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I know a woman that I am casual friends with. She really drives me crazy though for a variety of reasons. We all know people like that. Anyway, I have a sneaky suspicion that she is lying to me about having cancer. She is the type that has to be the center of attention and doesn't like that my mom has been a priority for me and tries to compete!


I have caught her in lies before and overlooked it thinking it was maybe a mistake or an accident. She says she has cancer and is doing chemo. She has absolutely no hair loss, goes out immediately after saying that she has had chemo. Everyone I know that has had chemo has had horrible side effects. Has chemo changed to where the effects are not as bad? She hasn't specifically said the type of cancer, she just said it's her stomach. I'm starting to think she made it up for attention or possibly even has mental illness because she has been saying very strange things. She recently asked me if I ever saw my soul leave my body? Okay, that is just too out there! She tells me that she saw her soul leave her body, so I said to her, like in a NDE, and she said no, she was not dreaming, nor dying, and her soul was a mist type substance and went across the room and out of the front door. I didn't even know how to respond. Then she said she was born with a veil over her face and could tell the future. I'm wondering if I should tell someone in her family about the crazy things she has said lately. She is almost 80 years old.

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No, my FIL had 11 months of Chemotherapy, CVP (Cyclophosophamide, Vincristine and Prednisone), and he did not lose his hair, in fact he had very little side effects other than being a little tired in the following few days post treatment, plus some numbness and tingling in his feet that never went away, even post completion of treatment. He was treated for a Non-Hodgkins type of Lymphoma, Mantle Cell Lymphoma and did great, and lived another 12 years!

All Chemo acts differently on different people, and there is a lot that they can do these days to limit the side effects too!

Chemo Brain is Real though, and her crazy thoughts may be a side effect, for sure! I would definately speak with her family about what she is saying!
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You know this woman casually and are concerned about her. If she were my mother I would want you to give me a heads up.

Personal example. My Mum belongs to a service club and has know the same group of people for over 50 years. I am friends with the daughter of one of the other couples. Mum and a couple other members noticed that Mrs H's behaviour was odd and not consistent and Mr H was acting guarded. Mum brought up her concerns with me and I approached my friend her daughter.

It was not an easy conversation topic to bring up, so I cut to the chase. Turns out daughter knew her Mum has early dementia, but her parents had decided to 'hide' it, not realizing that you cannot hide in front of people who have known you for 50+ years. Now that it is out in the open the H's have a community of support.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 27, 2019
Wow, so interesting. Isn’t it? I’m with you on that one. Hide it? A shame.

Thanks for your perspective. It helps.
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Next time you see her, and she mentions cancer/chemo. Tell her how wonderful she looks and so energetic ! That you are glad that some chemo treatments have come a long way. She's 80, don't push too much. Just tell her you are glad she is doing so well! Ask her what her favorite ice cream or cookies, if she can have some.. Treats go well with elderly people. Hand her a cookie and tell her that you have to visit with mom now, please excuse us.
If you are taking mom for a quick lil walk around facility, and lady is up to it, invite her to go with you and mom. Don't let her stories phase you. Don't encourage either,if they bother you.
I finally had to do something similar to this gentleman in our facility. I quickly pop my head in, wave hello, and then walk over to see my aunt. He's a nice man,
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 27, 2019
Thanks. Yeah, never know what people have been through in life either.
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1. Not all chemotherapy causes hair loss, no.
2. This woman is telling you that she saw her soul leaving her own body and that she can tell the future because she was born with a caul,* and you're suspicious about her mental health because you think she may be exaggerating or even fabricating what she says about her cancer? Two possibilities immediately suggest themselves: a) she is a mad as a hatter; or b) she does have cancer and the treatment is causing these psychiatric symptoms. Either way, should you really be either judging or meddling?

I don't think you should tell tales to her family, no. But as a concerned neighbour and citizen, it would be fine to ask if all is well and if the lady has good support because you have noticed she doesn't seem quite herself.

*This is actually quite a widespread superstition, though I've heard only that it's good luck.
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JoAnn29 Mar 27, 2019
My Mom was born with a caul. No special powers with her.
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NHWM,

No! There are a few different Chemotherapy that are used to treat different cancers and the dose of the chemo makes all the difference in the world. My mother had two different kinds of cancer; one was thyroid and the other was pancreas she did not lose her hair on her head, but she did lose hair on her legs and armpits which she was very happy she didn't have to shave anymore. The bottom line, it really matters what the cancers is, how long chemo treatment is and what the dosage is.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 27, 2019
That’s interesting. My MIL lost all of her hair. It devastated her. Then she accepted it.
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I think there have always been different forms of chemo, the kinds with IV's and hair loss are just the ones people hear about and the ones that get all the press. My bother died 19 years ago, his chemo was an oral capsule.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 26, 2019
Yeah, true. My MIL loved when she could go from IV to the pump because it meant not having to go to the hospital.
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So has chemo changed a lot in the last few years? Can you go out immediately afterwards?
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JoAnn29 Mar 27, 2019
True, it has changed but I still think it takes a lot out of you. So no, I wouldn't think so. I did work with a woman who was getting chemo for uterine cancer in the mornings before work. I think it was done directly into the uterus. No hair loss and she came right to work. But then she was a stubborn woman.
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No, my brother's chemo (for glioblastoma) didn't.

("Chemo brain" is a well documented side effect of some cancer treatments, there is also the very real possibility of tumours metastasizing to the brain.)
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 26, 2019
That's interesting. How different cancer treatments work. When my MIL had lymphoma she lost all of her hair. She bought two wigs. At home she just used a scarf because she said the wigs were hot. Her hair grew back a different texture. It was curly when it came back in.
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Thanks, JoAnn
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Chemo for bladder cancer you don't lose your hair. But, I think this woman is lying but probably believes what she says. Its a mental illness. My MIL was like that and so is a friend of mine. You have to take it with a grain of salt.

I would tell her family you have seen some changes. It could be Dementia or something physical. Like a UTI. She should see a dr. for a good exam.
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NeedHelpWithMom Mar 28, 2019
She goes to the doctor kind of like a pastime. Doesn’t listen to the doctor. She cancels a lot of appointments too. Says she doesn’t feel up to it.
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