You have discovered that you have cancer and then comes the question of whom to tell, when to tell them, and how to tell them.
I would think that most people tell their life partners first (I would guess parents for unattached younger folks). Actually, apparently most people take their spouse to the appointment for the results, which never occurred to me. The people who live with you and those related to you seem obvious people as well.
Tom and my children and siblings all knew that I had been getting tested so there was no issue with how to bring the topic up. Either in person, on the phone or in email, “I had a doctor’s appointment today. I have breast cancer.”
Things are a little more awkward with friends, coworkers etc, especially if you haven’t been in touch in a while.
you – Hi Susie, how are you doing?
Susie – Great, what’s new with you?
dilemma time… do you want to catch up a bit first, or do you basically take over the conversation right now?
you – I just found out that I have breast cancer.
At this point, as you may assume from the fact that this is a public blog, I think I have told most people I know one way or another. The exception to this is my students at the high school which I am doing today. The easiest ones were when I had told one friend and then asked them to fill in the other people in our circle and I think that is because then the other person deals with their initial reaction.
I am off to the school. I teach, or I guess taught, four classes and have a home room. Rather than hang around all day and talking with each class separately, I am hoping to have them all at once. This is a bit of logistical issue as they are all in their other classes and there are few places big enough for 100 students. So, the theatre may be the location which in and of itself is not ideal.
What do I want them to know?
- I would rather be here teaching them.
- I have cancer.
- I will be having an assortment of treatments that will likely take close to a year.
- I will be ok.
- I will not be back to teach them.
- I will be thinking of them.
In the end, I didn’t get to tell students today. We are going to consult with a few people about the best way to go about this and then meet again. The admin are going to make sure that my students know that I won’t be back.