Cancer does not just affect the person diagnosed, but also their family and friends. Cancer forces you into an unknown world, a world you never wanted to be a part of but you just can’t seem to escape. No one really knows what they should say or do. I just know that there were a few things I heard throughout my journey that really did more harm than good, even though I know that they were always said with good intentions.
You’ve got the good cancer.
I may have actually said this myself about breast cancer a long time ago. Seriously though, there is NO good cancer. I really hope people would stop saying this. The word cancer itself is scary. So just imagine the experience of going through cancer- any cancer & at any stage. The emotional struggle is tough, let alone all the physical struggles that come with breast cancer.
At least you caught it early.
It may sound like you are trying to give out good vibes, but to someone who just heard about their diagnosis, early or not, they are going through a major struggle. They are probably going through surgery, or treatment and trying to adjust to a lot of big changes.
Everyone is at risk of cancer, not just you, stop thinking your cancer is back.
This is so totally valid as well. And I always say it myself, I could die of something totally non cancer related tomorrow. But that does not stop your brain from thinking every ache may be related to your cancer.
You need to stay positive.
No, I don’t need to stay positive. It’s actually impossible to stay positive. When I feel bad, I let myself cry, or be angry, or just stay silent, but then I get up and try harder. Bottling up all the negative feelings and pretending to be happy all the time is actually quite toxic I believe.
Everything will be fine.
I mean I truly wish I could believe that but how does anyone know that for sure? Simply saying that you will be there every step of the way (& actually being there) means so much more.
Congratulations. It’s over.
This one used to drive me insane. The struggles of getting used to your new body, and the side effects of endocrine therapy that you have to take for 5-10 years are overwhelming. So I never liked being congratulated when my journey felt far from over.
You look great.
It may seem like a perfect thing to say, but it used to confuse me when people would tell me I look great, but I actually felt terrible. It makes you think people are just saying it out of pity or maybe they just don’t want to tell you how terrible you really look. That being said, sometimes you look great can actually also lift someone up, so I guess this is a tricky one.
Don’t give advice on what to do/not to do to avoid cancer.
It makes someone feel like they did something wrong in life and they caused the cancer. I’m doing the best I can to survive right now.
Think of it as a boob job
Breast augmentation and reconstruction after a mastectomy are TOTALLY, COMPLETELY, ENTIRELY different things. I don’t even want to explain how different they are.
Everything happens for a reason.
Can someone just tell me the reason? Why did I have to get breast cancer? Is there some hidden lesson behind this? Yes, I have appreciated things a bit more but also the treatments make me a bit crazy some days. So no it is not some big revelation to make me live life to the fullest. I would’ve much rather preferred an easier lesson.
“Words are powerful, use them carefully”
Sometimes simply being there to listen can mean more than anything you can possibly say. Don’t just check up on the person once and disappear. Support makes a huge difference during difficult times. We all know it’s easier to be around people during happy times, but you learn who really cares about you when life gets tough.