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15 Things NOT to Say

We’re sharing 15 of the dumbest, most thoughtless things people say to women (and MEN) with breast cancer. Brush up on ‘what not to say’ and avoid being both insensitive and hurtful. And remember, you have no idea what anyone is going through at any given moment. It’s important to listen. Advice and anecdotes are easy to dole out, but listening is where you’ll learn how best to respond and what is most to needed so that you may provide it.

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1

At Least You Got the Good Kind of Cancer...

Nope. Sorry. No such thing. Cancer - all cancer, is a pile of shit. GOOD and CANCER are incapable of coexisting in the same sentence as they relate to one another.

2

Life... Is Terminal

Yeah... we know. Thanks.

3

At Least You Got A Free Boob Job!

These are not "FREE". They come with a hefty price tag.  Financially, emotionally and physically. The cost is high and we carry the scars to prove it.

4

Didn't You Take Care of Yourself?

Stop looking for excuses to BLAME the patient for their cancer. Stop trying to explain why they got cancer so that you can feel better about your own fears of getting cancer. No matter what you do, you cannot PREVENT cancer and... the healthiest of humans get cancer. Cancer knows no bounds.

5

I Know Someone Who Had That

When learning the news of a someone's cancer, never talk about YOU or someone YOU know. This isn't the time to tell YOUR stories.

6

Let Me Know If You Need Anything

Rather than waiting for someone who is already overwhelmed and has enough to remember and deal with, to ask you for help - be like Nike and "Just Do It." Show up without waiting to be called upon. Truth be told, most people don't want to burden friends or family and because of this, they are reluctant to ask for help. So we suggest doing it without waiting for a request or for permission.

7

It's Just Hair

It's never "JUST" anything to the one who is going through it. It's almost always, devastating and a BIG deal. It's all an adjustment to which each of us handle in our own unique ways. Don't trivialize the gigantic changes that cancer patients constantly face.  Instead, acknowledge them and try to understand them.

8

Fight Like A Girl!

How exactly does a girl fight? All these years, we've been dying to know (literally).  #dyingforacure

Also...men get breast cancer too...how should they fight?

9

You're Such An Inspiration

We are not here to inspire you.  We are not your inspiration porn. We are simply doing the best we can. Some days we're lucky if we get out of bed or make it to the grocery store or doctor's appointment or parent teacher conference. We don't feel inspiring, we feel like shit and we fake it most days. And we certainly aren't doing this for YOU.

10

But You Don't Look Sick

Like nails on a chalkboard. Every. Single. Time. Sear this image into your brain. Well-looking people can be Sick AF.

11

Don't Give Up!

Remove this from your repertoire of standard responses to horrible situations. No one needs the unnecessary pressure of "not giving up" because YOU don't want them to. Truth be told, feeling like giving up is a normal sensation. Validate it. Don't trivialize it.

12

There's A Reason For Everything

Please, enlighten us. What's the reason perfectly good people (who took good care of themselves) have lives that are crumbling all around them right now? We're all ears and we're on the edge of our seats... seriously.  *taps fingernails on desk, waiting for response.

13

Did You Try... (insert anecdotal advice)

Unless you have exactly what I have and are basically my biological, identical twin and are trying all this bullshit - with success.... I'm not interested in your "have you done this or that" wives tales and but "Chris Beat Cancer" bullshit. My doctor is in charge and science is my friend. I like smoothies cuz they're effing tasty, not magic. And Kale can suck a d***. So, just don't.

14

They Have A Cure - But Big Pharma...

Another day. Another hoax. Another conspiracy theory. We can't be bothered with your paranoid, 4CHAN, fake news assertions.

15

Just Stay Positive

Positive has a its place. It's just that sometimes that place is where the sun don't shine. If you want to fast track your way to the end of someone's call list... start spouting stay positive while they're lying on the bathroom floor, too weak to leave because their vomiting themselves into oblivion or when they're riddled with fear because their scans keep coming back with less-than-great news or they're preparing their will and wondering if they'll live to see their children begin first grade. Because we guarantee that's where you'll wind up. Yes, we said it. You'll find yourself on the "do not call" list, right quick.

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  • A creative introvert who mistakenly thought she was an extrovert. A seeker of sorts and purveyor of "me toos". When she's not writing - she's loving on her peeps and furbabies. Friendship, nature and a good antidepressant are her lifesavers.

  • Show Comments (2)

  • Eileen

    Excellent! Definitely sharing.

  • Melissa

    I agree with most of this. Especially “kale can suck a d*&$”. Awesome. It would be helpful to have a list of 15 things people can say to us. Then I could just print it out and put it in my Christmas Cards this year.

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