How Grieving Impacts Sleep
February 23, 2019 – Lisa Smalls
What Nobody Ever Wants to Hear
February 21, 2019 – Gary Stromberg
From Survivor to Caregiver
February 13, 2019 – Joanne Lam
A Work of Art, Not a Work of Cancer
February 12, 2019 – Cora Fahy
A Geneticist Saved My Life
February 04, 2019 – Geni J.I. White, RN, MS
What to Do When a Friend Gets Cancer
January 31, 2019 – Robert Heywood
Doctor Reflects on 30 Years of Cancer History
January 19, 2019 – Maurie Markman, M.D.
Oral Chemo Makes the Prospect of Facing a Lifelong Cancer Prognosis That Much Easier
January 13, 2019 – Bill Wimbiscus
Never-Smokers Get Lung Cancer Too: Finding Out the Hard Way
December 30, 2018 – Lindi Campbell
Taking on the World's Toughest Cancer
November 28, 2018 – Tommy Thompson

Don't Call Me a Skinhead and Other Cancer Faux Pas

BY Peggy Thomson
PUBLISHED August 03, 2018

This is a very short story.

While visiting my mother in a skilled nursing facility, shortly after completing six rounds of chemotherapy, we were enjoying dinner and pleasant conversation when I noticed a concerned look on my mother's face. In response to my questioning, my mother informed me that she overheard the elderly woman at the adjacent table refer to me as a “skinhead.”

Throughout my development, my mother emphasized looking presentable and showing good manners in public. I was also taught to respect my elders. Without hesitation however, I turned towards the next table and announced loudly, "That's OK, Mom, they're just ignorant."

The lesson to be learned that day was first of all, you can call me what you like, but don't offend my mother. I also felt empowered in my response. Since that day, I have learned that other cancer patients have also heard comments that would be better left unsaid. A young cancer patient relayed how her boss's initial response to her cancer disclosure, was "we'll all die at some time", or something to that effect.

In addition to all the special targeted medical treatments, we at, times may need to create an invisible shield to protect us emotionally from the stinging arrows of the uninformed.


 

Be the first to discuss this article on CURE's forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.

Related Articles

$articleRelated$
×

Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!
×

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In