Just for fun

I’m going to start keeping track of the more insensitive comments around my cancer care.  I know that sounds petty, but like I give a shit.

This week’s winner… I was asked to let a man go ahead of me for treatment on Thursday. Poor guy needed a full bladder for radiation and he did not time things very well. Of course I had no problem with it.  A nurse who does patient education (and whom I have never seen before) was waiting for him and decided to sit down and chat with me. She asked how I was doing and commented on my hair growth. Then she said “as far as we ( btw.. who is we?  are you speaking in the royal sense or is there is a mouse in your pocket?) are concerned you can dye it anytime”.  I felt a horrified giggle bubble up in my throat.  I have been on auto pilot for a few weeks now and as long as I stay in neutral I can keep my shit together.  I managed a weak smile and offered that I hadn’t decided yet and may just keep it as is.  She got this frozen smile on her face and sputtered something about how I could probably get away with that, after all I had a young face.  She must have missed a few classes on sensitivity. Not that I expect (or want) to be treated with kid gloves, but between the doctor who treated me like an inanimate object on Monday and now this I’m starting to wonder if this is commonplace. I have been so lucky in my interactions up until now that I was kind of unprepared. Or maybe now that I’m nearing the end of my cancer treatments my head is a little clearer and there have been assholes all along  but I just didn’t notice.

I’m not nominating the next one for anything because I can’t think of one funny or sarcastic thing to say and this is supposed to be for fun.  It actually left me kind of stunned.  I saw my medical oncologist for the first time since finishing up with chemotherapy.  I had (wrongly) assumed that my doctors all shared information about my treatment especially something like a major change in my family medical history. I missed a full week of radiation when my sister passed away.  Yet, apparently there was no mention of it so I had to tell the nurse when she asked brightly how my summer was going.  Believe me when I say it doesn’t get easier with each telling.  She passed on the info to my doctor who expressed her sympathy as soon as she entered the exam room.  After asking a few questions she said she had a patient who just lost a daughter and that was probably worse. I just said yeah, it’s been pretty hard on my parents. What I wanted to say is.. of course it’s worse for a mother to lose a child, but it’s also pretty fucking horrible for a child to lose his mother and a sister to lose her only sibling.  Not to mention for a man to lose the woman he loved who he hadn’t had nearly enough time with, three little boys to lose a loving presence in their life, and for their mother to lose a trusted confidant. But I just sat there.  Because I didn’t want to make her feel bad.

Honestly, the hospital really wants to stop sending me those questionnaires. I may start filling them out.



  1. hopeforheather · August 4, 2012

    I say fill them out! I cannot believe those freaks. As we are learning to be our own advocates…I say DO it. I always fill out those papers. 🙂


    • mainelyhopeful · August 4, 2012

      Do you think they really get read? I don’t. I may just start naming names in the blog 🙂


      • hopeforheather · August 6, 2012

        Good point…but with as many as I get sent (I HATE all the money they waste on those stupid surveys)…but with all that $ BEING spent…makes me think SOMEONE is reading them!

        Oooooh! YES. Name drop. LOVE IT.


  2. Susan · August 4, 2012

    wait till someone calls you “Sir” which since my hair loss has happened more than once 😦


  3. Cindy's Cancers · August 4, 2012

    Oh please fill them out. I wouldn’t pass up the chance to let loose on some of the people who obviously don’t have a clue. I say name names on the questionnaire because if you never tell them what they’ve done then they’ll just keep on saying stupid shit to people.


  4. eddiesandcurrents · August 4, 2012

    Sigh . . . I know. Makes you wonder how in the world they got into a profession of dealing with cancer patients. You’d think that would draw the sensitive souls. But sometimes it seems just the opposite.


  5. tatatatas · August 4, 2012

    You have no idea how much I just identified with this. People have no idea how shitty they can be. When my brother died, people would say things like “Your poor parents. You need to be strong for them.” Or my favorite, “Its so much harder on your parents.” Recently someone at work (of all places) found out about my mastectomy and said “No ones going to want to date you while you go through this. They’d have to love you to see you like that.” WTF??? Some people are just insensitive assholes.
    Solidarity. All we can do is shake our heads and silently flip them off. 🙂


    • mainelyhopeful · August 4, 2012

      I’m sorry for your loss. It’s yet another club I would prefer not to be a member of.


  6. Patricia Ouellette · August 5, 2012

    I can’t imagine how you guys feel losing a sister/daughter/mother. It’s been nearly 4wks and I think of her everyday & cry a little on most days. She was an amazing partner for my dad, a spectacular grandma to my sons, and a loved friend & stepmother figure to me. I only had six years with her and I feel a void so I imagine it’s worse for you all. But the reality is everyone who knew her felt a loss the day she left us just varies how people take it. Hoping you find more sensitivity &I kind souls


    • Patricia Ouellette · August 5, 2012

      I accidentally hit post. I think of you all often.


  7. lawyermomfashionista · August 6, 2012

    We experienced some of that as well, though we were treated very well for the most part. Unfortunately the bad comments seem to carry as much weight as all the good treatment, kind words, and best wishes.
    Next time, smack a bitch. 😉


  8. helpingdeb · August 7, 2012

    I haven’t experienced insensitive comments from anyone but friends and family who think they know what would be best for me. I want to smack those people for you. “Bedside manner” courses are obviously lacking in certain care providers…. I’m so sorry these people were so ignorant. Blessings and love, Deb


  9. erinambrose · August 7, 2012

    I am so sorry about your sister and all the pain of losing her now. The insensitivity of others is astounding! Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.


  10. zomersetgirl · August 9, 2012

    Jeez some people are such muppets!! The autopilot takes over and they say such insensitive, useless and stupid things – I think you need to adopt a little of that next time you see them. Maybe throw in a slightly masked insult just to see if they catch it, something like ‘Thanks for trying to understand, I know that it’s hard for people like you but don’t worry, you’ll get better with time, just keep praticing’ – (idiots.) Failing that just fill out the form, be brutally honest, draw some rude pictures and post it off with a satisfied smile! Stay strong xxxx


  11. The Presents of Presence · August 19, 2012

    So sorry you have to deal with such insensitivity…I’m thinking of you with your sister…having lost my Dad recently, I can’t imagine how hard it is to lose a sister. I only have one as well ~ I’m sending you a huge hug. xoxo


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