Talking to family about your condition
Hi. I’m 30 and I was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago. I talked to my father about my condition, but I chose not to tell my mother because I thought it would adversely affect her health. When another family member was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, my mother’s health deteriorated significantly from stress and worry. I know that it isn’t a good thing to do, but my father and I decided it was for the best.
I was planning to tell my mother once my condition had improved, but I am being dragged into a large family get together this Christmas / New Years. I will have to tell my mother and the rest of my family about my illness. Honestly… I’m dreading to see my family and the reactions/anger/etc I will receive.
I’m curious how others have dealt with talking about cancer to family members and friends. I’ve kept my illness private from most of my friends and family. Am I in the minority?
I chose to tell those of my diagnosis I felt would support me at the time I got the info. Others who I wanted to tell but waited to write a long Christmas letter basically about it as that’s the only contact I have with them. One must do what they are comfortable with doing and I wish you well.
I posted this information on my Facebook support page:
1. Learn as much as you can about your cancer and its treatment. Many people find that learning about their cancer and its treatment gives them a sense of control over what’s happening.
2. Express your feelings. Some people find that giving some kind of outlet to their feelings helps. Many people feel that expressing sadness, fear, or anger is a sign of weakness. In fact the opposite is true. It’s much harder to express powerful emotions than it is to try to hide them.
3. Take care of yourself. Take time to do something you enjoy every day.
4. Exercise. If you feel up to it, and your cancer care team agrees that it’s ok, start a mild exercise program such as walking, yoga, swimming, or stretching. Exercise can help you feel better and is good for your mental state of mind.
5. Reach out to others. There may be times when finding strength is hard and things feel overwhelming. It’s very hard for any one person to handle having cancer all alone.
6. Try to focus on what you can control, not what you can’t. Finding ways to be hopeful can improve the quality of your life as well as your mental well being.
In my case I found that sharing my information with family and friends was very helpful to my state of mind. In fact, I posted my progress on my Facebook page and the outpouring of love and support helped me get through each day. Now I’m trying to be there for others as well.
If you have Facebook, check out my page at https://www.facebook.com/CancerDidntDefineMe/
I try to post information about cancer, support groups, and positive quotes. Share this journey and you will find that you also share the weight of it. No one should try to do this alone!