each of her four welfare visits would say "How are you? You do look well. I hope you're eating enough". Considering I put on 2 stones in weight while I was having chemo, felt terrible and had a moon-shaped face because of the steroids, I was always at a loss as to how to reply to her. It remnded me of my mother telling me about my uncle who had been in Burma during World War 2. He came back very thin and ill but because he had a sun tan he was greeted by everyone with "How are you? You do look well!" before he had a chance to say anything.

DJ007
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

When I was first dx quite a few people started treating me with extra care.

The concerned, head tilted, looks were irritating, but when people started rushing to carry things for me (this was before I'd started any treatment) I did have to gently point out that the lump in my boob hadn't robbed me of the use of my legs!

supertrouper
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

I do find all of these posts amusing! People have the best of intentions when they talk to us but unfortunately most people don't know what to say and usually end up saying the wrong things.
I started a new job after I finished active treatment, my new boss knew my medical history. I found out that his mother had breast cancer when she was 55 (same age as me at dx) he constantly refers to it and says he doesn't want to mention how is mother is because it might upset me. His mother is now mid 80s for goodness sake. Yes it came back for her but she has still had another 30 years and still living independantly.
It is annoying! but he means well.

salonen13
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

I have just read the whole of this thread and although I have only been dx for a few weeks I beleive I have heard a fair amount of these comments (I also hold my hand up and say that I may have been guilty of using some of them in the past!)

I have spent the last few hours with tears in my eyes at some of the things people think it is alright to say and have laughed out very loud at some of them too.

I have just had a small lump removed, started hormone treatment and awaiting Radiotherapy but its amazing how many peple say
"at least they caught it early"
"as long as you don't need Chemo it mustn't be too bad"
"You are strong, you will get through this"
I am sure all very well intended but making it sound not too bad doesn't make it go away.
Opal
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

I have just finished reading the whole thread! It is inspirational, shocking, funny ...
I have a couple to add.
My aunt, who is well meaning, and coming from the right place, but a bit thoughtless, decided to send me a gift when she heard I had to go through chemo and lose my hair again (I have secondaries, so first chemo was with the first diagnosis in 2002, this one was last year). My parents called me, really concerned, as she had told them what she had sent... A couple of nail varnishes, as the oncology nurses suggested that if I wore nail varnish it may protect my nails from the UV light and keep them stronger (it worked for me) and ... A WIG! Yes, really!!! I just didn't know how to react! I mean, it is so personal! It turned up, a joke bright pink one, but, really!
The second was when I was doing a Race for Life. I did a lot of running and a few Races for Life with my lovely friends between diagnoses, and am generally inspired and moved by the things people write on their running badges - running in memory of people who have cancer, in memory, etc. Except for the young girl (late teens/early 20s) running in memory of her HAMSTER -complete with picture of said fluffy animal! I felt like she had thumped me, and I still don't know how I didn't say anything - what an insult to everyone there.
I admit, I get angry when people moan to me that they are getting old - I always tell them that it is better than the alternative - I don't know if I will get old!
I am generally very lucky though, very thoughtful friends, family and work colleagues. Only the other day my cousin sent me a little gift of some Clarins freebies she got for me - I haven't actually met her in person for years, and am 2 years into treatment for secondaries, so it is nice that people still remember me even though it is not all "new".
I am loving this site
TigersGirlie
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

I have had a similar experience, I was diagnosed back in July at the age of 30, we we all so shocked, any way after the apt with the breast surgeon I was sent back to pre op to get info for operation, so I'm sitting in the very specific suite for beast cancer, completely pale and my partner who had burst into tear s looking red faced, and a lady said as there were no seats, excuse me can you move so I can sit down I've got breast cancer!! ! Week my reply was not polite !!:( 😞
carmy
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Gaynor, how lovely. It made me warm inside to read it. I can't beleive that other person, though!
Jenben, grrrrrr! I can imagine your frustration.

xx

applestreet
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Hi
I chose a wig that closely resembled my original hairstyle..a bob..beautiful choccy brown colour...told no-one of my cancer as I figured it has nothing to do with them...in July I decided to take it off as it was too hot and itchy revealing my Brillo coloured super short hair do.....my neighbour caught me outside after a few days of covertly looking at me through his blinds...why have you shaved your hair?? It was much nicer before he said... I explained that I had BC and chemo had made my hair come out...he then gave me a full rundown of his own brush with cancer and said at least I only had a few chemo sessions and not lots as he had....very comforting!!!!

ChoccieMuffin
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

GMT, that's lovely. See, sometimes well-meaning things aren't always annoying.

GMT
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Three weeks ago while waiting to see triage nurse at my chemo unit, feeling like sh** , the friend of a lady waiting for treatment who had no doubt come to 'support' her, said in the loudest voice ' well if you've got to have something, at least with cancer you know they can cure you'. The woman had obviously not thought about the fact that the majority of people in that room had cancer and that some of them would be living with secondaries. There speaks a woman who has obviously not had cancer! The friend having treatment looked like she wanted the floor to open up and said nothing. I glared but didn't trust myself to speak as I thought I'd end up being very rude and didn't want to upset anyone else. Hopefully my very grey face, bald head and manic stare, perhaps tho I doubt it, made her think perhaps it wasn't a walk in the park!
(However while sitting in 'the chair' having my last chemo last week, a woman who had just finished her treatment, stopped by my chair and said 'I've been looking at you and wanted to say how beautiful you look.' I'd finally decided to embrace the no hair look and while I know I'm not beautiful, she said it in a very genuine way and it made my day.)
Gaynor xx

carmy
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

When my hair started falling and my boyfriend shaved my head, to make it a little less traumatic, he did the sides first and I was left with a kind of mowhawk, and had some a pic taken as if I were a punk. I put it up on Facebook today as I finally feel fine about people seing me without my usual elbow length hair and a close friend who knows I'm having a rough week said "Wow, you've gone punk... I wouldn't be able to do it.........." Erm, excuse me? Do you know what has actually happened to my hair? You wouldn't be able to do it as you love your precious hair, just as I loved mine. I "wasn't able to do it" either but had to get rid of it. I simply had to, so I might as well laugh about it if I can and avoid the "Uh-oh" comments... I immediately thought about this thread and thought you would understand me! Thanks for letting me whine! I just replied that I didn't want it, but then it didn't last that long anyway...

redterrier
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Ladies there are some real corkers in these posts.
How can people be so insensitive?
I've had bilateral mx and one of my favourites has been 'well your tits were only small anyway so you won't miss them will you'? Actually yes I do miss my small boobs VERY much and am battling to find comfortable and right prosthetics AND a pretty bra rather than the sling shots on offer.
I know we shouldn't wish ill on people but just sometimes you wish they had a taste of it so that they would understand.
Maybe one day people will think before they open their mouths to make a 'well-meaning' comment!
ChoccieMuffin
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Deb!!! Did you find out what company he was calling from? I'd be tempted to call the company and report the response, THEN he might think twice before saying the same sort of thing again.

scottishlass
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Idiot indeed.

Deb22222
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

I had a cold call from an insurance company and when the guy asked how I was, I told him "Not good, I've got terminal cancer". He replied "I'm only trying to do my job, you're sick in the head". He then put the phone down!!

Idiot!!!!
andrea1518
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Someone said to me "You look really well" I replied
"you wouldn't say that if i took my hair off"

smc78
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

I've just read the 1st and last page of this thread and almost laughed out loud at several of the posts because of how familiar they are. I too have have heard the majority of these 'well meaning' posts and agree that after a while they start to grate. A neighbour told me she knew how i felt (doubt it she doesnt have cancer!), i'm sick of hearing 'u are strong u will beat this' there's no guarantee after all and 1 of my closest friends went through a period of txting or calling me everyday and kept saying she didnt like the thought of me being home alone. Well thanks for the concern i really do appreciate it but sometimes i WANT to be on my own!
squeakymouse
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Next time I am accosted by one of those cold callers, telesales people or chuggers doing their fake friendly OTT "oh hellooooo mrs squeakymouse how are you" drivel I am going to reply "I am s**t. I have cancer. And how are you?"

Ali_H
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

My Dad recently said to me (while I was lying on the sofa without the energy to move following chemo) "it's worse for the people who love you you know"


Gee, thanks. I'll add that to my list of worries then...
CheshireCheese
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Hi LouB

I know what you mean about those unsubtle visual scans of our breasts. It's what I thought of as the "which tit was it" look. It REALLY annoyed me. I started a thread on this ages ago and got some amusing replies as well as some heartfelt responses from those who had been upset by such looks.
http://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/community/forums/how-respond-which-tit-was-it-visual-inspection

CC x

Lucy_BCC
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Hi Jayne

Don't worry it's happening to a lot of users and it will hopefully be sorted out very soon

Best wishes

Lucy

jaynek
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

sorry I seem to be double posting all my comments.

jaynek
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

For me it has been my husband saying after 3 week wait for mammogram result - 'no news is good news'! I wonder if he would feel the same about waiting on something like this..............................

LouB
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

It's the none too subtle glances at my breasts that really crack me up. I've lost count of the number of times people address my chest rather than my face when asking me how I am...
I'm happy to show close friends the end result as I'm so pleased with my recon but at times I do feel like public property.

JCJ
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

FF I think everyone has a mental image of 'cancer patients' and those of us that have been lucky enough to escape chemo, and keep our hair, don't fit with that image so they are surprised to see we look 'normal' and therefore 'well'!

My boss told me half way through my 3rd week of phased return that I wasn't too tired after all. How could she possibly know how tired I was?? Just because I was professional enough to turn up, dressed, when I said I would, and get on with the job, doesn't mean I'm not feeling exhausted!! She made me feel like I was wasting everyone's time not coming straight back full-time, but I THINK (hope??) she meant it in a supportive, encouraging way!!

On the other hand, another colleague said that I looked awful! I jokingly said "Well thanks. you mean I look like 7 shades of sh**?" and she correted herself to "awfully tired". If I hadn't know her well, I could have been upset by that, but actually I appreciated the concern!
foxyferret
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Went back to work yesterday, one of my boss's popped in and said how well I was looking. Replied I wished I felt as well as I looked and silence ensued for a few moments until I picked up the conversation with something mundane. Why don't people ask how you are???? Then we would say ok but ......whatever?? This is the same boss that said weeks ago that I was brave and I was short with her then........thought she'd have learnt!!!

Perhaps this is why I've not told many people about this, only those who needed to know.
Lavenderlassie
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

No answers, no words but shocked and stunned solidarity, Rubypop!

Rubypop
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

OMG i was feeling so depressed. I've spent the last two weeks being really ill. Fell out with my partner and my eldest son because " they've had enough, I'm nearly there because I've ONLY got 4 more treatments, even tho I don't get the all clear for 5 yrs. I know I need to keep away from negative people but it's so very hard when it's people you love

Ninja
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

I recently went to a wedding and met up with some rellies of my ex that I haven't seen for 20 years.
"You look well. I'm surprised. I thought that you'd be looking extremely ill. " (said with a very disappointed voice).
WTF?

emmsie2012
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Saw my mum today for the 1st time since I started chemo (have had 2 cycles now, and she only lives half hour away...) and she said with a surprised tone "well you look really well, I'm pleased!". Held back from saying yes well, you haven't seen me in the 1st week post-chemo looking as rough as a badgers a**e, you know, the time when I REALLY needed support!!! Some things are just not worth the hassle....
PuffyWhiteClou
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

I'm becoming more and more blunt these days.

I am part-time at work nowadays (would far rather be full-time but no can do). When people say "I'd love to do your work pattern", I just say "yeah, and you can have the cancer that goes with it".

Sharron
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

I'm having Mx and immediate DIEP recon in 2 weeks.
My boss asked me if reconstruction was really necessary if it meant a longer recovery - in other words being off work longer....
Also earlier this week....... "so how long will you actually be off work for?" reply " I'm not sure, I've been told its a 3 month recovery and I can't drive for 6 weeks, but since I've never had it done before I just don't know" her "I'l come and pick you up and bring you in to work, you'l appreciate the company" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

moondog
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

When I modelled my new wig for my OH, he said "you look like a prostitute, but in a good way.....!"

Historygirl
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

The organisation I work for provides a pay out should an employee die in service. A colleague called me the other day (I'm on sick leave) advising me to make sure that I was still happy with the person I'd nominated as my beneficiary and if not to make changes ASAP. Well, it certainly made a change from all the 'think positive' and 'fight the good fight' advice I suppose.

chrisp1e
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

You look great - even with the wig!

Lizdeb
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

This is what my ex said when I told him:
"Sorry to hear about that, I can’t think of anything you have done to cause it.
Best of luck with it, keep me posted."
Can't think of anything you have done to have caused it???? Like it is bound to be something I have done??
For goodness sake!
Deb22222
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Yes, glad you didn't tell the cat, we must think of others!

My XOH, when told of my terminal condition said 'Sundays were a bad day for him, as 4 weeks previous he had split up with his girlfriend, and now this!!". Our kids are 10 and 12 years.

And then he got up from the table, holding his back in pain and said 'I'm getting too old for golf" ( he'd done 18 holes that day, aged 48)

Unfortunately, this is all true but very amusing, hence XOH!

Debs
izmark
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

Deb22222
I laughed like a drain, when I read your post! I then read it out to my OH! He laughed too. I thought about reading it out to the cat, but remembered that he was 'done' a little while ago. He probably wouldn't see the funny side!
Isobel

Deb22222
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

My dad said to me after my mastectomy 3 years ago, "it must be harder for women with bigger breasts". I was a 34B, and very proud of my breasts. I could only imagine having a conversation with men about the size of their manhood "it was only small, so it doesn't matter". I still laugh about it now.
squeakymouse
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

I seem to be in the middle of an ongoing battle with admin issues to get my hospital to actually arrange the Herceptin I am meant to be having. Saw my onc yesterday who was aware of the issues (before I even started to tell him, so it sounds like other people have had problems too) and told me to "be persistent". It makes a change from "be positive" or "be brave" but why should I have to "be persistent"? Why can't I just ask once for a date and time to have the herceptin, be told the details, and turn up on the day? What about people who don't have the energy to "be persistent" because they have had worse chemo side effects than I have had? Perhaps this is what people mean when they say I have to fight it. Grrr...

Chatty_Katty
Member

Re: well meaning (but annoying!) things people say!!

I have a friend who has always been a little jealous of the fact I went to the gym 4 times a week and was super fit, she would always have a dig about my weight (even though at 11 stone I am my ideal weight)...well she popped round for a coffee andsays "I must say you are the only person I know who looks better during chemo than you did before" well unfortunately I was so gobsmacked I didn't respond...where now I think I should have whipped my hat off and said yeah I look bloody great with no hair don't I, even better when I have no boob and by the way I am still 11 stone you moron.
She also said I should go out more with my friends rather than just staying in and wallowing with my family!

In factnim not to sure why she's still a friend?