Mom was reading the paper this morning and came across this dear Abby letter. I thought I would share it with you.
DEAR ABBY: My wife is a cancer survivor who is doing well. When a friend or relative learns she had cancer, a common response is, "Yeah, I knew someone who had the same kind of cancer. It was awful. It came back six months later and he/she died an agonizing, terrible death."
Abby, it's hard to remain polite around such thoughtless, moronic individuals when they blurt out something like this in my wife's presence. I can't imagine the fear she must experience hearing such remarks. Can you offer an effective retort? -- BAFFLED BY THE IGNORANCE
DEAR BAFFLED: Remarks such as you have described usually are made when people don't know what to say, so they blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. A polite response would be, "Thanks for your concern. My wife is doing great."
Of course the appropriate thing for friends and relatives to say would be, "I'm so glad you're better -- I care about you and I was worried." To raise the subject of someone who died from the disease is inappropriate and extremely insensitive. There's an old Portuguese proverb: Never mention a rope in the house of a man who has been hanged. It definitely applies here.
Of course I can understand that people don't know what to say to me about my cancer. Just tell me I'm sorry it's sucking and I hope it sucks less soon. Then tell me I love you and don't care that you might need to tell me that it sucks. Then take me to the movies. :)
And for me, the rope mentioned above, is recurrence. I just think that it is inevidible that my cancer will come back and I just can't stand thinking about that. Having to go through this all over again. Please no please no! So every time I read or hear about someone's cancer coming back, I think of this process and how hard it is and sometimes about dying and that is just really hard.
Love to you all any many thanks for the kind words, calls, messages thoughts...Please don't confuse this post with ingratitude.