Tuesday, 15 April 2008


If I was a pig and had a curly tail and it got twisted tighter with every thoughtless thing said to me over the past two years and then the thoughtless things stopped being said.  My curly pig’s tail would spin off and shoot me very close to the left hand corner of the big dipper.

Common things people with cancer have heard and should never have to hear again.  If I have personally heard it or something like it I will place a * beside it.

*You never know.  I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.  (Then why don’t you?)

*You’ll be fine.  (Oh really, that is not what the expert on my cancer says.)

*Think positive.  (I’m positive I have cancer and I’m positive that being positive won’t change it.)

*Your chemo is finished, so you’re fine now right?  (No.)

*What is your prognosis?  (Same as yours, we are both going to die.)

My grandma, sister, aunt, etc. died of that.  (So really i'm wasting my time doing chemo, radiation and generally having any hope.)

*My grandma, sister, aunt, etc. beat that by doing such and such.  (Okay from now on I will cut up the pickles before I bake them in the pickle pie.)

*If anyone can beat it, you can.  (Is that because I can see through your clothes.)

*If it’s not your time, it’s not your time.  (But what if it is?)

*Life is not fair.  (Thanks for the heads up.)

*Every cloud has a silver lining.  (Go fuck yourself.)

*At least you will lose weight.  (Who says I want too?)

Lance can do it and so can you.  (Only if I wear a yellow bracelet.)

*Don’t worry.  (Like that is a possibility.)

*How do you know if your treatment is working?  (You will read about me in the paper if it doesn’t.)

*Don’t worry your hair will grow back.  (Thanks Albert.)

*You don’t look like you have cancer.  (Maybe if I cut my body open and you know what it is you are looking for, maybe then I will look like I have cancer.)

The God things and to me personally these are the most offensive.  I wonder if they came from this passage from Romans 6:23.  "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus."

What is Jesus teaching you in all this?  (Angie’s personal nemesis.)

It could be God’s way of teaching you to look closer at your life.  (Not my God.)

*God won’t give you more than you can handle.  (That is darn decent of him.)

*It's God's Will or its less self-righteous cousin, everything happens for a reason.  (I would be really interested to hear what exactly you think the reason is.  After hearing that, I would also be really interested in hitting you over the head with a spade.)

Now that we have come to the end of my little rant, I couldn’t leave without stating my all time favorites that should not be said to a person with cancer.

*You will be fine, you have a great attitude.  (I had a great attitude when I got cancer or does that sort of thing only work in reverse.)

*If you really want to live you will.  (I have many friends who really wanted to live, was their really just not a triple-dipple really.)

*Just never give up when people give up they die.  (I don’t think it is when they gave up they died, I think it is when their bodies shut down that they died.  Although I should recheck that, after all you probably know better.)

*Keep that positive attitude.  (Would you say keep a positive attitude to someone who is floating on the icy water near an iceberg that was just hit by the Titanic?)

I understand that it is very hard to know what is the right thing to say to someone with cancer.  I get it.  Having said that, I want you to know that if you pretend that it doesn’t exist and therefore you say nothing, that is even worse.

I guess what I want you to get is that many times it isn’t what you say it is your sincerity.  Sometimes there just aren’t words.  Sometimes there is just compassion.


Camille said...

I sincerly Thank you Renee for educating us about what not to say. You are so REAL. This entire blog is such a HUGE GIFT to all of us who Love you dearly.

Anonymous said...

I do not want to sound like I am repeating Camille , however, I totally agree with her comment about you Renee,and I love you dearly

Anonymous said...

It can be hard to know what to say sometimes, but reading this confirms that a lot of the time you don't need to say anything at all.
Be real, and compassionate.
Words to live by...
Thanks Renee

Ben said...

i know people mean well, and its not always easy to say the right thing ... but some of those comments were pretty f'g ignorant .... now im pissed off that you had to hear some of that BS .... (see, your not the only one who likes a good rant once in a while)

Elizabeth said...

while frantically reading through the list for a direct quote from yours truly, I was horrified by the things that can come out of a person's mouth (read ass).

I love you.I'm buying you earplugs.

Sydney said...

Well I've heard every one of those things said, or thought of saying every one of those things to someone at some time in my life, because they run the total gamut of what there is to say. And none of them are good, and not saying anything so you don't say those is good either. A dilemma.

Which is why "shit sister" came out of my mouth, and suggestions of chocolate in Hawaii. Then I read the other commenters and saw all the loving, compassionate, healing words and I felt like I had totally blundered.

Then you wrote saying you don't give a shit about the word shit, and I fell off my chair in amusement.

And then tonight, I saw another comment start with the word FUCK on that same post. Ok, I thought, I'm TOTALLY fine here, lol.


I try to go back to the first post or two in blogs I'm new to and really like, because it's good to see where someone started not just where they are now. I've done it with my own blog too.

In making my way back to your first post, I had to go backwards and happened to stop on this one...

I see that using swear words are not on this list of what not to say.