I Said Something Awful to Someone With Cancer

Something has been bothering me for months now, so I’m seeking the absolution of the internet to absolve me of my inescapable guilt. I said something awful to someone with cancer. Around the time I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2011, I was in VVegaz Salon having my hair colored, wondering whether I might be shaving my head for chemotherapy in the unforseeable future. The owner of the shop, Brandi, introduced me to a really sweet fellow customer who had survived cancer six times. SIX. She was remarkable. Totally positive attitude. My diagnosis was recent and I was still getting my cancer sea legs under me. At first, you just say weird shit to strangers, like you have Tourettes, or like you are four years old and can’t resist showing everyone your Batman Underwear. Someone might innocently ask,  “So, how have you been?” Before you know it, you blurt out “I have cancer! Look at my undies!”

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I can’t believe I said something awful to someone with cancer

This in no way excuses my gaffe. As the Six Time Cancer Survivor and I talked more, she said she wasn’t sure whether to treat the cancer she currently had (I’m so much of a douche I can’t remember which body part). I didn’t know if that meant the cancer was inoperable or terminal and I didn’t have the right vocabulary, or apparently the couth, to respond to this information appropriately. I don’t know what possessed me, but I said, “What is your prognosis?” She just sort of shrugged. Who the fuck asks a stranger how long they have to live? Apparently my stupid ass. So, Six Time Cancer Survivor, I fall on my sword. I am so sorry I asked such an insensitive and personal question. Sometimes I totally suck.

I wonder if this internet absolution thing works? Leave a comment explaining what you would like to take back if you could or if you’ve been on the receiving end of a sincerely insensitive comment that left you speechless.

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P.S. Also, at a high school basketball game in 12th grade, I made fun of Dyan’s mom for dressing her daughter in Garanimals clothing. (Dyan always wore impeccably-matched clothing). I apologize for that. I only remember because my classmate Dyan was seated nearby and I was mortified she may have heard me. That makes me a double schmuck.

P.P.S. The wedding photographer was taking pictures of family members at one of the weddings I was in. As I watched the bride’s family being photographed, I let loose a litany of unfavorable comments about the bride’s step mother. Words like “dumpy” and “unattractive” and “not nearly as cute as the first wife.”. I was unaware that the videographer was recording right next to where I sat.

P.P.P.S. (at what point of the “P.S.” chain am I supposed to start using Roman numerals?) Wow. That felt good. I’m sure this is an exhaustive list of all the lame, gawk-worthy blunders I’ve said over the years.

3 thoughts on “I Said Something Awful to Someone With Cancer

  1. After reading this blog I felt as though it was necessary to write this. P.S. is post script. So for another paragraph is P.P.S. for Post, Post script. And so on. hahaha. Just thought the comment seemed fitting for this blog.

  2. A.B.- Thank you for saving me from my own stupidity. I thought it was “ten-a-shoe” instead of “tennis shoe” for a good decade of life. And I was a Letters major in college!! Seriously, thanks!

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