Telling the "world"

I have not told the "world" about my cancer- I have not posted anything on social media, or even come out to tell people other than family, close friends, work related personnel. I found out in November I have stage 1 aggressive ER+PR+HER2+ Breast Cancer.  I started  treatment after Christmas last year and have completed 4 rounds of TCHP already, with 2 more to go. I am also renting Penguin Cold Caps to save my hair. My hair has been my security blanket my whole life, as I was always shy and insecure. I knew that taking my hair from me would open a world of more insecurities, including having to explain all this to my 2 young children who would not understand. I am extremely grateful that the Cold Caps have saved much of my hair already so that no one knows what I'm going thru, especially my children. However, I will be having a double mastectomy in a few months so summertime will be a struggle, on top of being a mom and a wife. I have an army of people behind me supporting me. I am also extremely grateful for that. A part of me is still scared. I'm still scared of telling people and what they will think of me. If I tell the world will they forever think of me being "sick", that poor girl, not know how to approach me or talk to me because they don't know what to say?, treat me differently in the long run. Has anyone else struggled with this? Id love some advice on going forward. I know that I don't HAVE to tell anyone. But there is another part of me that wants to tell my story. What if I could help someone going thru this like the others who have helped me. I'm so mentally torn on being open about all this. Am I still in denial?


  • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I tell everyone about my cancer... but I don't always share things right away. Sometimes I find I need some time to grapple with changes in my own head first before I'm prepared for other's comments and questions. There are always people that say less than helpful things or act weird about my cancer but these days I don't find I have energy to care much anyway so I guess it doesn't bother me. Just recently I had a head to toe rash reaction from a treatment drug and had to suffer everyone's looks at the docs and drug store... I've rocked the bald look before too. In my case when people look I just look straight back and give them a big smile - usually they either smile back which is nice or they look away embarrassed which works for me too. But I've had over seven years (over five in and out of various treatments and surgeries) to adjust to having cancer and people treating me different, I think it takes time to figure out what works for you and seems like different strategies work for different people. Nothing wrong with being private about your health if it's easier, now is a good time to allow yourself to put your needs and comfort first!
  • emkatemkat Community Member
    Sadly, everyone treats me differently now. I am known as "that sick girl" which I never wanted to be. I even have a gofundme page so there are some days I really feel like a charity case. Ultimately though, I'm very grateful and touched by the actions of those who contribute, just some days are more difficult to take everything in than others. There's also the other side of things where people don't understand, at all. I feel like shouting, "I have stage 4 cancer, I do not feel well, I'm dying and this is my last year." Soooo it's a tough call. I have friends that care too much and friends that don't care at all. One thing I can guarantee is that you won't receive the reaction you want. All that aside, I'm sorry you're going through all this and to me, you are just your normal self! Sickness don't bother me!
  • Q4lifeQ4life Community Member
    Greetings. BMack256 I can relate. April 2017 was my stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis. I told my employers. I request a medical leave. My mom, my sister & nieces & nephew knew. I didn’t go to a support group. I read. I researched. I stayed home & just took care of myself. I began to notice a weird phenomenon.

    I had a HS friend develop cancer & post her experience on Facebook. Her posts revealed a lot of personal & medical experiences. For me I liked my privacy not someone’s manufactured concern over a profile like. For some they will see your illness as their next project. Some will help & show you compassion beyond words. But most will have so much going on in their lives & you will be a reminder of the mortality they ignore via distractions.

    Also I had read about FB emotional responses feed algorithm & how it was testing it on people who posted their cancer status & experiences. Depending on your perspective the algorithm would post negative or positive news on your feed to study you interaction with the site.

    After the surgeries, some healing & physical therapy I let a few close friends know. There is no right or wrong way. You don’t owe anyone your annoucement. If they do get upset, tell them your choice is about what is best for you. I hated telling people & being looked at as if I had a toe tag on my foot or have people cry & end up consoling them. Hilarious if you think about it.

    People will label you depending on how you present your experience. Tell your story any way you want. For me I’m not brave. I operated from an informed placed based on my circumstances & options presented. Do you. Honor you. Stand up for you. I found cancer made me very clear that I owe no one a reason on how I choose to thrive past this experience.

    Wish you the best.