Things not to say to someone with Cancer

I know there are a thousand of these lists
tumbling about the internet, but a few weeks ago I had someone tell me that
having treatment for cancer was ‘a bit like being pregnant – what with the
heartburn, feeling sick, being tired, losing your hair’. And as, as I’m not
hashtag blessed to have a child, I just had to take with a pinch of salt……
But it’s only one in a list of ridiculous things
that have been said to me in the last year or so……, here goes; Things
not to say to someone facing cancer (well, not if you like them anyway!)
You don’t look sick
I heard this so much during Chemo.
And most of the time I didn’t look sick because,
at 36, I have learnt how to put on my make-up to some degree of competency (no,
no, not counting eyeliner, or contouring, or lipstick – but I can apply a CC
cream and blusher!)
The irony is that people think you should look a
certain way during treatment because people on the TV with cancer do – they look
gaunt and grey. But the steroids I was on did wonders for my skin. Man, my skin
looked amazing on the steroids. Yes, sometimes underneath the makeup my skin
was bright red from tablets I was on, and sometimes it was an alarming shade of
grey too, but it was plump and clear and wonderful on the steroids. Ahhhhhh.
But you’ve got hair…..
Damn straight I have hair. I worked bloody hard to keep my hair. Don’t you hair shame me.
The thought that losing your hair makes you
“braver” or more worthy is rubbish and needs to be quashed. Losing
your hair does not make you instantly sicker or facing something worse than
someone who has chosen to try and keep their hair – especially not when there
are cold caps to try and even some types of chemo that don’t affect your hair!
So it’s not serious then / At least it’s not a
bad one / at least it’s only breast cancer.
Oh yes, this, in a variety of forms was said to
me in the weeks after my diagnosis, when it was all still new to me and scary
as hell and I was kind of freaking out because we didn’t have a full diagnosis.
Yes – I know I am super lucky to have had a
treatable cancer but also, fuck off. At the time I just wanted to smash their
head into the wall. Sitting there facing a bunch of treatment and being told it
was ‘only breast cancer’. Nobs.
Are you going to die? 
Probably. But not quite yet. Unless Jim bumps me
off for my life insurance – although it’s not really worth it for him if I’m
honest. He, on the other hand is worth quite a pretty penny to me
But just imagine if it was bad news. How dumb would you feel then? Think about what you’d do if someone turned round and said yes to this question! 
What did you do to get it?
I don’t know if people know that cancer is, in
most cases, just a mutation of your cells, it’s not something that you bring on
yourself. I mean I did ask the question if something I did might have caused it
and I was told, by a medical professional, that nothing I did could have brought
it on – so I dissolved myself of most of my guilt right there.
Nope, not the red meat eating, not the drinking,
and most certainly not the cheese I consume. Although the vegans of Instagram
have some very vocal views that go against this.
Do you want a kale smoothie?
Do you
want a kale smoothie?
Jim kept putting kale in my smoothies for a
while. Bless him though, he still puts kale in his own smoothies. I’ll happily
take a fruit smoothie, but kale. Nope. And I’ve got nothing against kale really
– it’s delicious crispy friend. But don’t you try and make me drink it – it just
makes smoothies lumpy and look like dirt.
Oh, it’s trivial, nothing compared to what
you’re going through
This really annoyed me when friends said this to
me. It made me want to shout at them. If something is a big issue in your life
then it’s a big issue. Your big issues are the big things going on in your life
right now, fact! I mean i might roll my eyes when you moan about something for
the 14th time, but hell, I’d have done that anyway!
You don’t know what tired is. You don’t have
Yes. People with children have the monopoly on
tired. You try having insomnia for the best part of a year and tell me I don’t
know what tired is. Granted, I get to scroll through dogstagram and read books
when I wake up, but, still, I’m awake.
I hear chemo/radiotherapy is easy
Piece of piss mate. Easy. Go try it for a laugh
on a Friday night. I mean, straight up gods honest truth, it’s not as hard as
they make it out to be on TV. Or I didn’t think it was. But It wasn’t easy, not
by a long stretch of the imagination.
My friend is already back at Spin classes
Bully for your friend. I assume they were mental
and doing spin classes pre-treatment! I, on the other hand have never had the
stupidity to set foot in a spin class so you’re probably not going to see me do
one now. Plus, everyone is different. I didn’t lose all my hair, but I did lose
my stamina. They might have lost their sanity! 
So, there you have it – things to avoid saying to someone who’s got cancer. No matter what stage of treatment they’re at! 

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