Stupid stuff people say to cancer patients

Today, I bring forth a draft I had started writing a few months ago.

Stupid Stuff People Say To Cancer Patients:

TOP OF THE LIST – I wish to tell a little story.

One day, I’m walking towards my office, and a woman in my department stops me and asks: What did you do, to cause your cancer? I looked at her and couldn’t come up with a response… and she goes on – you know, like lung cancer? And smoking?

Right…. That pretty much ruined my next few hours at work…

I realize that cancer is scary. NONE of us has a clue as to how to talk about it. It’s not like we get sensitivity training for trauma and crappy diseases.

We do not fully understand why cancer happens – how it starts – how it propagates – how it spreads. One person can be a healthy athletic vegan for life… and get cancer. Another can work with carcinogenic compounds, eat sugar night and day, smoke cigarettes, drink like a fish, and even dabble in other mind altering substances… AND NEVER GET CANCER. Even if that person did get cancer? That person does NOT DESERVE IT.

UPDATE:  Another story!  Today – yes today…  I see someone I’m acquainted with. She stops me and asks me if my name is Lee.  Yes, I say… She starts to talk about how she saw me on the news back last fall and how deeply my story affected her.  And she’s wanted to share with me that she knows exactly what I’m going through.  You see, she has gone through it too.

“It was benign,” she says.  I … am….  silent.  “I had a little surgery,” she says… to remove a cyst.  So, she knows exactly what I went through.

OK – news flash!  A cancer-scare IS NOT CANCER!


About rleepenn

I'm a mom and a chemistry professor, and I love to ride bikes! On July 29th, 2011, I received the news that I have breast cancer. This is my blog....
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