Dealing with others' unsettling reactions?


Question from Carol: How do I handle feeling good about my cancer recovery until I meet someone who asks me how I am, and they look at me as though I have a terrible deadly killing disease and make me feel awful when I have been told that I will be alright?
Answers - Lillie Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S. Congratulations for feeling good. I feel good too! Cancer still is a scary, scary thing. Anytime anybody hears the word 'cancer' (and probably even more 'breast cancer'), they shake in their shoes and assume the worst. It is not unusual at all for someone to look at you and assume that in a few moments you will drop dead. This is a wonderful opportunity to educate individuals such as the one you have described that breast cancer can be beaten, and that you are an example of that. Hopefully that will inspire her to get her annual mammograms, clinical breast exams, and monthly self-breast exam.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. One of the things that I find fascinating about human nature is the need for other people to dump their fears and bad stories on you. You will find that one way people express their anxiety and concern about you—even if this doesn't seem to make much sense—is to tell you all of the bad things that they have heard about and get them off their own chests. This can be really rough. Whenever you hear someone re-tell these stories, you can stop them and say, "You know what? This is not what I need to hear right now. I am really in more of a mood for encouragement and helpful information."

On Wednesday, June 20, 2001, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Tackling Fear. Lillie Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S.,Marisa Weiss, M.D. and moderator Gwen Darien, Editor-in-Chief, MAMM Magazine, answered your questions about how to manage breast cancer fears.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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