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Dumb Things I have Been Told -


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After my first surgery in 2003, the know-it-all surgeon said that he got it all and I could go home and forget about it. He was the same surgeon who di the 2nd surgery 18 months later. He seemed a little annoyed that it had returned. People skills weren't one of his strengths. Big ego, tho.


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My mom's experiences echo yours. She has a couple of friends who have breast cancer who assume Mom was on the same treatment. Even after Mom explained that she has lung cancer and was on such and such, these people would continue to act surprised that her treatment was different.

Also it is now almost 2 years after diagnosis, and people we do not see often still give us the look like they are shocked that Mom looks so good, almost as if they are disappointed. We could tell that some people were really only curious what Mom "looks like" with lung cancer.

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DEbs fave comments or responses to questions..

1)" Do you still smoke??"

"Only if I am on fire"

2) "What happened to your Hair"

"I lit the Barbeque grill one time, and the gas did not start the right way. Burned the Hair right off of me!!"


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Some of these are real gems!

I don't have anything of that caliber to offer, since I usually cut 'em off at the pass by launching into my been on chemo, haven't smoked since 1963, nonsmokers get it too, no longer an automatic death sentence routine if someone hesitantly brings up the subject of my health. But what I HAVEN'T figured out how to handle is when I run into someone I haven't seen for a while, we both say "hi," then all I get is a silent, expressionless stare! About the only thing I've come up with so far is to say "you must be wondering about my crew cut" and move into the been on chemo sequence from there. Or a couple of times I've said "and how's YOUR health been?" and followed their lead.

Many of us, instead of steering the conversation toward cancer, probably hope it doesn't come up at all. I can certainly appreciate that, and I don't think one approach is necessarily better than the other -- it's an individual thing.



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We lived in a small town,

and I already had breast cancer

when Mike got lung cancer,

time to move to a bigger town for

his daily treatments........

We had to sell our home at 1/3

the price because the ''house gave

cancer to people''.

The buyer (big mouth) bragged that

he made a good deal on two future


but he died eight months later

from pancreatic cancer.

Mike is gone but I'm still here.

I had my head shave for the cancer cause,

had to open a bank account after our move

to a big town, the bank clerk in a very

loud voice said'' You have cancer, whan

did you finish your chemo therapy?''

I never had chemo just radiation so

I answered '' Never had chemo in my life''

and the argument stopped when I pointed

to all the men sitting waiting for their

turn and said '' You mean all those men with

shaved head had chemo treatment''

The transaction was finished by another


As we both had cancer it was difficult

to stay serious when people did not know

which one to ask ''How id your health?''


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This is definitely NOT a dumb one ~ but have to share it!

Yesterday Fred and I were at an event and met a 'new' couple. Fred had on his shirt ~ like a golf type ~ that has the NIH (National Institutes of Health) logo on it. We happened to be in Washington DC for the best part of the day (we left Teddy in charge of the Pub until we returned, he did okay, I think).

Anyhow, the woman asked if Fred worked at NIH since we were pretty close to there. He simply said no, but another friend of ours said that I was a survivor. The woman asked what type of cancer I had survived. Of course I answered loud and clear as I always do....lung cancer. To that her eyes widened, she sucked in her breath, and said 'oh, that's a bad one'. Then immediately said......CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Much more conversation after that, and, of course, smoking came up but not in a negative way. I got to share the very interesting statistics that many of us know about % of smokers who get lc, the % of lc which are non-smokers, etc.

I just found it refreshing that her first response was to acknowldege it was bad...and then be GLAD for me!


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Geez, this has been fun reading. I don't know how many dumb comments I've heard but most of these sound familiar. Especially those about the smoking and the know-it-all comments from the non-participants.

One I remember fairly well happened early on in my treatment. I was pretty weak and miserable but I made it to a regular community shooting event where I was mostly observing things. One of the regulars came up and asked me how I was doing and I told him that I was on both chemo and radiation treatment due to the fact that my condition was inoperable.

His dimwit reply was "Oh, you must have the good kind.

I did reply but need not burden you with the specifics.

Once again, this is great thread and we need to do more of it. It must be the good kind.:)

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My favorite came from my daughter, who was 10 years old at the time. My cousin had died from LC two years before my diagnosis. I didn't want to scare my young daughter, so I downplayed everything. I told her that I didn't have the same type of LC as Kathi, and that they caught mine early, unlike hers. One day I was at my desk reading a book about LC, and she came up to me and said "Aw Mom -- you don't even have it that bad!". All I could do was laugh and agree with her. That's right, mines not that bad. :-)

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I like that, it's cute and oh so innocent...

I played it down for my grandchildren until my daughter in law told my at that time eight year old grandson that Grandma might die because smoking gave her lung cancer... AKKK! I was so mad, he cired and cried and the worst part is she smokes :shock:

I had him spend the night and did a lot of talking and got him calmed down but it broke my heart to see him like that.

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I have enjoyed reading all the responses to the post also-some got me annoyed, and some made me laugh.

I have to add another that just happened last week. I had to have my records from my old Oncologist in Oklahoma faxed to the new doctor here in Ohio. My appt was today, so they needed the records and I had been trying for a month to get them here. I spoke to the nurse last week and she told me that they STILL hadn't received them.

I called the Cancer Care place in Oklahoma and spoke to the records clerk again. She told me that they wouldn't see them on the fax because she had to mail them "BECAUSE (very indignant tone here)your file is WAY too thick". I didn't have an answer so in the silence she kept muttering about 'too much to fax' and 'dont understand why it was so large' etc etc. Finally I had to butt in with "UMMMM, maybe its because I've actually stayed alive for 4 years?" :shock: There was dead silence from her end and then she replied unapologetically "oh, you know, you're probably right - I didn't even think of that!"

My file is a celebration of my life; to her, its just an inconvenience.

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LOL - Debi, I was at my primary doctor's office for a "normal" visit and noticed how THIN my file was. I even commented on it, and my doctor (she's GREAT, she's the one that pushed for tests and basically saved my life) laughs and told me that it was NUMBER TWO, the first one was too full to add anything to or carry around anymore so the office staff started a NEW file. Go figure...I bet it couldn't be faxed, either...

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  • 2 months later...

I know this is an old posting but after laughing over so many of these stupid things people say, I wanted to tell you all about my experience. I was out in the back yard and had on my scarf. My neighbor, hes in his twenties, came out and was talking to me and asked if the scarf meant what he thought it did. I said yes and we were talking about my treatment and at some point I said, yeah, life can suck sometimes. He looked at me and said, I think I know how you feel, when it rains my car won't start!!!! Boy, I'm glad I don't have his problems!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am so glad I checked this out tonight, I had to laugh at a few and be disgusted by a few.

I had to tell my dad, for about the 3rd or 4th time, to quit asking me if Rod has quit smoking (he hasn't) and that dad will be the first to know if he does. Another thing dad keeps asking is,"Is Rod in the hospital"? Why would he be? But he's my dad and I love him.

I hope more people post, this has been fun to read. :D


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Last week, my Mother got a call from a financial planner at her bank, asking if she wanted to come in and review her accounts, portfolio, etc. She explained that she's in cancer treatment, so now is not a good time, and without missing a beat, the banker said, "Then I should check into your beneficiaries, and make sure your affairs are in order."

Mom, God bless her, blurted out, "I'm not dying!" And instead of realizing at that point that he was being totally tactless, the banker just said that it was still a good time to be checking that sort of thing.

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I was having the lawyer who updated our wills last spring, before we "knew anything" make up Powers of Attorney, just in case. He thought Rod would "pre-decease" me so we wouldn't need a second person named on his to take over decisions. I said, "I could get hit by a car in the Wal-mart parking lot first". He put the second person in the document!!!


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