How Do I Say This Nicely…

This is going to offend some people, which I would like to point out is NOT my goal.  If I had it my way, then everyone would laugh, think I’m hilarious, and walk away with a little piece of helpful knowledge on what to say to people fighting cancer.


Look- I KNOW, like I 100% KNOW that people are just being nice.  They just want to help!  All they want to do is help me and make me feel better and give me some little tidbit of information that might, just MIGHT be the solution that I need to solve this annoying problem called cancer.  I truly believe that I have an army of support that just wants me to be healthy and beat this nasty disease.  I have SO many people that pray for me and pray for complete healing which I am incredibly thankful and grateful.  I will be so sad if someone thought I thought anything differently.  But here’s the deal…people seem to like that I’m honest and authentic.  If I’m going to be honest and authentic, then I have to get this off my chest.  Some of you are going to read this and think, “awe crap!  I do that!” It’s okay if that happens.  Honestly, that would be better than that person who thinks they never do that, but they are the top culprits.  Here goes…


If one more person offers me advice on what I should try or what I should do, then I may just throat punch them.  A good, hard throat punch.  It seems violent, I know!  It kinda is.  I’m just REALLY tired on the constant advice I receive from friends, family, acquaintances, strangers, and any other people who are not on my medical team.  On the regular I’m told what drink I should try, what new medicine I should take, what treatment I should do, what food I should eat, what food I should NOT eat, what doctor I should visit, what diet I should follow, and what personal hygiene product I should use.  Can you imagine how annoying and overwhelming this can be?  I’m seeing about 8- 10 different doctors right now.  Don’t you think that if there was something as simple as “drink this drink and your cancer will vanish” then my team of doctors would tell me?!


Sure.  Sure.  There is the possibility that I have an evil doctor on my team that is only a cancer doctor because they see cancer as a huge money-making opportunity and is not interested in healing me because that would solve a huge issue in America and therefore end their money-making scheme.  Sure.  That’s possible.  Not likely, but I suppose it is possible.  I just don’t think that is the case for me.  Mike and I didn’t just close our eyes and pull a doctor’s name out of a hat.  We didn’t just go down a list and choose a doctor because it was the cheapest one and crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.  We did research to find these people and make sure they are what we think is the very best option for me beating this.  My doctors are recommending me things to try, and I’m trying anything they suggest!  I want to get better!  I want to be healed!  I want this behind me!  I also want a quality of life that is the best it can possibly be.  I go through quite a bit of crap each day, so the idea of me drinking your nasty tasting drink because it healed your friend’s uncle from some type of cancer that you don’t know whether or not is the same as mine because it might have a slight impact of the size of my tumors, does not sound appealing to me.  I don’t want to drink a nasty drink.  If my doctors told me it would heal me, then I would drink it.  For example, they told me to take chemotherapy pills for 14 days straight, and then on day 10 add another chemo pill and the 2nd pill will make me feel even worse that the first one did.  They told me to do this for 14 days and then take 14 days off.  Did I want to do this?  No.  Did I do it?  Yes.  I did it because my doctor thought it was my best chance for healing.  Did I want to do it month after month?  No.  Did I?  Yes.  Did I want to do radiation and feel like crap for 3+ weeks?  No.  Did I do it?  Yes.  I did it because my doctors thought it was my best chance of shrinking these tumors and getting that one damn tumor off of my blood vessel.  I’m trying all types of oils in all types of forms.  I’m trying all types of medicines and vitamins and chewables and probiotics.  I’m trying exercise.  I’m trying massages.  I’m trying a lot of things to help me, so please, please, PLEASE don’t suggest some weird diet that your mother’s friend’s husband tried where you only eat things that touch the Earth at a 15 degree angle, is imported from Djibouti and is the color of asparagus.  Also, I know that cancer likes sugar, but if I want a gummy worm I’m going to eat one.  And I’m fine with that.


My hope is that you will read this and have some empathy and be mindful of what you decide to suggest next time.  Honestly, I know it’s hard to know what to say!  I’m confident that I’ve said the wrong thing way too many times too.  I also find it irritating when people present a problem but don’t offer a suggestion, so here are some suggestions on helpful things to say to people going through medical crap:


“I’m sorry, friend.  This sucks!  I hate you’re having to go through this.”

“I think of you often, and I’m sending positive thoughts your way.”

“I’m praying for you and your family!”

“I thought of you today, and you really inspired me to get moving!”


I love, love, love to hear that someone that started off having a rough day or not feeling well then thought of me and felt motivated to get going and make the best out of their day.  THAT helps me!  THAT makes me want to keep pushing and fighting!


So, next time that you hear about the latest therapy, medicine or healing tea please don’t email me, Facebook message me, text me or call me.  And if you see me getting hauled off in a cop car because I throat punched someone, please don’t judge.  Wait, okay- you can judge.  I mean, that would be some good gossip there for a little bit, so I couldn’t’ be mad at ya for talking about it.  I promise I won’t actually throat punch someone.  I may give them a really good fake smile with a classic eye roll as I walk away though.  That’s definitely the safer option.  Thanks for listening and letting me be open and honest, and thanks for not suggesting how to cure me.

9 thoughts on “How Do I Say This Nicely…”

  1. Very well said! Love and Prayers to you and your family. You are amazing Ashley, and we are praying for your healing.

  2. Well, I have to say… I think you are HILARIOUS 😉! Seriously, for a math teacher, you have a great writing voice. You inspire me to see that glass half full, or at least find the joy/humor in what is in the glass at all. Love ya girlie!

  3. Well said. And said w/ the attitude and sass that makes you a real inspiration to others. Sending prayers, good thoughts & love your way.

  4. I️ love you Ashley. You got this! I️ can hear your peppy voice when I️ read it. So much love and admiration

  5. GREAT message that probably anyone going through this crap would like to share. But I promise I won’t suggest it to them. One request . If you do think you are going to flip and throat punch someone for real , please make sure that someone gets a video of it. If you are going to be hauled off in a police car anyway you might as well have a video that will get a million likes! Love you. Hugs and prayers.

  6. I have trouble telling people to back off. I’m so proud of you for doing it!!!! I’ve heard that soooooooo many silly things will cure my health problems (most of which come from spinal damage) including random people at the grocery store. It’s SO ANNOYING!!! Good for you! I think of you daily and send you healing energy. I really hope for the best for you, sweet girl. Long term health problems SUCK!!

  7. You said it very nicely! And funny-ly! Unsolicited advice is almost never a good thing. The only time I really appreciate it is when I have a booger or something else hanging from my face. But even then, I kinda feel like throat punching them. Not really… but kinda. Love you.

  8. Thank you for for writing “What’s going on” & helping keep us all up to date. I love the way you write. I think of you often & sincerely hope your pain will be eliminated. I am inspired by your strength & perseverance. You are loved dear cousin.

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