All The Wrong Things

I have done plenty of reading over the last few years surrounding what not to say to someone who has received a stage IV cancer diagnosis. I have found, via such articles, that the list can be quite extensive taking into consideration all the different types of cancers and personalities that exist in our world today. The top offending comments that seem to appear over and again in these writings include, but are not limited to: "You can beat this!", "Everything will okay!", "If you pray and believe enough God will heal you!", "Hemp oil (coffee enemas, special diets ~ insert the alternative treatment of your choice) can cure you!" 

Trust me when I say this, I have heard it all. I, however, have rarely felt offended when people offer up these comments and advice. I always figured they are just wishing the best for me, are not really sure what to say, so they speak spontaneously from their hearts. I just try not to overanalyze any advice and words offered to me. Think about it. Someone discovers I have cancer, it's stage IV and it's anal cancer on top of that. Let's face it, it's a real stunner. Because I feel there is no harm intended I generally say thank you and somehow often end up comforting them about my diagnosis. Weird, right? But I often don't even know what to say back to them, especially the hemp oil alternative treatment thing, so I have been known to, you could say, nurture the awkward words of encouragement spoken to me. I know of other cancer victims that actually speak out when then are offended by what they perceive as thoughtless comments and "correct" their well wishers. I think that in it self is thoughtless and even cruel. For example, even if you don't believe in God...where is the malicious motivation in telling anyone that God can heal you. I believe in God and I believe he can heal me. I don't believe that that is based on my amount of prayer and my level of faith. I mean, if my cancer returns I won't blame God or my lack of sufficient faith. But I am not on a mission to slap down a well wishers words with a chastising rebuttal to their statements. Those articles I have read make me uncomfortable. When I see someone lashing back on social media to a well wisher offering comfort it makes me angry. I think "Wow. They just said something from a place of helplessness and that's what they get back. A public spanking?" 

Actually, I know what it feels like to not know what to say. That awkward moment when you realize that you are helpless when someone tells you awful news about themselves or a loved one. It happened to me just recently. A dear friend's mother, stricken suddenly with symptoms and then an ominous tumor discovered with testing. When she told me I embraced her in a big hug and  said what was in my heart....all the wrong things.

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I am right there with you sister! You just said it all so well.
Michele likes this comment
When you "speak from your heart" I don't feel that you can say anything wrong; perhaps awkward, maybe you would rethink it, but if it was said with the best of intentions, then it's not 'wrong'. We're only human.
Michele likes this comment
I so love your perspective in this post. You obviously carry compassion as a first defense. And you see the waste in feeling offended by someone else's words. I am trying to be that person, but it is a struggle! How redundant would it be to again call you an inspiration? Gonna do it anyway, "Inspirer!"
Ruth, Michele like this comment
Thank you for this post. It was just what I needed today. You are right. Words spoken from the heart are just that.
I totally agree with you! The phrase or comment that always erked me was "this can happen to anyone no one is 100 percent protected"! And you can walk in front of a truck, bus or car and die! Sorry those statements made me mad! Some people don't get one you have history these words do not make you feel better! !! As far as prayers and people saying you will be OK made me feel a little better. ...
Michele, Lori like this comment
I once had someone tell me that the divorce they were going through was equal to or greater than the pain I was experiencing while going through cancer treatment. Uh, I don't think so.
Michele likes this comment
I sympathize. You think with exposure and experience that dealing with these situations would get easier, but they don't. Cancer is never easy. It's usually not what is said that makes the biggest impact I find. Love and support. You are so fabulous at both these things.
Michele likes this comment
So powerful. Thank you.
Michele likes this comment
For me ... cancer can make me mad... and so when your starting from there .. and someone says something I can go to a few places one is. Thankfulness and gratefulness or I don't want to hear anything about what your saying or whatever your saying is scaring me even more.. or I know you do not know what your talking about...and the one that gets me is "Did you smoke?" along with ohhh that's why then...I always appreciate prayers and I try to put the face of God on people who irritate me ..I pray for ones who do not have God because I don't know how I would get through without him... I think people saying you can beat this makes them feel like they are empowering you to get well and so many just want to help in any way.. Cancer can make friends and loved ones feel so helpless at times..Michele as always love your posts hugs and love and always prayers Sabina
Michele likes this comment
Thanks Michele, food for thought!! It`s such a touchy subject the CANCER word. I personally was offended when I felt people were feeling sorry for me or treated or looked at me differently when they found out I had cancer,like they thought I just received a death sentence!! I also think I was in a bit of denial and did not want to face the facts when I was told, so I reacted not so nicely sometimes, like when my Niece picked me up to go for lunch one day and we are driving and She reached over and patted me on the leg, I lost it on Her, I told Her to F*** Off!! ,I did apologize later and explained how I felt when she did that, or the time my Sister said she was coming over to brush the snow off of my car for me when I was quite capable at that point in time of doing it myself, that offended me! Even though I would probably do all the same things to or for other people when they told me they had cancer, That is how I reacted when people did that to me. So hard to know what to say or do. All I can say is I did not want to be treated any different because I had cancer!! JUST SAYING!!
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Vital Info

Posts

October 3, 2011

Click Here

January 31, 1963

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the anus

February 5, 2010

Stage 4

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 3

No

As much as possible

Proceeds from my published blog donated monthly

It is a thief

You have to live every day of your life and stay positive :)

Donate $$ to the anal cancer foundation. Raising awareness saves lives!

Is there anything good about poison?

Bone, lung recurrence 9/20/2012

Cancer Center of Kansas, MD Anderson

Bland diet, sitz baths, take your drugs...nobody gets extra credit for suffering.

Talk, talk, talk to somebody. I chose to write.

April 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Rectal bleeding, itching, sciatic pain. (thought my hemorhoid was acting up)

My blog has been published and proceeds go to The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/72bjjfp

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