"It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes." Psalm 119:71

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Say What?

I've got my yearly breast MRI scheduled. I'm not totally fond of tight spaces, so the MRI is pretty scary in and of itself. Not to mention that the original MRI results last year were the turning point in my diagnosis. It's really a good thing that I'm not superstitious at all because this looming appointment will happen on...

Dun, DUN, Dun...

Friday the 13th.

The significance of the date escaped my attention until I relayed the info to my mom and she said, "OOH, Friday the 13th?"

While pointing that out was probably not the smartest thing to tell a person who's anxiety is already a bit high about a medical test, it is, sadly, far from the worst things people have said to me.

And surprisingly enough, it's those in the medical profession that, unknowingly, make the biggest snafus.

-Many times those taking notes for doctor's files will say, "So you had chemotherapy?" I'll say, "Yes. And then radiation." Their eyes get big and with a surprised voice they say, "Really?! Chemo AND radiation?!"
What's Wrong With That?: All I hear is "Whew, you nust have been pretty bad off! Do you have a good life insurance policy?"

-Which brings me to another point. I did have people inquire about my life insurance policy merely days after my diagnosis.
What's Wrong With That?: Duh.

-One time I was talking to a nurse about my risk for lymphedema. She shrugged off my risk and said it was unlikely unless I had positive nodes. I say, "I did have positive nodes." To which she somberly replied, "Oh... Well it really only matters if it was a lot. How many did they remove?" I say, "Ten. Out of which, three were positive." She says, "Whoa, that is a lot!!"
What's Wrong With That?: I hear: 'Yep, you're totally screwed. Better read up on lymphedema now...'

-Then there was the man at HEB who, after discovering my diagnosis, (this was back during treatment) said he'd just had a family member pass away from breast cancer so he'd be happy to pray for me.
What's Wrong With That?: While most patients are not ignorant of the fact that they have fatal diseases, it's probably not too smart to remind us of it.

-And one of the most frustrating things of all is when a person-- doctor, nurse, layperson, whatever-- says, "And you're how old?!" after hearing of my cancer history.
What's Wrong With That?: While it is perfectly ok to be surprised by a young, seemingly healthy person's history of disease, it really doesn't help anyone to let your surprise show. It makes us feel like a freak of nature.


  1. Didn't know about the last one. I bet I've broken that one quite a few times!

  2. I'm hoping I can trump the insignificance of the Friday the 13th stigma. May 13th would be your Grandpa's 85th birthday. I hope that the good memories that you have of him and the knowledge of how much he loved and adored you will help to comfort you through the MRI and that you might feel his sweet presence all the way from heaven.

  3. I know people with good intentions can say they wrong things and I am sorry you had to go through any of this. I usually don't know what to say or would be someone who would say the wrong thing which is why I usually don't say anything, and for that I am sorry also.
    So when you see me, I might not say anything, but I am always sending prayers and good thoughts your way.....or possible thinking how stinkin' cute you look!!

  4. I have learned to look more at the intent behind what was said than what was actually said. But yes, I have had my share of people say "Oh, you have/had breast cancer. My aunt/grandma/friend, etc. died from breast cancer." Uh...

  5. Ooh, I think I might have come off sounding more negative than I intended. It's all humorous and I don't hold anything against anyone. If you know me well you know that I am Queen of "Foot In The Mouth" (and if you don't know me that well, just wait...) :)


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