"Your hair will grow back" - well yes, it will, but how about you shave your hair off and then see if "it'll grow back" will make you feel great! I had posted this blog and one of my friends said "Saying to someone " It'll grow back" is so insensitive, like saying to someone suffering depression " Pull yourself together"....Most of us can remember having a hair do that we hated and yes, it grows out but until it does, it doesn't matter what anyone says, you still feel awful....Well losing your hair must be a million times worse than that, plus everything else you're having to deal with at that time". I thought that was a really good analogy so, with her permission have reproduced it here.
"I really don't feel well" - this one really makes me laugh! I've had loads of people who have had a cough or cold say this to me as I've been going through treatment (and they knew I was having chemotherapy)! Well, actually cancer trumps that one lol. I don't think you'll ever hear the words "I don't feel well" come out of my mouth again unless I'm REALLY am suffering!
"Be positive" - this is one of my pet hates! I can't be positive about having cancer BUT I can be brave in my fight to get through the treatment. I'd prefer it if people said to me "you'll get through it" or "you can do it".
"You're strong" or "You're brave" - I don't mind being told I'm strong (although I know others hate it) because I know I am strong so for me that's probably a true statement! As for the "You're brave" well, I don't think anybody with cancer is brave. They've had a disease thrown at them and they've got to get on with it. Ok, I know some people find that difficult to do but it's nothing to do with bravery.
"Poor woman" - I never go out in public without my wig and make up on now as I'm acutely aware how I look BUT the other day I had to go to my doctors and was suffering with pneumonia so I thought I'd drive there and back and nobody would see me. However, outside the surgery there were 5 women standing and chatting. They looked at me and looked away, avoiding eye contact. I had my beanie on but it's very clear that I don't have hair underneath. As I walked past, I heard a woman say "poor woman". I KNOW she was saying it to be kind and it was heartfelt but it made me feel like a victim. I hated it. I cried all the way home and it really affected me. Instead of pity, a smile and eye contact is worth a million words.
"Have you tried [insert some weird or wacky plant or treatment here] as my friend used it and it cured her cancer" - okay, well news flash, if any of these things actually worked then the cure for cancer would have been found!
When cancer treatment has finished "You're cured now" - this is probably one of the worst things you can say! Once you have cancer, the fear of a recurrence is always there. The treatment has worked but you can never say you're cured. Even the medical profession will say you have "no evidence of disease" but they never say you're cured.