Utah Breast Cancer Support Group

Non-denominational breast cancer support group in Utah for young women in their 20's, 30's and 40's. Friends by Chance. Sisters by Choice.

Young Survivor Sisters is a free, non-denominational breast cancer support group for women living in Utah who are in their 20's, 30's and 40's. We've been supporting each other like sisters since 2003 and welcome your participation. Together We Survive! To join the conversation, please join our Facebook Page

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Top 10 Things Young Survivors Probably Don't Want To Hear

OK gals...I found this and laughed my guts out!  It's just so true!  So here's a little something to brighten your day...

Love ya!


“The Top Ten Things that Young Survivors (Probably) Don’t Want to Hear”, by Marika Holmgren:

1) "You have a beautifully shaped head! In fact, you look GREAT bald!"

We know this is not true. We don't feel pretty. We don't want to stay bald. We want our hair back.

2) "Oh, you have breast cancer. My (aunt, grandmother, mother, sister, friend) died from breast cancer. But I'm so glad to see you're doing well."

I don't know how to say this politely, so I'll just say it: some of the people you say that to WILL die of breast cancer, even though they look great and are doing well. We want to hear the stories of long term survivors.

3) "Well, you're young, so at least you caught it early."

Folks, this is THE single biggest misconception out there, and it drives me nuts because I have to have the awkward conversation with people that in fact, my cancer was already quite far along and very aggressive. Cancer in young patients, pre-menopausal, is usually more aggressive than in older patients. Finally, your chances of getting a second cancer when you've been diagnosed young is much greater. So unfortunately, when you're talking to someone young who's been diagnosed, it's less likely that they caught it early, so just tread carefully.

4) (after treatment is complete) "So, you're cured now, right?"

Currently, there is no cure for cancer. I'll know I'm cured when I die of something else.

5) "Well, if you have to get cancer, breast cancer is the one to get.”

I totally get that this is said with good intentions, but it's like saying, "Well, if you had to lose a family member, a second cousin is the one to lose." It all sucks. It's all bad. We do not sit down and thank god or whomever that we "only" got breast cancer. At least I don't.

6) "Cancer is a gift. You really learn to appreciate what's important."

If cancer is a gift, can I return it please? A gift card would have been better.

[Note from LH: Or as Breast Cancer Action's executive director, Barbara Brenner, said in Help Me Live: 20 things people with cancer want you to know, “A gift is something you would give to someone.”]

7) "Isn't it great that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month? Think of all the awareness and money that's raised."

Perhaps if Target wasn't hawking pink rice cookers where a nickel goes to Komen (ok, I made that up, but it's possible), I wouldn't quite feel so nauseated at the site of all this cause marketing. Of course it's great that more money is going to fight the disease, but I do worry that companies are making LOTS of money off this disease.

8) "You'll get back to where you were before cancer."

This is a hard one, and this may be unique to me - I don't want to claim that this is universal. I know that people only mean well here, but the reality is that my body, is completely different than it was before cancer and before all the drastic treatment. I don't know that I'll get back to where I was, and frankly, I'd rather spend my energy making peace with where I am rather than spending all my time trying to get back to my pre-cancer self. Rather than push me to get back there, accept me as I am and help me love my new scarred, crazy body.

[Note from LH: Marika, you are not alone in feeling this way. As Lawrence LeShan said in my book, about people who say such things, “Do you have a golden telephone to God?!]

9) "I can relate. When I was pregnant, I (insert comment about body changes, bad sleep, nausea, hair changes)...."

I know that cancer seems to have a lot in common with pregnancy with all the nausea, hair changing, hormones, etc., and it's particularly tempting to make the comparison because that's what most of my peers are doing now - having babies, not getting cancer, but there's a pretty damn big difference. And again, I know you're just trying to connect, but it's a painful comparison (particularly since some of us, as a result of the disease and treatment, will not likely be able to have children).

10) "Cool! Free boob job. Lucky!"


Thanks again to Marika Holmgren for this not brutally, but kindly honest list. Please forward – and add your own - to help all of us punched by cancer receive the support we need and our friends want to provide!


Books Available

Ginny and I (Erin) have collected a bunch of really great breast cancer related books and would love to share them with anyone interested in reading...Just leave a comment here on the blog and we'll arrange getting you the book!

Here's the list:

Finding the “CAN” in Cancer
By Nancy Emerson, Pam Leight, Susan Boonan and Terri Schinazi

Fighting for our future- How Young Women Find Strength, Hope, and Courage While Taking Control of Breast Cancer-
Forward by Ann Curry of the Today Show
By Beth Murphy

Voices of Breast Cancer- The Haling Companion: Stories for Courage, Comfort & Strength
Edited by the Healing Project

Just a Lump in the Road- Reflections of Young Breast Cancer Survivors
By Debbie Leifert, Gina Castronova, Dr. Tamara Brennan, Jackie Ehrilich, Cindy Goldberg, & Donna Palmisciano

Breast Cancer Survivor Fitness Plan
By Carolyn M. Kaelin, M.D., M.P.H.

Facing the Mirror With Cancer- A Guide to using Make-up to Make a Difference
By Lori Ovitz and Joanne Kabak

Breast Cancer Husband-- How to Help your Wife and (Yourself) Through Diagnosis, Treatment, & Beyond
By Marc Silver

First You Cry- The Classic Inspiring Story of One Woman’s Triumph Over Breast Cancer
By Betty Rollin

The Middle Place- A Memoir of Kelly’s battle with breast cancer
By Kelly Corrigan

Crazy, Sexy, Cancer Tips-
By Kris Carr--Forward by Sheryl Crow

Tools & Tips From the Trenches- Heartfelt Advice for Survivors Families & Friends
By Mary Olsen Kelly

Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor’s Soul
By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, & Mary Olsen Kelly

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