• A friend of mine saw me yesterday and as we chatted I told her I hadn't been out as much in the last year because of my cancer.

    Asked by PattyMarie on Thursday, February 20, 2020

    A friend of mine saw me yesterday and as we chatted I told her I hadn't been out as much in the last year because of my cancer.

    She dropped her mouth and said, well you don't look like you have cancer! Almost in a way that suggested she didn't think I really did. I didn't know how to take that. Should I be happy that I don't look bad, or angry because she thought I might be lying about having cancer?

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • JaneA's Avatar

      People still believe in the old stereotype of cancer patients, who were wasting away from muscle loss and were bald. Most patients today don't fit that stereotype so our acquaintances don't realize by our appearance what we're facing. Be happy that you look like your same ole self.

      about 1 month ago
    • Dawsonsmom's Avatar

      People often have the idea that if we have cancer we should look like walking skeletons....and some poor folks do, but many of us look fine. The operative being “look”. I think sometimes people say stupid things without realizing how stupid they sound.

      about 1 month ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      If this came out of left field for her, she may have just been shocked and just blurted words.

      I worked through treatment, and while I didn't proclaim it from the rooftop, I didn't hide my diagnosis either. Lost my hair about 3 weeks after the first chemo, so I did hats and scarves. I was walking with a coworker and she asked me why I was out the day before. Told her I had a chemo session. She stopped dead in her tracks and just stared out me. "You are cancer?!?1" Uh, yeah, why do you think I'm wearing hats. In a very meek voice she said, "I thought you just liked hats..."

      about 1 month ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I have heard that before too, at times. I have gone from looking like I was half dead to looking like I was normal. I looked so bad one time that some people didn't know who I was when I was standing in front of them. I agree that sometimes people just don't know what to say. I give them a break most of the time.

      about 1 month ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      People say stupid things all the time. You just have to remember what Elsa sings in the movie Frozen. Let it Go! Let it Go!
      And we have been listening to the soundtrack today with the granddaughters.

      about 1 month ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      I take it as a compliment when "you don't look sick". Before my cancer diagnosis my friends and family had been expressing concerns about my looks. When I was finally diagnosed, I tried to look my best. My daughter was a great help with make-up. When anyone said "you're looking good" I always say "Thank-you, I am trying hard " I think this is a kind answer. I also think it strengthens the relationship

      about 1 month ago
    • po18guy's Avatar

      Realistically, how should we expect those around us to respond to a life-changing bit of news? Unless it has been expected, it is a cold shot. They have no time to ponder or prepare a response. The variance in replies we receive only reflects individual personalities, as I see it. I would cut them some slack - if we think back, we very likely have reacted the same.

      about 1 month ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      I have never looked like I have cancer (whatever that look is). I look as healthy as anyone. Even when I was at my sickest during chemo, I looked healthy.

      I have heard a million times that I don't look like I have cancer and I always agree with them - I don't. I actually gained weight (too much by far) after my diagnosis, my color is good, my energy is good ... if I didn't tell someone I had cancer, they would never ever guess.

      I personally think that's wonderful. I feel very fortunate that I look and feel healthy despite a stage IV diagnosis and 7 years of treatment. (I have to say ... most people I know who have cancer don't "look like" they have it ... they look pretty darn healthy ... I think maybe that means that cancer doesn't have a "Look" these days )

      about 1 month ago

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