But At Least It's the "Good" Cancer...
Add this to the list of things you shouldn’t say to cancer patients. I understand that people usually mean well. I also understand that when someone hears about a person going through a difficult situation, it can be a bit awkward and tough to find the right thing to say. I get that, but I’m here to clear a few things up with my new first-hand perspective on the topic.
Chemo isn't a vacation from work
I was shocked at some of the comments people would make to me throughout this whole journey with cancer. People asked me if I was going to die, others told me that I should think of chemo as a long vacation from work, and quite often, people would actually tell me that I’m lucky to have the "good" cancer. In what world is someone lucky to get cancer?
No matter what you’re going through, there is always going to be a situation that will be considered less favorable, but that doesn’t make what you’re going through any easier and it certainly doesn't make you lucky.
I’m fully aware that my diagnosis was highly curable and for that I’m so grateful. Life is not fair and I think it's important to keep things in perspective. It breaks my heart any time I hear about a child going through cancer treatment, or a terminal diagnosis. I will be the first to admit that my situation could have been so much worse, but that doesn’t make what any cancer patient goes through easy.
"It could be worse" is never the right thing to say
From my experience with cancer, I’ve learned to avoid using terms like “at least” or “it could always be worse” to someone going through a difficult time. What may not seem like a big deal to you could be devastating to someone else. You never truly know what someone is going through and their situation should never be made light of.
So to anyone reading this, keep in mind that your words can be hurtful, even if you have good intentions. Instead, consider saying something like, “I’m so sorry you’re going through this and I want you to know I’m here for you.”
Lastly, to anyone who is battling cancer, you may hear this phrase from people often and as hard as it may be to hear it, remember that this really is a tough topic to talk about for many people and try not to take it personally.
What type of blood cancer are you or your loved one diagnosed with?