5 Things You Should Never Say to a Cancer Patient/Survivor ....
Or at least to this cancer survivor. Anyone who has been through anything like this knows the drill. People say the darnedest things when they feel uncomfortable and are wanting to offer some sort of comfort. We, the recipients, learn to smile and say thank you for the kind words. Meanwhile, in our heads we are thinking WHAT? We know you all mean well. We know it is coming from the best of intentions. But, it gets old and silently you start screaming when you hear it once again.
1. You're so strong! - No, I'm really not. The alternative is death. I have basic self preservation skills, not the strength of Hercules. Strength is leaving your cushy job, cushy house and going to a third world country to teach children how to read and adults to farm. I just didn't want to die.
2. I don't know how you do it! - See above. I don't want to die. This is what I have to do not to die. That is how I do it.
3. Karma - Anything to do with Karma should be tossed out the window. I can't think of a single thing I did to deserve getting cancer. I can't even think of a 100 things put together that I have done that would warrant that coming back around to me.
4. The Secret - Much like the karma deal, people are constantly telling me their belief that what you put out into the universe is what the universe sends back to you. I put out to the universe that I wanted a baby, the universe gave me cancer. Karla Homolka put out the the universe that she wanted to rape, torture and murder young girls, including her sister. The universe gave her a home in the Antilles with three children of her own. I don't think I need to expand on this any further.
5. You are so lucky. - Obviously, this one is for the survivors. Winning the lottery is lucky. Finding a $100 bill in a river is lucky. Putting your body through months and sometimes years of toxins is survival. Lucky is never getting cancer at all.
If you have said these things, don't cringe. Like I said, we all know it is coming from a great place. Behind those words we do hear, "I love you. I can't understand why you have to go through this.". We appreciate you trying to be our cheerleader.
But next time, get them a funny cancer T-shirt and simply say "I love you. I can't understand why you have to go through this. But, I will be there for you however you need me to be."