Nine times out of ten I don’t understand whats happening to me, why everything is so difficult and painful and taking so long, and so it becomes very difficult to explain to others what I’m going through. Some just don’t understand or know what to say and unfortunately their reactions can often do more harm than good.
Here’s just a selection of the surprising reactions I’ve been on the receiving end. It’s been an interesting few months!
- You didn’t actually have cancer did you!
- Don’t be a closed book all your life
- You have the best kind of cancer
- I don’t know what you’re so upset about, you’re not dead
- How are you going to feel when you get cancer again? (surprisingly this comment was from a cancer helpline worker)
- What have you been doing with all your time off?
- I heard you did a 30 mile run after the surgery
- I’m really upset and you’re not helping me
- Do you have any positive thoughts?
- Cheer up
- Don’t sit at home and mope (this is what they assumed I was doing. They couldn’t be more wrong)
- Wear something sparkly, you’ll feel better
- The cancer’s gone so everything is ok now isn’t it
- We’ve made a mistake and removed a healthy part of your body (a heartbreaking comment from my Consultant post surgery)
- The good news is your cancer is classified as a critical illness (from my Consultant, again post surgery)
And of course… “You can beat this”… followed by… “You’ve beaten it”. The problem with both of these statements is that it assumes that we are capable of curing ourselves of cancer, which we’re not. If we were, no one would ever die of cancer and those that did would be blamed for not doing enough.