There is a thread on my breast cancer message board titled “The Worst Thing Anyone Ever Said to You.” The thread has been going for years. About two years ago I copied some of the more memorable posts and occasionally forwarded them to people who would appreciate them. No, none of these comments should be considered humor/humour, but after a while they become funny and if you’re like me, you find humor/humour in the lack of couth or soul or common courtesy displayed by some of our fellow humans; unfortunately, many of these anecdotes come from family members. Yikes!
My worst was the "support group" I went to. The session turned into a Top My Cancer Story contest, i.e., "You think THAT's bad, well listen what happened to ME..." etc.
At the end, the "winner" of the Top My Story contest turned to me and said "You're so lucky you have breast cancer. Everybody has it. It's just meaningless today."
Then an older woman nearby said she'd be happy to even *know* what kind of primary cancer she had, as she was doing chemo 5 days a week and had been given a terminal diagnosis. The contest winner turned to me and said, "But cancer is so much harder on us, isn't it, being young."
Tomorrow is my birthday and one of my co-workers e-mailed me to pass along her best wishes. While well intended, she also passed along a bible verse and explained to me how my bc was really a blessing because it taught me perseverance, making me a more mature human being. Damn, if I had to go through all of this just to be a more mature human being, I would have been just as happy being a little less blessed!
I have one. My sister told me that I shouldn't miss a breast because I am so small breasted. On the other hand, since she is large breasted, she would be so much more devastated to have breast cancer because she has more to miss. I thought about saying, if you had a limb amputated, would you miss it more because yours is fatter than mine?
From one close friend to another "Joy is handling her breast cancer so well, it's just like another hobby!"
Another friend "well, there are worse cancers than breast cancer."
Lots of people have quoted one of the fashion magazine advertisements from a breast cancer research organization that states that today 97% survive. I've had to gently disabuse them of that notion since the statistic only applies to women who are stage 0 0r 1 and caught the cancer early!
For the stupidest questions you can ask someone who just had a bilateral mastectomy.
5. When will your hair grow back so we can get an anniversary picture for our in-laws?
4. Do you have stitches where your boobs were?
3. Do you ever have to go back to the doctor? (not realizing there is more chemo, radiation???I have cancer, not an ingrown toenail!!!!!)
2. So, what does it look like-is it just flat skin?
1. And did they take your nipple?
The head of my department after my reconstruction asked how I was doing. I said it went well and I was very pleased with the reconstruction. She said "Great...just like it never happened then!" Um, yeah...something like that...I guess?
Nana was told she only had weeks to live. She lived 20 more years and died at age 80. My sister is forever talking about how flat chested she is?
i had bilateral mast with reconstruction and i would say i'm 1/2 A cup..she talks about how she hates it and has to pad her bra and how great her husband is not to mind? one day, i said that i don't really focus on breast size too much because if i did my world would be sort of a crumby place. she made a sad face and teary eyes "you just don't understand, there are so many big breasted women in my neighbourhood, it's really hard" i wish i could understand?
Sometimes it is the people closest to us who say the dumbest things and mine was my mother. Being large breasted as is she, she says "And I was always so proud of your big boobs!!!"
This one was from my mother. She has always been on my case about my weight. I am not fat but mom thinks if I am not a size 4 I am fat. Well through chemo I lost a bunch of weight and my mom says. " You look so good and slim I can't understand why you are so down"
Well, looks like the Mom's get the prize. Mine takes first place. I found my lump after a shore vacation. Having been swimming in the ocean, Mom tried to think of what ever this lump could be. Her award winning question...."Were you bit by a fish?"
I just remembered how the first time I saw my Mother-in-Law after I had my bilateral mastectomy. She said something to the effect about how I looked like I lost weight, and then she stared at my chest. DUH... I always call her the food police, she monitors what everyone eats and weighs. What a trip.
I am starting Taxol tomorrow and my MIL called the other day and was asking me what the side effects were. Among them I mentioned bone pain, fatigue, neuropathy... In the middle of my answer she blurts out "loss of appetite"? Before I can answer she says "that is great because then you can lose weight". Yeah it's great to have breast cancer to lose weight!!! And that is only ONE of the dumb things she's said since I was diagnosed....
When the surgeon called me and hubby-to-be (H2b) in to discuss the biopsy results - and tell me I had cancer - he said "I know it is upsetting, but you ONLY have DCIS. Now, the woman I saw yesterday, she's only 28 and she's dying from breast cancer!" I guess I should have felt fortunate that it was her and not me?!? WTH?
hi people say weird things. i had a family member tell me it would be good for me to loose my hair . she said it was burnt up from dying it anyway. what a family
The worst thing that was said in front of me came from one of my dearest friends. A group of us were gathered together for a New Years Day football game. One of the guys said to me, "We haven't told Mike here about your condition yet." So I said, "Mike, I have cancer." Before I could say another word, my very good female friend jumped in and said, "Yes, but it's not bad." I didn't say anything at the time, but I don't think I'll ever get over it.
I thought I was finally done with stupid remarks, but tonight my "best" friend who saw me immdiately after the mast., when I was delerious & going into toxic shock from an infection, etc., told me she was depressed this time of year and envied me because at least I had something to fight! Then she volunteered to trade with me!
This came from my sister of all people. She said "You had surgery-you dont have cancer any more so you need to stop talking about it " My surgery was 3 weeks ago--and its not like I talk to her everyday-we dont even live in the same town !!! To bad its not that easy -just have surgery and stop talking about it !!
I wonder if your sister knows my sister. She was going to come into town when I had my mastectomy, but changed her mind the week before the surgery. She told my other sister that she didn't want to come because all she would hear about was my breast cancer! Gee - sorry I couldn't focus on her at the time!
My own daughter called to request that I delay chemo so I wouldn't be sick over the Christmas holidays! After all it was her vacation time.!!!
I didn' have to have chemo and the only time my dh, son or daugh. mentioned it was our Christmas dinner prayer that I thanked God that I'd not had to have chemo (had mast/recon). Where do these things come from???? She later apologized, and I forgave, but will never forget!
My 86 year old mom came to visit one time after I had been doing chemo for about 4 months. I was completely hairless, wearing hats 24/7 and painting on my eyebrows. She started complaining about how annoying it was to have to go to the dermatologist to have minor skin cancers removed - it made unsightly scabs on her legs so she was embarrassed to wear shorts in the summer! How did she think I felt, and I was working every day!!! HELLO, Mom, do you even see me?
Another Mom who needs her eyes opened: I started chemo in January and on the phone the other night Mom asked if I had lost my hair. When I told her yes, she remarks, “Well, I bet you look just like Jane Curtain when she was a conehead.” Hoping her visit to my sister in California is a long one.
My partial mastectomy was my 8th surgery so I expected to breeze through it. But the sential node procedure (the dye insertion) was the most painful procedure I’ve ever had. My surgeon said, “This is a breeze for most women, like a root canal.” I said, “Well until someone cuts 2 inches off your penis and turns it blue, I don’t think you should tell women it compares to a root canal.”
AWWW, you’re getting implants. I’ve wanted them all my life. Lucky you.
Everytime I see my sister-in-law on my porch I think, Oh great. She says the dumbest things to me and always leaves me very upset. Today she came up with these jewels:
1. Are you going to get reconstruction or just stay flat like that from now on? (Bilateral mast was 4 weeks ago.)
2. I told everyone at work that it only took 1-1/2 hours for them to chop off your boobs and they couldn’t believe it.
3. Breast cancer treatment has come a long way. How long do you think you’ll last?
Mine said some things that she’d intended to be hurtful, I’m sure, but I always had an immediate zinger right back at her.
Her first statement, in the middle of chemo after a bilateral mastectomy: “So, have you been hit on by any dykes lately?” Now, she is an UGLY woman, whose teeth make her look like she could eat apples through a fence. My retort was, “No more so than YOU have.”
Her second statement came 2 years later, after I’d undergone a hysterectomy: “So you really ARE a guy now!” She then proceeded to tell me that after HER hysterectomy, “Your brother knows EXACTLY where to find my G-spot.”
Now, that was in image I did NOT need burned in my brain. I also happen to know that HE stays up all night on his computer and sleeps on the couch while SHE sleeps in her bedroom. So MY retort to her was, “Where, on his computer keyboard?” She looked like I’d struck her in the face and HE laughted his ass off. Hehehehe.
Top Worst Responses If Someone Tells You They Have Cancer
10. Other than that, how's it going.
9. This isn't going to affect my career, is it?
8. I guess there's no need to quit smoking now.
7. There are easier ways to build character, you know.
6. Oh, my aunt/cousin/grandfather died of that same cancer!
5. Be sure to wear clean underwear.
I have been reading your posts wondering whether to laugh or cry at the stupid and sometimes selfish people that you have all had to deal with! Here are some of the stupid things said to me.
1. Being followed around the school by other mums wanting to know if the lump they found in their breasts last week is bc? How should I know?
2. Stopped by a mum who asked if I thought the lump in her husband's testicle was cancer cos 'You have cancer so you'd know about this sort of thing'. No I wouldn't!
3. Being asked if I knew where I was going when I died and without waiting for a response (I was speechless anyway) going on to complain about b*^%d ex-husband! I'm not worried about this side of the white light and I think your ex was right to leave you!
4. Being asked by a 'friend' to have a pink coffin when I die cos she's never been to a funeral with a pink coffin. Hey just for her, anything - not
5. My brother ringing up two days after the results of my biopsy confirmed bc telling me he 'forgot' I was going for tests and if I only knew how hard it was to run a dairy dept (at the local supermarket) because he knew my dx wasn't that bad! Right! Dr Dairy...hmmm.
6. Cancer...is that before or after Aquarius?
7. Yeah, right, whatever.
8. It's always about you, isn't it?
This just happened to me today. I went in for my 2nd rads treatment. I've been pretty freaked out about the whole radiation thing. In fact I almost had a panic attack on the table yesterday. Well, today, the radiologist tech who looks like she's about 12 years old told me that they can't even have anyone working on the roof when the machine is in use because it would go right through the ceiling and he would get a dose of radiation!!! THIS I did not need to hear
I have not begun chemo yet. I will be starting on 4/14. The other day I decided to color my hair. I was a little tired of the gray (at 35, I feel like I'm way too young to be gray) and will be seeing someone this weekend that I haven't seen in over 20 years. When I told my mom that I colored my hair, her response was, "Why would you do that? It's going to fall out anyway." Okay, it's not like I spent $70 on a color job. It was a $9 box! Today's doozy was me telling her that I bought some mascara that my sister-in-law had recommended to me. Same response, "Why would you do that? Your eyelashes are going to fall out anyway."
My Onc. last year said to my husband........you married her knowing she has breast cancer?
Same man asked me what I did to get breast cancer.
My girlfriend just the other day said ........jeez, if you loose your ovaries too you might as well grow a penis, cause you'll have no women parts left.
I had planned to be out of work four weeks after a bilateral mastectomy -- I live alone and there's no good mass transit to the area where I work, so I needed to heal well enough to be able to drive easily and safely in traffic. While I was out, did I receive flowers from anyone at the office? No. Did I receive a get-well card from anyone at the office? No. Did I even get a post-it note attached to the paycheck I was sent with a handwritten "hope you're doing well"? No. What I did receive, towards the end of the third week, were two emails:
1. From the President of the Company:
"You are entitled to be paid from NJ's Disability Fund. Call me so that we can discuss how to avoid conferring on the State a benefit to which it is not entitled."
Thanks, boss, and I'm doing just fine, thanks for asking.
2. From a colleague:
"Now, I ask you, is it fair to leave me to fend off [boss 1] and [boss 2] alone? Yeah, I know, there's a medical condition to deal with, but really, priorities! Seriously, what, if anything, can you take up with respect to the [current work project]?"
Thanks, [colleague]! And how are you, too?
I had to attend a surprise 21st bday party for my beloved niece last night. The dreaded SIL was there. I put on my happy face even though I have no brows or lashes, and wore the detested wig. I am at the end of rads (2 boosts left) and my incision area is like raw hamburger. (slight pity party here!) Anyway, the first thing out of my MORONIC SIL's mouth was, "I'm so glad you didn't come flat chested!" What a total idiot. She has no idea how much it was hurting for me to even be there. Even the softie I was wearing was torture. And again I say, this woman is a nurse~!!
I was helping to plan a mother's day lunch at my Mom's. I suggested sandwiches and salads. Something easy, because we all have small kids (6 & under). My SIL tells my other SIL that she was worried I was going to bring some cancer-fighting lunch meat like olive-loaf? WTF????
First one was.. We all have to die sometime
Second one was~ I hope you know if you are going to heaven or Hell
Well, I have the Mother-in-law from hell. When our handicapped son had a grand mal seizure on Thanksgiving morning and was rushed via ambulance to the ER, her only comment was "Well what am I supposed to do with all this food?" she never even asked if he was alright. There are so many stories that when i got BC, I knew it was a matter of time. She's a complete Narcissist. She called me up after my last IV chemo, gushing in her sweet sacharrin way how "wonderful that it is all over". I reminded her that i still had 2 weeks of oral chemo to take (I was in a research trial) and she huffed well, then you'll be completely done. And I said, No--then I have more tests and will start my anti-hormone treatment. By this time she was literally huffing and snorting, she wanted to be the Queen Bee, the center of attention once again--just couldn't stand it! So finally she SPITS out "Well, when will you be DONE-DONE??" I smiled sweetly and said "Never". When are you ever really 'over' cancer? It's a chronic illness, and she just couldn't stand the thot of having to share the so-called spotlight with anyone. I reminded her of how healthy she is, how blessed she is, and so (I couldn't help myself!)said "Don't worry, I'm sure I'll die before you do and then everything will be back to normal." And here's the kicker: she said "Yes, I guess that's true." ARRRRGGGHH!
My "hair" is still just short buzz/fuzz, so I am wearing my wig whenever I go out. I'm not quite ready to go without my wig, but it is getting extremely hot. My sister, who lives in another state and has not actually seen me in person since diagnosis, has repeatedly told me "Just say you had lice and that you had to shave your head to get rid of them."
It's kind of like the women who tell you all the labor horror stories when you are pregnant. Thanks a lot! You wonder about some people.
Here's my latest story-- So I'm getting in the elevator of my friends building, and i'm wearing a sweatshirt that says, Cancer couldn't beat me, even when it tried... So this odd looking man says to me,
You survived cancer? and still not comfortable saying- yeah I beat it (you know, still having an upcoming surgery, and another yr of treatments)I smiled and nodded my head.
He looks at me and says,
I survived mental illness.
What does one say to that???? My friend and I tried so hard to not laugh out loud. I was biting my lip. I mustered the only thing my post chemo brain could think of--
Well, surviving anything these days is a feat.
To which he said, you could die from cancer... the only way i can die from mental illness is to kill myself.
the elevator door could not open fast enough... I am so blown away that the world is full of such fascinating creatures.
i was at a new years party. i had just finished chemo and rads and had a very GI Jane head of bristle.
i really wanted to have a nice time at this party. dropped a load on an outfit but i was feeling awful. i had this horrible hacking cough for over a month and i had lost weight. i knew that i wasn't well (was dx with bilateral pneumonia the next am)
anyhow, the bartender at this party was a loon.
after the new years toast i went to get a drink. out of the blue she tells me how it's a drag to be working on new years but what the heck "she still has her health!" she knew i had cx. everybody did.
what a whackjob.
Last night I called an old friend and told her i had breast cancer. She advised me to get some and wear wigs rather than scarves or hats because " the bald head look makes you seem like you "are sick" or "have cancer"!"
Oh GOD! We would'nt want anyone thinking I had CANCER... now....would we
it really irks me...
and i talked to other "cancer survivors" in our exercise class about it today...
what i am talking about are the folks that say "you have the right attitude, you can beat it."
IT DON"T WORK THAT WAY!
If the beast wants to do war with you, that is the way it is.
I am not saying a good attitude doesn't help you get through the day to day dealing with it, but...
My fellow "cancer exercise class" friends all agree...