"Don't spend time worrying about how you are going to die. Worry about how you are going to live today"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I dropped the "cancer bomb"

This morning I just knew it was time to find a way to tell my family my horrible cancer secret.  I just laid on the couch for hours this morning thinking "I just can't tell them.....".  It was agony.  I know I have kept the secret for almost a month now because it was the holidays and I just didn't know what was going on with all of the test results and my prognosis.  Now that I have most of the information, it's the right time to tell them.

I called my brother first.  I wanted to tell him in person, but he's a lawyer and I never know if he's going to be in court or out of the office or in the office.  He has kids at home so stopping by to talk would not be private at his house and his kids are old enough to know something is going on if we look upset.  I just bit the bullet and called him.  It was hard.  I tried not to cry, but I did.  He was shocked and supportive.  He just listened and said such encouraging things.  He vowed to be there for me and my family and support us any way he can.  I told him I loved him and he said he loved me too before we hung up.  I don't remember the last time I told my brother I loved him.  It's sad it took cancer for us to say that.

Now that I had the "warm up" of telling my brother it was time to tell my mom.  I drove to her house as I knew she was home.  When I got there, she just talked and talked about all the stuff she had going on and my heart was pounding so hard, it almost jumped out of my chest.  I tried to focus on what she was saying, but I just wanted her to stop talking so I could tell her.  A part of me wanted her to keep on talking so I wouldn't have to tell her.  It just "sucked".  I can't even think of a more proper word to use.  No daughter should have to tell her mom she has cancer.

I told her my news as I held her hand and we cried.  She took it well but was scared for me and worried for me.  I told her everything I had been through since December 8th and what my treatment plan would look like.  I showed her my surgery scar and assured her I was feeling pretty good from my 12/23 surgery.  She really had no idea this was going on other than the fact that I had not been calling her as much lately as I usually do.  She never thought it was because of breast cancer.  My mom just simply asked "how can I help"? 

As I ended the conversations with my mom and brother, I told them they had to remember a few things:
1.  I don't have cancer any more - we just have to keep it that way.
2.  Remember the 90% and remind me of that when I waver or don't believe it (my doctor says I have a 90% chance of no recurrence with my treatment plan and situation).
3.  Don't tell me "you are strong".  I hate that.  I am not strong, I am human.  I don't want to go through having cancer.  I am not coping well with it - maybe in front of you, but I have meltdowns, cry daily, can't sleep, can't eat.  No one wants to deal with it.  No one can get through this being "strong" though you may think so or it may look that way on the outside.  It just sucks - period!
4.  Don't tell me any cancer stories.  I don't want to hear how your friend's mom died from breast cancer or how she fought it and is doing fine.  None of that matters as each situation is different.  I don't want to hear ANY cancer stories!
5.  Call me when you want to, but don't take it personal if I don't pick up or call you right back.  Some days I just don't want to see anyone, talk to anyone or explain what is going on.  I am not always up to talking about this or even daily trivial things.  Please respect my feelings on this and don't take it personal.
6.  I will need you to help me and my family.  Please reach out to my husband as he keeps so much of this inside and he will never tell me how scared he really is.  If you call him or talk to him, you don't have to tell me.  What is said can remain between you two and I don't ever have to know.
7.  No telling anyone about my cancer unless I agree to it.  This is MY cancer.  I am not ready to go public with my pathetic story. 

The both agreed to my list of requests.  The best part was when I left my mom's house.  I gave her a huge hug and told her I loved her.  She said "I love you too.  Good-bye weakling!"  I just laughed and smiled.  That's my mom!  She's the best.

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