hello 2023: social media and cancer

I posted the following on someone’s cancer timeline about those voluminous and far too frequent Facebook posts about people with cancer:

“Hi – I read the post all the way through. I am an 11 year + survivor of one, and do battle with another cancer that people take for granted.

However, I am not sharing this post because well, it’s too negative. I have deliberately chosen to be positive in the face of a very negative disease and live my life as best as possible because I figure that we are all a long time dead.

If you want to be helpful of those who have or have had cancer, be positive for THEM, be patient, just be there. Posting things are only a grim reminder of what they/we are dealing with. We already know, thanks. Lifting someone up with grace and positivity is amazingly helpful and supportive.”

I am starting backwards, right? Well it’s because of this latest no better than asking people to spread spam post flying around Facebook:

I’m told that chemo, radiotherapy (and immunotherapy) treatment, can take years until you feel alive again … With the side effects of chemo and radiation, you will never be 100% again because your immune system is weak. Ruins marriages, families and relationships with friends. Because you’re not the same again after cancer and treatments.

In the hardest moments you know who your real friends are or who the people are who appreciate you.

Unfortunately, like with most friendships, Facebook friends will leave you in the middle of a story. They want a post to ′′like′′ for the story, but they don’t really read your message when they see it is long.

More than half have stopped reading. Someone may have already gone to the next post in their newsfeed.

I have decided to publish this post in support of close family, friends and relatives who have fought this horrible disease.

Now I’m focusing on those who take the time to read this post to the end … a little test, just to see who reads and who shares without reading.

Cancer is a very aggressive and destructive enemy of our bodies.
Even after treatment, the body is devastated. It’s a very long process.

I would like to know who I can count on and who takes the time to read this.
When you have finished this, write ′′Done′′ in the comments.

Sadly, cancer is still the illness of the century. Please, in honor of someone who died, or who is battling cancer. Everyone says, ′′If you need anything, don’t hesitate: I’ll be there for you.′′ So I’m going to make a bet, without being pessimistic: I know my family and friends will put it on their wall. You just have to copy. I did it for someone very, very, special! We all know someone who stood before us, and who has fought or who is fighting this battle.”


It’s 2023 people. Have we not learned yet that posts like this are bullshit? That they are essentially spam that do nothing?

The person who posted responded to me that they were posting for a friend who has had cancer come back again. That they don’t normally post like that.

I figured that they posted it for a reason, but to another breast cancer survivor and somebody who fights another cancer (I dance with skin cancer) when you see these posts they don’t make you feel warm and fuzzy. And if you are going to post things that asking people to share, then you have to be prepared that there are going to be other opinions.

And I will also say that I have friends that have had horrible breast cancers, some who live with metastatic breast cancer. They get up every day and they move forward because they want to fight and live their best lives.

However long that might be.

And you have no idea what it feels like as a breast cancer survivor every time someone you know who also had the disease in one form or another dies. But for them, we move forward.

I am not trying to be mean. But you out there have to understand how it will hit a lot of us who have had things like breast cancer, and other cancers. Yes, it’s hard for our family members but it is unbelievably hard for us and that is why I did make the conscious decision to be as positive as possible. And I am not a positive person by nature I’m just not, but it has gotten me through.

There are life blessings in the midst of severe heartbreak and hardship. That is all I’m trying to say.

If you know someone going through breast cancer the first time, or going through a recurrence, pay attention to them. Trust me when I tell you that I know they will need to vent at times, but this is a crazy obnoxiously personal battle and there’s also that thing in there where there’s a cry for help because they just don’t know what to do with how they are feeling.

As human beings, we can offer support, but there are also things where we have no expertise. And people need professionals to work things out with. said, along time ago that a lesson I learned when I was first starting my cancer journey from a friend who has dealt with thyroid cancer. A lot of their adult life was that she told me that sometimes you have to go down the dark side of the mountains in order to climb back up. That you need to climb back out up to the light.

OK it’s because of things like this and days when you are just simply not feeling your best for whatever reason, that I take to heart what a friend of mine, who lives sober said to me when I was starting the breast cancer journey. And that bit of advice that has stayed with me since then it’s like a 12 step program of life – you take things one day at a time and get to the next day. You keep trying. Every day won’t be perfect. It can’t be that’s human nature and life, but you take the good with the bed, and as my husband tells me, don’t borrow trouble.

So maybe offer people a hand up. Don’t regurgitate the negative that we as cancer patients and survivors and existers live with every day.

Trust me when I tell you that if we’re all honest with one and other, there are things we live with more than we want to talk about.

Take me, for example. I watched the second series of the Netflix show Firefly Lane. In the final episode of the season, one of the main characters discovers a rash on her breast that is a horribly invasive breast cancer. That has haunted me for a couple of days. Why? It’s our not so secret fear which bubbles up once in a while: “it” came back. I hate when it happens, which by the way is the main reason I hate the overly long breast cancer commercials on TV. It’s also why I have a difficult time with funerals. A gift that COVID-19 gave all of us was people starting to also live stream the funerals of their loved ones. For me, that’s easier to handle. Sometimes I legitimately can’t get to a funeral, other times I just can’t handle an in person funeral emotionally and that’s okay. At 58 I give myself permission to say that out loud.

So Happy 2023, people. I do count my blessings that I am alive and around to scribble my thoughts.

Be a blessing in a cancer patient’s life. Or anyone who is ill. That means realizing that our cancers or whatever aren’t about everyone else all of the time. You can choose to be supportive without being fake positive. You can be supportive without perpetuating negative feeling spammy posts on Facebook.

Needless to say, I will not be posting this on Facebook. There are too many people that won’t understand. Or can’t understand. After all, it’s easier to judge and point a finger then try to be different or just better.

Thanks for stopping by.

About carla

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.
This entry was posted in breast cancer and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to hello 2023: social media and cancer

  1. Alene Nitzky says:

    Yes. Yes. And the other thing I’ve learned, is that you cannot teach the unteachable. Social media makes the unteachables easy to find. Maybe that is a blessing, of sorts. Thank you Carla.

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