Monday, January 16, 2012

Astonishing (in Retrospect) Things Said to Me (Breast Cancer)

"I can do a mastectomy next Thursday and you'll be all done."

~ Surgeon number one (not for long).

I suppose that one might generously say that our definitions of "all done" differ.

"That's highly unusual." 

~ Surgeon number two, in response to my reaction (ask Maggie about that one) to a procedure I was told wouldn't hurt. 

(A 25 on a 1-10 pain scale.)

"We have women come in here on their lunch hour and go right back to work."

~ Plastic surgeon's nurse, explaining ramifications of those weekly visits.

Those must be extremely long lunch hours involving multiple margaritas.  

"Sometimes we all have to do things we don't want to do."

~ Plastic surgeon, in response to my comment about the length and difficulty of treatment.

Really?  You just said that to me?  You think I am a spoiled child who has never been challenged by life?

"Just a pinch."

~ Multiple people, said en route to inflicting serious pain.

I just don't even bother anymore.  Like Stevie Nicks, I keep my visions to myself.


My husband asked me this morning whether the plastic surgeon hadn't said that this would probably be the last week.

"Well, yes," I sad.  "But he says a lot of things."


  1. I can still remember getting an injection in my wrist where the physician's assistant said before he started, "I'm sorry, but it'll hurt." I cannot tell you how much I appreciated the honesty.

    It's got to be difficult to inflict pain on people, and I wonder how much of the language ("pinch") is meant not so much to comfort the one afflicted, but to help keep the one doing (admittedly what must be done) at an emotional distance?

  2. Margarita lunch...make that a MML...multiple margarita lunch.

    My friend who has lost two family members by suicide also made a list of
    dumb-ass remarks made to her.

  3. I keep thinking I should go down to the UT Medical School and volunteer to teach a seminar on what not to say to patients. Of course, I'm still angry so I don't think I'd make a great teacher. There are still surgeons I'd like to castrate in the most painful way (for them, not me).

  4. Purple, for awhile there was a FB page: You didn't really say that (to a parent who's lost a child)!

  5. who among us is not guilty? My hope for myself is to have a limited amount of hurtful comments made, but I am sure I have made plenty more than I ever meant to say. I am sure my students could compile a list that would make me shudder.

  6. Hmmmm . . . I could write a post on All The Terrible Things I've Said.

  7. I have been away far too long. i am so sorry to hear of this.