• ~But You Don't Look Sick!~ We've all heard this one I think, we were wondering how you answer this. Do you have a clever, snappy comeback?

    Asked by GregP_WN on Friday, June 5, 2015

    ~But You Don't Look Sick!~ We've all heard this one I think, we were wondering how you answer this. Do you have a clever, snappy comeback?

    Do you use something funny as a reply, or just blow it off?

    35 Answers from the Community

    35 answers
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      It doesn't bother me. In fact, I am HAPPY that i don't look sick. So, my response is usually something like, "I know! Aren't I blessed? I feel great, too!"

      This attitude means i don't get much sympathy or catering... A good friend that i walk with most every day told me the other day that i was lucky i don't have one of the serious cancers (i am stage IV nsclc).

      over 5 years ago
    • cam32505's Avatar
      cam32505

      I think we associate cancer with being thin, bald, etc. so when somebody looks 'normal', it makes a person think they're not sick. There are many sick people who don't look sick. Just look at someone getting out in a handicap parking space. Unless they crawl into the store, you don't know what's wrong with them.

      over 5 years ago
    • IronMom45's Avatar
      IronMom45

      I felt over joyed this week like I had obtained some kind of goal. But when I was feeling my worst I would get annoyed and sometimes respond with what does near death look like? So depends on my mood.

      over 5 years ago
    • Ellie59's Avatar
      Ellie59

      I say " thank you" unfortunately I am fighting the battle of my life.

      over 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      It depended upon my mood.

      Anything from a snarky "Do you always judge books by their covers?" to a "Really? Then I must be mistaken."

      I don't look my chronological age either. As often as not, I just have fun with "You guessed it!" while laughing or being annoyed (anyway who cares?) and walking away.

      We have a strange society which seems to place looks in a more important category than the actual state of well being or internal feelings.

      If you are really, really annoyed, excuse yourself as you are in a terrible hurry get to class to learn to be late to your own funeral. That leaves them with gaping open mouths.

      If you believe the person means well but simply doesn't know what to say, a thank you is in order along with an earnest query as to how that might help.

      I'm almost always edgy when I'm feeling awful. It is a rare occasion when I can rise above it. I'm learning every day.

      over 5 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar
      CAS1

      To be honest I no longer have the energy to go into it all anymore. I say thanks and change the subject.

      over 5 years ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      Another saying that bugged me was "You look Great". What? I haven't eaten a real meal in months, I've lost 40 pounds, all my clothes bag off, and I've been throwing up for a week straight. How great could I look? I would just smile and say "Thank You" but I wanted to yell -LIAR! at them.
      I really think people don't know what to say. And only until you have walked in a cancer patient's shoes, do you really understand cancer and all the fun things you go through, just to survive and hopefully beat this ugly monster.

      over 5 years ago
    • kalindria's Avatar
      kalindria

      I has someone say this to me when I was in a completely horrid mood (and it wasn't a person I like very much) so I snapped back, "And you don't look stupid, but we know better, don't we?"

      I don't recommend that course of action, but XXX! it felt great.

      over 5 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I was so sick of people telling me I looked sick. When someone said that I was looking better, I thanked them profusely. My friends had been expressing concern about my health for almost a year before I finally went to the Dr. When I go to social gatherings, I always try to look my best. So if someone says you are looking well. I always feel better. Because even if I feel terrible. I have achieved making it invisible so I have won something

      over 5 years ago
    • MichaelS's Avatar
      MichaelS

      Don't need a snappy comeback. I think it would be inappropriate. I think this is compliment, and after sitting in onc's office with maybe 20 other patients, I wouldn't like to hear that I fit in.

      over 5 years ago
    • togo's Avatar
      togo

      I'm thankful that I don't look sick! Before my chemo and radiation began, I felt so sorry for those who came in the waiting rooms and the cafeteria with tubes hanging out of every orifice and looked "green" with nausea and I was so glad that it wasn't me and that I wasn't "that" sick! Then, it was my turn; with 10 IV bags and 6 drains tubing from my body and not being able to even go to the cafeteria because I couldn't stand the smell, then, I could see the "pity" looks in peoples eyes and remember feeling the same way when I saw "the future me", but I was appreciative for their sympathy. I was so grateful that it was only temporary that I "looked" sick, and now when I see those who are now in the "shoes" I once wore, I can truly empathize and once again I am glad it isn't me! I wish I could say you'll get through this, it's only temporary, but I know everyone isn't as lucky as I was...so what do you say? Be thankful for every "worse case scenario" that you conquer and cherish the days you don't look sick!

      over 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      Come to think of it, I got this also from doctors who were unable to believe I was ill and diagnose me. They wanted me to take happy pills.

      It wasn't so much that they said "You look great." as it was that they told me there was nothing wrong or out of the ordinary.

      over 5 years ago
    • Janetspringer's Avatar
      Janetspringer

      I hated the"You look good" even though I was bald, bloated, and had no brows or eye lashes

      over 5 years ago
    • pgillespie's Avatar
      pgillespie

      My 2nd cousin and I are the only family members in the SPECIAL club of breast cancer. She is about 1 year ahead of me in this journey and she keeps saying that education is the key. That comment is one that is ignorant about cancer. YOU have the opportunity to educate. Question responses like Do you know how many people are affected with cancer? Do you know the warning signs of cancer? Did you know that "looking sick" is not one of them?

      over 5 years ago
    • kalindria's Avatar
      kalindria

      I think it's highly inappropriate to comment on other people's appearance. You just never know how it will be received. Although it's often meant well, it's not usually welcome. I don't want to hear what your uninformed opinion is of my looks - I have a freaking mirror.

      I look tired all the time, have bags under my eyes, my skin is pale and pasty, and my hair is white and thin. People tell me I look well but most of that is because I am smiling, vibrant and energetic. No one knows that I go home afterward and sleep for two hours.

      These folks may THINK they're being kind or saying something nice, but I wish they'd say how great it is to see me or something less personal.

      over 5 years ago
    • msesq's Avatar
      msesq

      Most of the time I simply said thank you, but like others when I was feeling really rotten it XXX me off.

      over 5 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Kalindria, if people say you look well because you are smiling, vibrant and energetic and you don't want them compliment you on this, then don't be smiling, vibrant and energetic. Frown, be lethargic, and drag your self about. I think you might have worked hard to be smiling, vibrant and energetic. If that is what they are complimenting you on your work had been rewarded. During chemo my daughter helped me to look my best. She selected colors that would off set the cancer grey complexion. She made sure that when I went for treatment I was properly "made up" Of course I have been told never to wear makeup to a Dr. appointment because Dr.s can tell a lot about the state of your health by your skin color.
      By the way there is one "you look good" statement that I haven't yet learned how to process. It is "You look good considering ______"

      over 5 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      There are some valid points here. I don't and haven't looked like i have cancer so people are serious when they say i look good (for someone with cancer). When i haven't seen someone for awhile, i often tell them they look good if they do. BUT, if people told me how great i looked when i obviously didn't, i would be far less welcoming of the obvious fib.

      over 5 years ago
    • Nanajudy's Avatar
      Nanajudy

      Stage IV ..6 yrs.I WENT TO APARTY LAST NIGHT. EVERYONE SAIS "you look great "...I felt like crap...but said thank you. People are trying to be kind & everyone these days has something going on with themselves. It's our life...if we wake up each morning..we are the lucky ones.

      over 5 years ago
    • booboo's Avatar
      booboo

      Remarks like "you don't look sick" are well meant, even if a bit tactless. "Thank you" is the proper response. Why respond with a "snappy comeback" (which is code for "rudeness")? It serves no purpose except to raise the level of rudeness in life. That's not something we need, there are plenty of rude people in the world, they don't need me to join their team. If I said to someone, "you look well" and received a "snappy" (rude) response, I would feel hurt and not inclined to speak to that person again. I try to be mindful of what I put out there, and I try not to increase the rudeness quotient.

      over 5 years ago
    • Jean-Luc's Avatar
      Jean-Luc

      To me it is not the words themselves, but what I read between the lines (tone of voice, body language, knowledge of that person's previous and general behavior).
      It is mostly what I perceive as the motive for that question.

      Sincere (even if not tactful) persons get more slack than selfish, all appearance driven idiots who do not give a flying donut really about how I am, but use that line simply as a tool to get me to reciprocate (and then I have to listen to their endless me me me monologue).
      I refuse to play the later's game.

      over 5 years ago
    • 5min_late's Avatar
      5min_late

      People always say 'you look great'.... My answer was 'Looking good has never been my problem!'

      over 5 years ago
    • Sue_2015's Avatar
      Sue_2015

      That and "You can't have stage IV cancer, you look fine..." is what many people say. Some, also say, "..you're faking it, you don't look like you've lost any weight in fact it looks like you've gained weight..." (then they tell me they're joking, so that I'll know they are just trying to make me feel better.) I tell them thanks, and I hope I continue to look this good, but then I've only had 2 rounds of chemo so far. I tell them it's the steroids that make me look bulked up and helping me become a fighter...a cancer warrior and survivor! :-)

      over 5 years ago
    • Jean-Luc's Avatar
      Jean-Luc

      Also, I found that I was not aware how bad I looked a few months ago (you know, the pained look with pained, dead eyes, pained mouth, pained way to move...) and people who had not seen me for a few months notice the change (that is not just them being polite or social), the same way one notices how much a child has grown when not having seen him/her for a while, as opposed to the parents who see the child every day and do not notice the change as much.

      over 5 years ago
    • Jean-Luc's Avatar
      Jean-Luc

      ("you look good!" or "you look better!")

      over 5 years ago
    • kalindria's Avatar
      kalindria

      BoiseB - you missed the point as usual but we have such different life outlooks, I'm not surprised. I can smile and still look like crap, trust me - if you saw me today, I'd prove my point. Makeup does not make you pretty. I wish you well. The following is commentary on my viewpoint and not directed at you.

      Commenting on LOOKS, especially women's looks, is something I consider highly sexist in most cases. We talk about women in different terms than men and it's just not right. I hate that we focus on how women look rather than who we are and what we can accomplish. This topic wasn't really meant to be about sexism but for me it dovetails right into that topic so I had to mention it.

      It's not helpful to me to have folks commenting on my looks (smiling or not), my weight or my hair or the lack of it. If they want to be nice or helpful or kind, they should find something to say that I actually am responsible for and can change if I choose - nice smile, great outfit, wonderful to see you, etc.

      I know I'm probably not expressing a popular opinion but I wanted to share. Don't judge me on my looks. Period.

      over 5 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I spent several years after retirement working in men's wear. My job was to make men look good. I might say that men as a whole might not be as adept as women at making themselves look pleasant. I for one often compliment men on their looks. Friends of mine have confided in me that their husbands have at times "borrowed" their make-up to cover some flaws. Some men actually pluck and shape their eyebrows. (Something I was never able to do) Many men grow and groom beards and mustaches. I for one welcome compliments on my appearance whether it be from a man, a woman or a child.
      Oh on that weight thing, I have commented about weight to both men and women.

      over 5 years ago
    • MichaelS's Avatar
      MichaelS

      Everyone says a positive attitude is helpful in combating this disease. I consider comments like this a little "cheerleading" and I appreciate them. There are things we all have to cope with mentally and physically, and they require strength and support. I am coping with a limited time with my kids and grandkids. I am not striking out at anyone else because of this situation. Most of these comments I an reading here reek of self pity. There are plenty of horrible diseases out there and we got this one. If you need to let off steam, buy a punching bag, and give the ones who are trying to be nice to you a free pass.

      over 5 years ago
    • Jean-Luc's Avatar
      Jean-Luc

      Sure, let's just give a free pass to anybody who wants to say anything to us, no matter how rudely or inconsiderately worded, and no matter their agenda.
      Sounds like a great plan, right?
      I don't like cheerleading, personally, and for sure not addressed to me.
      And I would love to see you try punching a bag while having lung cancer.

      over 5 years ago
    • booboo's Avatar
      booboo

      God, grant me a vacation to make bearable what I cannot change, a friend to make it funny, and the wisdom to never get my knickers in a knot because it solves nothing and makes me walk funny.

      over 5 years ago
    • kalindria's Avatar
      kalindria

      This thread is a perfect example of how, just as there is no one type of cancer, there is no one set reaction to these comments.

      For me, a lot depends on who's speaking. My daughters can tell me anything they like (and do) and it's fine. They've also fed me, cleaned up after me, cared for me, cheered me, sat with me through chemo and kept my spirits high during the past two years.

      Some random person I don't know or barely know can pound sand. I probably wouldn't even respond. It's the in-betweeners who know me but I am not close to or don't see often who can be problematic. They can't gauge me reactions well and should probably just keep their traps shut. Some of them are constitutionally unable to do that though and it can hit me really wrong at times.

      Last September, in the middle of chemo, with my doctor's permission, I flew across the country to attend our national specialty dog show as I am the breed club president. I sat ringside for four days and ran our national meeting. I looked like XXX and I was exhausted most of the time even though I didn't do much. Still, many people felt they had to tell me how great I looked. I said nothing but when the time came to address everyone at the national banquet my opening line said it all: "I'm really happy to be here."

      For me, that's the bottom line.

      over 5 years ago
    • BobbiG's Avatar
      BobbiG

      I tell them to see an opthalmologist because their xray vision is on the fritz....

      over 5 years ago
    • Ioskeha's Avatar
      Ioskeha

      Wear your scares with pride. Each and every one of them have stories to tell.

      over 5 years ago
    • angelagentry's Avatar
      angelagentry

      This is something I been dealing with the "u dont look sick or your numbers are that's mean you are cured right" all the while I can barely make it thru a day of work its hard

      over 5 years ago
    • Christina1958's Avatar
      Christina1958

      I think if they take time to compliment me, even if I don't believe them, they care. I like that! A simple thank you is always apt.

      over 5 years ago

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