• Sticking their heads in the sand

    Asked by Ydnar2xer on Tuesday, April 30, 2013

    Sticking their heads in the sand

    I just returned from a great week in Tucson and went the entire time w/o wigs. Only covered my head in the sun. It was very liberating, but I noticed in general, more MEN talked to me or smiled, said "hi" etc. than women. A LOT of women glanced at me and then looked away...some of them didn't even talk to me after I said "hi". What's up with that? I'm thinking they don't want to be reminded that they, too, are vulnerable to breast cancer--? Has anyone else had that experience?

    I feel it's my "duty" to talk to a lot of people about having cancer--how it feels, etc. because I think soooooo many people are touched by it, yet a lot of people don't know beans about cancer! I often strike up conversations and try to make it so they are comfortable talking to me, rather than being AFRAID to talk. But maybe I'm pushing too hard?

    BTW, wanted to let you know I debuted my mastectomy swim suit, but stuffed the top w/my socks instead of foobs & it worked just fine! THAT FREEDOM ROCKS!

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • Barb_TX's Avatar

      You are very inspiring to me! My husband has stage four colon cancer and I watch him every day suffering from what will eventually end his life. I agree with you! We who have this unfortunate path to walk in our lives, MUST make speaking about cancer as something not to hide from or avoid as if we had "the plague". It is just a plain fact of life that almost all of us will be effected by cancer at one time or another, through someone with love, if not ourselves. I really feel it is our DUTY to help our fellow human beings NOT to hide from acknowledging that cancer exists, but to embrace it just as society already has with such diseases as heart disease and many others. Actually since my husband was diagnosed, I have tried to speak about it at every opportunity I have. I don't allow people to pity us. I accept their prayers and sympathy, but not their pity. But you and I must see how they can shun us and just not want to even look at us. We are just so unusual still to them. And yes, they may see us as their reflection in a future mirror, but we still must keep up that wall of courage...not only for ourselves, but especially for our loved ones. Maybe this will help you.... When I tell others, even just people with whom I am doing basic business, about my dear husband's cancer, the more I say it, the stronger I become! It's just really strange. I hear their words of sympathy and when I do, I actually gain strength to continue! I don't know but maybe when you see another women (or man) who tries to not look at you, maybe just say hello and ask how they are doing today. Today at the hospital where my husband is right now, a woman said hello AND actually asked me how my day was going. It had such an impact on me that I am writing to you about it now! You see, she just didn't say hi, but took the next step and actually asked how my day was going. Her perceived concern took me back a step. So next time when a person does not want to look at you, try to just say hello and ask how their day is going. After you get their reply, you might consider answering with something like, " That's great! Isn't life wonderful!" Maybe just a few short words like those, could have a huge impact on them. What harm could it do? The more all of us talk about cancer to everyone we come in contact with, then maybe cancer will come out more in the open and not be viewed as such a plague. People need to become less afraid of it. And the only way this can happen is if all of us who are directly effected by it speak about it in a normal way...or as normal as is possible. After all, everything really is relative, isn't it? What's bad for you, could be wonderful for others! And the way I see it, in my personal life, things could sure be a whole lot worse for my husband and me, than stage four cancer.....really!

      over 3 years ago
    • fastdog's Avatar

      I'm thinking of that tee shirt I read about, maybe here on WhatNext, that says "I have cancer, not cooties."
      So, here goes Pollyanna again, but I think people often don't approach someone with obvious signs of cancer/illness such as a bald-headed woman, simply because they don't want to be intrusive and don't know what to say. Simple as that. I have all my hair and look "normal" whatever that may be, but I always wear my button that says "appendix cancer sucks." Then, if anyone chooses to say they never heard of such a cancer or asks if I have it, I can "spread the word" so to speak.

      Ydnar2xer, you sound a lot like me, I can see myself stuffing socks in my swimsuit and having a great time of it. Question: did you go in the water? I can just see soggy socks floating up to the top of the pool once they got wet, and me laughing my head off. At least, that's the funny visual I have.

      over 3 years ago
    • Gabba's Avatar

      Just keep doing what you are doing and keep that positive attitude...I bet you looked great in your swimsuit! Education is so important when it comes to dealing with others and our own cancer diagnosis...people react in many different ways, you are doing a great job and I support you. God bless!

      over 3 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      You go, girl! For some folks, I think it's a matter of fear. Whether it's fear of sticking their foot in their mouth or fear that this is something they could face. Not an excuse for being rude, just an explanation. It's not hard to at least smile and nod when someone makes eye contact.

      over 3 years ago
    • GypsyJule's Avatar

      You are awesome! I feel the same way about the "duty" to talk to people, or at least be open to the conversation. I rarely wore wigs during treatment, and now that I have a fuzzy head, I don't even wear hats. I have had the same experience with men speaking with me, but women avoiding. I facilitate workshops and my male customers have even made jokes about my baldness, while the women seem to avoid anything personal. I was at the mall a couple of weeks ago, and an older gentleman came up to me and told me that he loved my "haircut." Funny how nice it is when someone makes such a friendly gesture about something we hold so personal. Who knows why people do what they do, but I imagine that most of us now, as survivors will smile and be friendlier to those who appear to be on a similar journey.

      over 3 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      You are an inspiration. i never thought of that but its an interesting observation. I would have thought that women would be more sympathetic and supportive.

      And, if you did go in the water, did the socks shrink or expand? (grin)

      over 3 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      The women were jealous you were getting so much attention from the men. You can't help that. Some women just have it, and some don't, huh?

      over 3 years ago
    • bbay65's Avatar

      Thanks for sharing. I love your attitude. It's helpful to see someone dealing w/ things so well.

      over 3 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I hated my wig and barely wore it....I tended to like "ball cap" type hats and people could tell I was bald when I wore then....after I finished chemo, I went ":naked"....and you are right...some people look away....I think its because they are afraid that the cancer is contagious!!!! poor things!!!!
      I'm 7 years since Dx, and I'm happy to talk to anyone who wants to hear about BC, but I tend not to bring it up first......You rock!!!!!

      over 3 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar

      I'd guess they don't want to be caught staring which is as bad as ignoring. When I see someone in a wheelchair, pink hair, bald, or a handlebar mustache, of course I notice. It is then I decide to look away hoping I wasn't caught OR I COULD just smile at them! :)

      over 3 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      Listen I think a lot of women are a pain in the booty. I much prefer the general company of men. I have had women ignore me for years. Frightened of their own shadow when you try to talk to them..

      So listen Momma,,go for the guys..I have always loved the boys..my daughter is the same way. I am not at all worried. She just enjoys boys more than the mean girls.

      When you find that sister who is sassy and interesting great...That's a good day but if you don't that's o.k. too.. I would be over chatting up the guys.

      My husband knows he can always find me hanging with the men. No where near the agenda issues, lack of self confidence that go on with too many women.

      Keep live'in the good life.

      over 3 years ago

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