• Do you ever get tired of hearing people tell you how strong you are and how proud they are of you for being strong?

    Asked by JustGrateful on Tuesday, June 16, 2020

    Do you ever get tired of hearing people tell you how strong you are and how proud they are of you for being strong?

    I mean, what choice do we have? It's either take it, fight it, and try to get through it, or lay down and die. I appreciate the support of my friends and family, but telling me "I'm so strong" doesn't really help. I guess I'm just being too sensitive?

    27 Answers from the Community

    27 answers
    • Bengal's Avatar
      Bengal

      You are so right! I got so sick of hearing that statement. I guess it's supposed to make us feel better. I wasn't being strong. I was stuck in a situation I absolutely had no choice about and did not want to be in. You just do what you have to do to get through it.

      21 days ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      In over 32 years of dealing with cancer I've heard about everything that can be said. Most of the time this one is said when the person just doesn't know what to say, or they are thinking about themselves, comparing themselves to you and thinking that there's no way they could do it. Lots of people think they can't do it, but how would you know unless you're thrown into it? You might not think you can tread water, until you get thrown in the pool, presto, you're treading water.

      Us being brave and strong, yes it seems that way to everyone else, but what choice do we have? We are sort of like the pool, sink or tread. Be brave and strong, or whither up and die. I'll take the brave and strong with some extra gravy please!

      21 days ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      I don't really like hearing that either. You're right. We don't have much of a choice ... though some people fight ... all the while complaining and becoming resentful ... maybe that's what the people who are in awe of you admire about you - that you maintain a positive attitude. Generally, I think when people commenting on me being brave or strong or whatever - it is because I don't fret and complain or even talk much about having cancer ... and I guess they think they might have more fear or something if they were in my shoes (a lot of times, they find they are much braver than they thought, though, when/if they get life-threatening news).

      21 days ago
    • Teachertina's Avatar
      Teachertina

      I don’t really feel brave and strong. I feel like I’m on an episode of Survivor doing whatever it takes to stay in the game! I try to stay positive for my loved ones so they don’t worry so much. I’m sure the worrying time will come later, so I’m sparing them as long as possible. That isn’t being brave and strong, it’s just real life for now.

      21 days ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      Nah. I tell them they have no idea how strong they can be until they are called on to be strong. Adding up 12 years, I may look like some kind of hero to them - but taken day by day, I look much more like a simple cancer patient doing what was needed to survive.

      20 days ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar
      ChildOfGod4570

      Oh, trust me, I sure didn't *feel* strong. I know people mean well, so I just let them say what they want to say and think what they want to think anyway. I sometimes wonder if they are saying it more to make themselves feel at ease because they've seen cancer on TV and in books and always are met with crying bald characters puking up everything they eat. Then if they don't personally know someone battling cancer, their minds go back to those characters. That's just my theory. These people do mean well, and I probably presented well in public but still cried behind the closed door of my home. Even if you are waving your pink pomm-pomms in public, you do have to let off steam somehow, so it's OK to cry at home. We don't have to be tough all the time; our bodies are going through the wars, and we never wanted to join this "club" in the first place. HUGS and God bless.

      20 days ago
    • beachbum5817's Avatar
      beachbum5817

      I look at this as just one of the many platitudes that people say on any given day. I just took it for what it was. I just said thanks and moved on. Not many in the outside world want to hear what is really happening. We just go with the hand we are dealt. I don't really feel any stronger than the next person. When I got my diagnosis, I made a decision to do everything that I had to do to stay alive, and I hoped that I would live long enough for there to be new drugs in the case the ones that were currently available didn't work. So far, so good.

      20 days ago
    • JaneA's Avatar
      JaneA

      I heard that too. My reply was, "I just did what I HAD to do. You'd be surprised what you can do when you face cancer that might kill you." It's another example of that people don't know what to say.

      20 days ago
    • junie1's Avatar
      junie1

      i'm on the same page as all of you. I do get tired of hearing about how strong i am.. what is there to be?? and what do you all say to those words? I tell them,, this is just a bump in the road,, Not a road block,, can I can keep on driving,, just a bump in the road. And sometimes i get tired of talking about my cancer. I get up each morning,, do my thing,, coffee,, emails,, then i start on projects I'm working on,, sewing keeps me busy,, going to the farmers markets and selling the things i make,, helps me stay in touch with the world. and now with the crazy virus, I have other things to deal with! and other bump in the road.
      stay safe you all,,

      20 days ago
    • omaalyce's Avatar
      omaalyce

      I agree with all of you and especially Greg. I have been dealing with cancer for 27 years and I do believe many people feel they cannot handle it. People have no idea how strong they can be until they face adversity. My story is a bit unusual-hit by cars as a child twice, neither were my fault. 7 major surgeries since I was 9, several minor as well. So, I have heard that and many other phrases a lot. I don't feel any different than anyone else except I am a terrible organ donor...LOL I just go through life one step at a time and accept whatever is thrown at me, what else are you supposed to do, right.

      I do share with my friends and relatives because you never know who you might help. I do not talk or write about it to show how strong I am but I want those I love to be informed. My mother died of melanoma in 1976, she was one of the early pioneers that was in a trial at NIH. I saw what she went through and it was horrific and as ChildOfGod4570 stated above I think she is correct in saying she believes that's the fear many have. The treatments then were often so different ; we've progressed so far from those days and that's what I try to share.

      I thank them for saying whatever it is and usually follow up with what else am I supposed to do. There's still too much I want to see and do. I do not feel like a hero or wonder woman. I just feel blessed I am still here and enjoying life.

      20 days ago
    • MarcieB's Avatar
      MarcieB

      I echo everything everyone has said. It is such a worthless thing to say. We all know these people are trying to say something positive, but it kind of ranks right up there with, "You know, God only gives it to people who can handle it..." at which point I really want to say, "What kind of game-playing God do you believe in?" Usually I smile at them for a moment and then say something like..."How's that new puppy doing?" A clear signal they should get off that track.

      20 days ago
    • TerriL's Avatar
      TerriL

      I know that people often don't know what to say. I also feel I have no choice in the matter. I'm just doing what I have to do. I am now one year post-treatment and rejoicing in the little things.

      20 days ago
    • Dina's Avatar
      Dina

      Brave is one I often hear. Like everyone else - did I have a choice? No. Did I 'feel' brave? No. But I understand people have a need to say something. At least this one is not as bad some of the other '15 Million Things People Say to Someone Who Has Cancer'. and I have heard those....

      20 days ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      @ MarcieB, I have heard that same thing "You know, God only gives it to people who can handle it." I told them I am not nearly as confident in myself as you seem to believe God is in me. I'm not sure I agree with assessment, but I will use it however I can to bring him glory.
      I have not been shy in my journey. I am not looking for sympathy or crying. I am not looking for glory. I do think people can feel very alone sometimes, and women pile all crazy amounts of expectations upon themselves about what they "should" do.
      I am constantly telling people "Don't should yourself."

      20 days ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      Maybe we don't feel strong, but most of us are able to handle it with more grace than people expect.

      20 days ago
    • BreastCancer17's Avatar
      BreastCancer17

      Yes I do. I've replied a few times with "what other choice do I have?" We do what we have to do, keep on going, especially when you have more than 1 ideas and one of them is a rare disease that most people think is a cocktail. Moyamoya Disease.

      20 days ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      I’ve never gotten the “You’re so brave; I couldn’t do what you’re doing” (at least, I don’t remember anyone saying that). I especially like MarcieB’s deflection, “How’s that new puppy doing?,” which would be delightful when asked of someone who doesn’t have a new puppy.

      20 days ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar
      ChildOfGod4570

      When a friend of mine was faced with a question she didn't fel like answering, she would give a generic answer and then say "And in other news..." Just another variation if you don't know if someone has a new puppy. ;) HUGS and God bless.

      20 days ago
    • MarcieB's Avatar
      MarcieB

      Lol! We should make up a bunch of answer options when we get that comment. How about:
      "Thank you. Did that home remedy work for your warts? Oh, that wasn't you?" "Speaking of strong, have you ever tried Nyquil when you have a cold? It will curl your hair!"

      20 days ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      I will be posting an update because I don't want to hijack this thread. Some of you have some creative answers.

      20 days ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Those are some good resposes, and a good idea for listing them together. If we list a bunch more of them here I will collect them all and make a blog post about responses to the "your so strong, statement". So add all you can think of and I will make something out of them listing your name as the contributor of each line.

      20 days ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar
      ChildOfGod4570

      "I'm strong to the finach 'cause I eats me spinach ... and in other news ..."
      "Thanks. Oh by the way, you never did tell me about.. [fill in the blank with whatever is appropriate.]."
      "Trust me, I am neither braver nor stronger than you; I just have help from God who is carrying me through this. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
      HUGS and God bless.

      19 days ago
    • gpgirl70's Avatar
      gpgirl70

      I don’t care for the analogy of cancer patients as warriors and fighters. The reason is that it implies if you struggle, have a recurrence, or pass away that you just didn’t fight hard enough. I never felt like a warrior... I felt like a survivor when I finished treatment. I felt lucky and thankful too.

      That said, I try not to get irritated because people are just trying to be nice.

      The only comments that really chapped my hide were people telling me about all their friends and family who died from breast cancer. Or they’d tell me about their mother who had a lumpectomy and was back at work the next day- like it’s no big deal. My cancer journey doesn’t need to be compared to anyone else’s thank you very much.

      19 days ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar
      ChildOfGod4570

      gpgirl70, I am with you there. We don't all feel like warriors all the time, and saying someone lost their battle makes cancer bigger than the patient. That's just what we don't want. If someone passes away, why not just say they happened to pass away from cancer. Do they say "Poor Grandpa, he lost his battle with the old age process." HUGS and God bless.

      19 days ago
    • Ashera's Avatar
      Ashera

      Hate this statement - along with 'you go girl! you've got this you little warrior! Go kick butt! Soo Brave! etc' Like I feel like I need a dumb plastic Viking Helmet, a sword ....
      Those are the people that are unable to simply...see...me. They don't matter. Those that do see me - don't do the platitudes. Agree with all of you above!

      15 days ago
    • Dina's Avatar
      Dina

      gpgirl70 - I am 100% with you on that!

      15 days ago
    • petieagnor's Avatar
      petieagnor

      You all said all of the things I was thinking. I say, THANK YOU to that person, then change the subject.

      14 days ago

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