How Do You Tell People That You Have Cancer?

Telling people that are close to me that I was diagnosed with breast cancer was a very personal and difficult decision. I am sure you are thinking that I am crazy for saying that and I would have agreed with you when I was first diagnosed, but I don’t agree now. Why wouldn’t a patient want to tell their family and friends? Or, what would make a cancer patient regret telling them? It will probably surprise you to know that I have spoken with some cancer patients that didn’t tell anyone, or that after the fact, they had wished that they hadn’t.

Family members, friends, and co-workers are never comfortable hearing that someone they know and care about has received a breast cancer diagnosis. It is a hard subject to discuss and every cancer patient knows that to some degree once they start telling people that they have cancer, the flood gates open with questions and in some cases blame. It is sad but true that sometimes out of fear, people are ignorant enough to ask a cancer patient what they “did or didn’t do to get cancer”. I can tell you that I was blaming myself early on. I was sure that it was my fault, that I had done something wrong and that is why I ended up with breast cancer. I know now that it was ignorant of me to blame myself. I didn’t do anything to cause my cancer, cancer chose me.

Sometimes people stay away because it is easy for them to assume that since someone they know was terribly sick during chemo, that you will be too; or someone they know did not survive breast cancer, so you won’t either. Understandably, they are afraid to be close to you because they think that you will die and it will hurt more if they step into the reality of your cancer so if they don’t talk to you, it isn’t real. I have found myself reminding people that I am still me, that every breast cancer patient’s experiences and outcomes are different, even if they have the exact same diagnosis. So many factors go into how a patient will respond to chemo and radiation treatments as well as undergoing multiple surgeries like most of us do, so it is impossible to predict what will happen. I am happy to say that I am doing well now that I am well over a year out from my diagnosis…I am a survivor!

I didn’t tell anyone right away because my husband and I were in shock and we needed to process what was going on. I also had my first biopsy to go through and I wanted to have the specifics of my breast cancer before sharing the information with anyone. Just a few weeks later once all of the test results were back, I told my family and close friends first through phone calls and private messages. As the news spread of my diagnosis, some people reached out to me immediately and others often times the people I wanted to talk to the most, stayed away from me, not knowing what to say. I can’t blame people for distancing themselves because I understand how hard it is to hear about the pain, endless doctors’ appointments, and everything else that I had to endure both physically and mentally for months on end. I also understand that people think that they would be bothering me or burdening me if they wanted to talk about things that they are going through, but if that is what they are thinking, they couldn’t be more mistaken. Right now, especially while I am laid off from work, I need my friends and family, I need to connect with people.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer has taught me that we never know what tomorrow will bring. Putting off spending time with the people that we care about and love should not be left until tomorrow, or next week or when we think we will have time because time is not on our side. {Yes, I know that the virus we are all dealing with is not helping bring us together, face to face, but there are other ways to communicate.} Sometimes the choices we make will only bring us to feelings of regret in the future, and sometimes it is too late to go back to the cherished moments we should have had with those that we love and value.

Taxol #11

Mood: Accomplished 😁

I have been doing OK since my last treatment. As usual I am tired, weak and run down. No amount of sleep or rest is enough at this point. I am tired of being tired….

Treatment went well today and it was quicker than normal because my nurse didn’t see that I have been getting the steroids and Benadryl mixed in a bag and given to me over a 45 minute time period. Luckily I didn’t have reactions to getting the meds quicker so that was good and it shaved close to an hour off of my time in the chair.

I have a plan in place for my month off between chemo and surgery. I will work on getting back on my treadmill and using our weight machine. The steroids have not been kind to me as I have gained almost 20lbs during my 4 1/2 months on chemo. I know that it is better to gain weight during treatment rather than losing it, but I feel yucky with the extra weight. I haven’t worked out since December so I am anxious to get back to it. I will be very careful so I don’t cause any injuries that would delay me further. I will be dealing with a weakened body so I will only walk for 20 to 30 minutes in the beginning, making sure that I am moving but not pushing it too much like I normally would do.

Getting treatment….I can’t believe it’s almost over! 😁

I have to admit, I am going to miss Thursdays off with my husband, but not the reason why. He has been my rock through what is easily the most difficult battle of my life and it isn’t over yet…..I am almost 2/3 of the way done.

Health Directive

May 14th, 2019

Mood: Exhausted 😩

Another night of thinking about things….

I am thinking that it would be smart to call the hospital tomorrow and ask about a health directive, whatever is required in GA. I would ask my Dad but I don’t want to scare him with the fact that I am thinking about it.

After really talking to Matt, I understand that he has had the same thoughts about the cancer killing me, as I have. It could come back at any time or there could be cells as my oncologist explained that are too small to detect. I am starting chemo soon and I have a positive outlook but I can’t help but notice that nothing has gone as planned since all of this started.

I want to take steps now, if I can, to make things easier for Matt should something happen to me or if I end up in the hospital.

Heavy stuff, but things I need to think about if not act on some time soon.