Telling Your Friends and Family About Your Cancer
Discovering you have cancer can be devastating for you and people you love. People usually feel uncomfortable and don’t know what to say. They also might be afraid of upsetting you or losing you. To avoid saying the wrong thing, people sometimes don’t say anything. Sometimes just being with a person is more useful than anything that might be said.
Only you can decide when to talk about having cancer. Individuals who find themselves in this situation want to share their feelings with their friends and family. Sometimes, telling people will help you start accepting reality and finding a way to deal with it.
Before saying anything, you need to think about how much you want to tell. You might want to tell them what type of cancer you have and what your prognosis is. People are very sobered when they acknowledge that someone has cancer. You will probably want to comfort them and say you will do everything to fight the disease, and you would like their encouragement.
Cancer patients usually tell their spouse or partner first. Telling your children is important but you must prepare according to their ages. Your friend and family members will probably have many questions about the cancer and the treatment options. But, it might get exhausting to repeat all the details again. Also, think about the topics that are too emotional for you to discuss. You might get upset when people question your treatment choice. Think about those issues and plan an answer that is convenient for you. You can change to another topic at any time and talk about something else.
How can they help?
When you first share the news, people close to you will offer their help. You might feel like you do not need any yet, or you just want the privacy to handle it on your own. But remember that you will probably need some extra help during the treatment. Let them assist you because they want to support you. Give them a chance to be helpful like helping you with kids, taking you to the doctor’s appointments, etc. Encourage your loved ones to talk about their feelings because they are also suffering. When you feel ready to hear about their fears and worries, ask them how they are doing. But, if you are not ready, don’t ask because it can be overwhelming to handle your treatment and think about the worries of others.
Friends or family members might try to cheer you up, but it is alright to ask them just to listen because people can be uncomfortable with your feelings. Don’t be discouraged by that. If you are not in the mood to answer all of the questions about your cancer, you need to prepare a response that will work for you.
Your loved ones may become angry because they are also going through same feelings, and they are also trying to deal with this difficult situation. Remember that they are not angry with you, but with the situation.
Although it may seem hard, try to keep life as normal as possible. Encourage your friends and family members to keep enjoying hobbies, spending time with friends or playing sports without feeling guilty. This will offer you all an anchor for day-to-day life.