Telling family members that you have Cancer, however contained and operable it may be is a task that I’d rather not repeat.
The emotional stress of holding this information, or the potential of knowing that this might be something that needs to be done in the near future is ghastly. I know that many of you reading this have already been there and done that and I’m sure you’d concur with me.
As the signs that I might be in this special club, the one that no one wants to join, began to creep into my consciousness, the thought that I was going to have to tell my son, parents and other close family members and then friends about my status troubled me greatly. I recall looking at Ben (our son and only child) one evening when he popped over to visit before it was confirmed but enough clues were there, and thinking ‘How on earth do I tell you?’ I was so conscious that in situations like this there is a before and after. A time when no one knew and were blissfully unaware of it, and then a time when the facts are there before you plus all the silly mind games that commence as soon as you hear those words.
In my case, Steve and I talked about who and when and how, as much as we were able to predict and control it. Naturally immediate family first, face to face in their own homes so they didn’t have to travel anywhere afterwards and clearly, as comprehensively as need be and positive.
How you tell people news like this really matters. Your words become the sound bites that people mull over, use to share and comfort themselves with, especially during the initial days I imagine. Sadly, most of us and most of you reading this have been in a situation where someone shares this type of diagnosis; in that sense it’s nothing new. But of course when it’s your nearest and dearest, your Mum, your child, your wife, your sister, your auntie, that’s hard. Your friend is up there on the list too.
And not only does that positive messaging matter to those being told, it helps to reinforce the story you need to believe about yourself. Steve and I have repeated it so many times now I often felt that having a précis printed on little business cards to give out might be handy. It’s exhausting telling people and holding all that emotion and yet it needs to be done. Being pragmatic by nature can be a helpful characteristic.
My family are stars. I suspect their individual lights are going to dim along the way but they’ll brighten up again. That I know for sure.
Talking with my brother on the phone was one of those golden conversations that in a sense can only take place in unusual circumstances. At the end of our call he said ‘So, its Team Positive right?’ and his statement has fuelled a following of such warmth, I can hardly believe it.
Posting onto my Facebook page I shared that statement and the image here and asked people to join #TeamPositive. If you ever need reminding of the good that exists in the world, share some less than great news with friends and acquaintances and see what happens. The kind words used to reply to this call to action have been so uplifting and will provide a buffer from the reality. We’re truly touched. Positivity it seems, is contagious and that’s something I’m happy to share.