That was the next question that I faced.
I wanted to tell the inner circle people first. These were the people with that I had already communicated within the week between the tests and the diagnosis.
I also wanted to disseminate the information more broadly, but having the same discussion hundreds of times didn’t appeal.
So I started the day after my diagnosis.
I touched base with my manager. With her permission, I arranaged to tell the team in our Friday morning zoom.
For the friends who knew I had the appointment the day before, I sent a text message. Telling people bad news can be exhausting.
The first text message: how to tell people you have cancer
This is the message I wrote in order to tell people I had cancer. Or, at least, to kind of practice telling people that I had cancer. Again, this was kind of a safe space, because these people already knew I was waiting for results. In some sense, this was like a dress rehearsal.
Huge shout out to those Beloveds, by the way!
For this blog post, I’ve broken it down with some headings to highlight my motivation behind each section.
“The outcome of my meeting is a diagnosis of Stage 1 Invasive Carcinoma.
In lay terms, that is breast cancer in the early stages.
From here, I talk with my GP and arrange to meet with a surgeon. The surgeon today recommended surgery within the month.
We’re still waiting some biological test results. There is also the question of whether it has spread to the lymph glands.
The lymph nodes are showing as clear on the ultrasound done last week. A biopsy needs to be done on them too in order to be sure that they are clear. That biopsy will be done when I am in surgery for the tumours in the breast.
I will probably look at going public in terms of social media and work etc across the weekend; I’m just considering how I communicate my boundaries. I don’t want to frame this experience in any kind of warfare terminology (a battle, a fight, winning, etc). Nor do I accept warrior or survivor as appropriate titles / descriptors. I also don’t want people trying to advise me about medical or lifestyle choices.
I’m interested in what people want to share about their own lived experience but not so much the mother’s cousin’s best friend stuff.
And any of the that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger or sit with the energies that attracted this, or meditate upon why this has manifested crowd can fuck right off.
You’re one of the people I contacted prior to diagnosis. I wanted to tell you personally and privately, first.
There’s lots to be grateful for; the cancer has been detected early, breast cancer is one of the most well researched cancers, so there’s a lot of data available. The prognosis at this point is that it is completely treatable.
I’m hoping to communicate publicly about this in a way that models good boundaries and encourages conversations and raises awareness. So apart from my own treatment goals, that’s my more wholistic goals from this experience.
So, this was how I tell people I have cancer. Or, at least, how I told people I had cancer at that time. I suspect delivery of this kind of news might change not just from person to person. I also think it would change from diagnosis to diagnosis.
I’m super interested in any stories of how other people have told their Beloveds that they have cancer if anyone wants to share them in the comments.
Or perhaps, a Beloved has told you they have cancer and it’s stuck with you for some reason – again,I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
If you are comfortable sharing, please comment.*
*Comments on this blog are moderated as opposed to being automatically published on the blog. I will never change what someone has written. I reserve the right to decline comments that are not aligned with the intention of the blog or that are abusive in any way, to me or others.
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- Friday 06th August 2021 (Cancer Journal 13)
- Friday 23rd July 2021 (Cancer Journal 12)
- The hospital week: first-week post-surgery
- Wednesday 14th July 2021 (Cancer Journal 11)