A woman sits hugging her knees in a puddle of water contained in a silhouette of a female head as another silhouette of a head shouts and points at her

When Someone Doesn't Believe You Have Cancer

"I'll believe it when I see it!" We have all heard this statement. Unfortunately, some have heard it from loved ones while facing blood cancer. How sad is that?

No one with blood cancer should ever be in a situation where they have to prove they have cancer to anyone. Just because someone doesn't "look sick" does not mean they are not sick. They may not show any immediate signs or symptoms of their cancer.

Fighting blood cancer without support

Most of us are immensely blessed with incredible support systems. However, after all these years, I am still amazed by how many cancer fighters I hear say they are alone. They feel they have been emotionally abandoned by close friends or family members who don't believe they are fighting this hard battle. That truly breaks my heart!

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We hear so many insensitive and hurtful myths and phrases. Statements that can tear at the heart, break morale, and even make you question how to get through this journey.

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"But you don't look sick"

I swear, if there is one phrase that absolutely gets under my skin, this would be it! LOL! Too many people suffer from "But You Don't Look Sick Syndrome." LOL! Blood cancer is a cancer that won't often show itself. It doesn't have a lot of noticeable signs and symptoms. We shouldn't be punished for that. Yet it happens far too often. No one who is already sick and fighting for their life should have to defend themselves, explain their condition, ask permission to be sick or survive on their terms.

"You couldn't have cancer because I know someone..."

One of the worst and most insensitive things someone can do is compare you to someone else who has cancer. We aren't cars. Our make and model will never be the same. I don't know that I have ever spoken to someone who has had the exact same experience that I have had in nine years. And I certainly haven't through "proxy." (someone's mother, aunt, friend, etc) Each cancer's type, stage, and treatment vary. Then you add the age, race, family history, medical history, gender, and other information about the individual—all of which apply to how they respond or do not respond. So there is no way to know or not know how someone has any blood cancer and how they are handling it just by looking at them.

"You can't have cancer because you're not on chemo"

Everyone doesn't undergo chemotherapy or radiation. Nor is it required. Some are watch and wait. Particularly those with leukemia. It is a person's choice to take or not take any medication or treatment. It doesn't make them any less sick.

"You aren't acting like a sick person"

You have the right to resume as much of a normal life as you can. Most people don't want to be defined by their cancer. I say I am a human being who happens to have blood cancer. I am not a cancer patient. That is so limiting!

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