Apparently having breast cancer is not a bad enough diagnosis for some people. They have to come up with all kinds of diseases, symptoms, and scenarios that are much worse than mine are and tell me all about them. Really? My double-mastectomy-requiring-cancer isn’t awful enough for you? Really? The fact that I have to endure radiation treatment 5 days a week for at least 5 weeks isn’t horrible enough for you? Really? The fact that I have to undergo extremely painful treatments from my Plastic Surgery Team every week (that make me feel as if I’ve been in a car wreck every week) can’t stop you from telling me how it could be worse? Really? The fact that I must have more surgery to avoid being left with only sad scarred empty spaces on my chest where my breasts USED to be is not tragic enough for you? Really?
Well, let me get something Off My Chest (besides my breasts and yes, double entendre intended). I have been told that I am dealing with all of this pretty well. Actually, I have been told that I am dealing with all of this REALLY well. Maybe too well… because it seems that because I joke about fighting cancer, it might mean that I don’t feel pain/fear/mortality. BUZZZZZZ – wrong answer. I do want to be viewed as a person, not only as a patient for sure, but for the time being, I am both. Have some sensitivity people!
There is NO comparison between having a Breast Augmentation, which is a choice, and a Double-Damn-Mastectomy-with-Reconstruction. Partially because of the NO CHOICE thingy and partially because the surgeries are VERY different. Don’t comfort yourself by suggesting that I will walk away with better breasts. There are much easier ways to get them.
Being able to have reconstruction is a wonderful thing, don’t get me wrong, but it is a REPAIR of damage caused by disease, not a cosmetic procedure that I chose because I wanted bigger breasts. I see nothing wrong – repeat – nothing wrong – with elective cosmetic surgery, but that is not what is going on in my world. No choosing was involved here. I did NOT choose to have this battle except by refusing to lie down and do nothing.
I hope that I don’t have terrible side effects from Radiation Treatment (3rd degree burns for example) and I really-truly-honestly do not want a laundry list of everything bad that can happen to me. I already know, trust me. My doctor has to tell me – by law.
As I have already HAD the double mastectomy, I am completely not interested in hearing about the miracle cure/different surgery/different Dr. that someone thinks would have been a better choice. What am I supposed to do? Go and ask for my cancer ridden breast back so I can try your recommended treatment? Really? Hard to believe, but this conversation actually took place. Really! I made the best choice for me and that choice has already been implemented. Sheesh, it’s not that hard to figure out.
I ESPECIALLY do not want to know how my situation could be worse than it already is. I do not want to hear how lucky I am that it isn’t X, Y, or Z. Please don’t tell me that this is part of God’s plan or that it’s “All good”. I don’t want to hear about the lady down the street who has it so much worse than I do.
Fixable, ok, and fine? Fixable still means cancer, and so far for me, always means painful with dodgy outcomes. I may OR I may not be ok. It depends on what your definition of ok is. What the hell does fine mean? I am really not feeling very fine right now.
One last thing (unless I think of something else). Please. Please. If someone tells you they have cancer or whatever other dread disease, take a second. Don’t mouth some platitude just to have something to say. Stunned silence is ok. That’s how most of us felt when we were first told. Hugs are good.Tears can be a bit tricky, but those are real so that’s ok too. But don’t blurt out “that’s the kind they can fix, right?”, or “you’ll be ok” or “you’ll be fine”. Try really hard not to make it about you and your fears. I am doing my best to deal with all of my own fear right now and probably can’t handle yours. DO tell me “I’m so sorry” or that “this sucks” or that “I am there for you” or “we’ll kill this rat-bastard” or something along those lines.
Now that’s off my chest, have a nice day.
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8 thoughts on “ Platitude Free Zone”
Some people shouldn’t be allowed to talk to cancer patients (or anybody) without running it by at least 3 other people first. Did anyone ask you if your cancer was the “bad kind”?
They said “They can fix that right?” I’m still choking on your comment – the BAD kind? REALLY??? Wow. Like there’s a good kind of cancer… GAH!!! You should go to my FB Page – Off My Chest – and post about that!!!!!
I know you’ve heard this said before – some things are better left UNSAID. And your post shows perfect examples of people who should have just stayed inside their own heads and shut up. Your post makes me want to slap someone around…. People can be so STUPID. And some are stupid all of the time…
I have never heard so many stupid things said by otherwise fairly intelligent people in my entire life.
🙂 Fairly intelligent or, conversely, unfairly intelligent!
Thanks – either way!
The fact that you used the term rat bastard and made a reference to jeans making someone’s ass look fat in a post about fighting cancer makes me want to repost this everywhere for everyone who has ever suffered. EVERYTHING you have said in this post is so right on and such perfect advice. But the rat bastard/fat ass combo makes you one of the most naturally funny people to ever kick the ass (fat or otherwise) of cancer. You rock.