Tag Archives: the happy cancer chick

Stuff People Say to People With Metastatic Breast Cancer

Pundit Molly Ivins died of inflammatory breast cancer at age 62 in 2007.

“One of the first things you notice is that people treat you differently when they know you have [breast cancer],” she wrote. “The hushed tone in which they inquire, “How are you?” is unnerving. If I had answered honestly during 90% of the nine months I spent in treatment, I would have said, ‘If it weren’t for being constipated, I’d be fine.'”

In a similar vein, actress, writer and early stage breast cancer survivor Jenny Saldana recently teamed with Linda Nieves-Powell to create “Sh*t Girls Say to Girls With Breast Cancer.” It’s funny because it’s true…if you have breast cancer, you will have heard at least one of these clueless comments. That being said, I am sure that prior to my own diagnosis I made some of these same comments to others. Well, as Dear Abby used to say, 40 lashes with a wet noodle.

I should stress that in talking to other cancer patients, a spirit of tolerance and understanding  prevails. It’s not easy to know what to say and in most cases, the responses are truly heartfelt if often unintentionally hilarious.

Saldana and Nieves-Powell show great comic skill and creativity in this clip. As in similarly titled efforts, the actress is shown in various settings (getting something from the fridge, at the wheel of her car,) as she recites comments  such as “You’ll be fine,” and “It’s because you don’t have children.”

Don’t be put off by the title. It’s just a play on “Sh*t My Dad Says,” there is no cussing–it’s very funny!

I hope they will consider doing a similar piece specifically for people with metastatic breast cancer. My suggestions would include:

  • Well, you never know. You could get hit by a bus.
  • They don’t seem to be doing much for you.
  • Sheryl Crowe says it’s from drinking out of plastic water bottles, especially if they have been sitting in the sun.
  • Have you tried mistletoe?
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