On the eve of thanksgiving, a day when families may come together after months apart, I can picture a little anxiety in some of you that are living with lung cancer. "What is Aunt Maggie going to say about my lung cancer this year?" I’d like to think that holiday conversations would be entirely thoughtful, but I understand better. You wouldn't find me at a meeting for children from functional families.
Some remarks people make to each other during the holidays can be painful, and for those with lung cancer the pain goes even deeper. You might be able to brush off, “I can’t believe your son Ricky didn’t choose a (fill in the blank) college. Did you know his cousin is an honor student at Harvard?” But some comments that lung cancer survivors have shared with me are more biting. “I always told you to quit smoking.” “Don’t you get cold being bald?” “My boss had lung cancer and he died.” “You look better after losing that weight on chemo (whispered).”
How can you deal with insensitive comments, and move beyond them to enjoy the holidays fully?
The first step is to realize that most of these comments are not meant to be hurtful. Don’t take them too seriously. Many people simply don’t know what to say to someone living with cancer. Ignorance about lung cancer and an underlying fear that they could develop cancer themselves contribute as well. Still, on occasion you may run across people that are simply rude. Having a few “comebacks” may help you deflect those comments before you absorb them and let them interfere with your joy. Read on for Tips on Handling Insensitive Comments When You Have Lung Cancer.