• What did you tell your family when you were diagnosed?

    Asked by GregP_WN on Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    What did you tell your family when you were diagnosed?

    Did you unload the straight up truth, I have cancer, it's stage XX, I will have to do XYZ?
    Or did you just say, I'm sick?

    29 Answers from the Community

    29 answers
    • cam32505's Avatar
      cam32505

      Well, I was diagnosed before I knew the stage or treatment plan, so just that I have cancer. Then, it got interesting. I had to tell my family because I knew I was going to need help. I didn't want to wait til I got sick enough to ask for help, I wanted them lined up willing to help. I know that was a little bit excessive, but many of my coworkers stepped up and offered to help when I had my second diagnosis. They didn't know with the first one. They offered to bring me fruit because they knew I would be too sick to shop.

      over 6 years ago
    • Hussy's Avatar
      Hussy

      We didn't sugarcoat my husband's diagnosis. We were pretty matter of fact, told them what the plan was and said let's get to work.

      over 6 years ago
    • Ejourneys' Avatar
      Ejourneys

      Straight no chaser. :-)
      When I told my partner (who has brain damage and to whom I am caregiver), her first response was, "So! How long do you think it will be before we can look back on this and laugh?" (I said, "I haven't the foggiest idea.")

      I posted this status on Facebook early on March 4: "GP called this morning and I've got my marching orders. Biopsy showed cancer, so I will head in early this afternoon to set up surgery and we'll take it from there. Won't know what stage I'm in until after the surgery. In other words: It's clobberin' time! Fight vibes much appreciated, and thanks! <3 " Got great online support there. Not long afterwards I found WN and this wonderful community.

      over 6 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I found out years later that I really scared my Mom and hurt her by just blurting out "It's Cancer!" I think I could have done that a little different, and it was on the phone after my dr's visit. With the other diagnoses, I still said I have cancer, again, but gave some background and a positive message that it was no big deal, I have been there and I will do it again. So I've done both.

      over 6 years ago
    • alimccalli's Avatar
      alimccalli

      I told everyone the straight truth. I wanted/needed the support, and frankly, no one sugar coated it for me and I didn't have the energy to sugar coat it for anyone else...I knew it was Stage 4, and wanted my family to know how serious it was. I was very upfront - said that my doctor was confident in the treatment she was recommending, but the road was not going to be an easy one.

      I did put some thought into the order I told my family. My husband was with me for diagnosis, then I told my sons. We took a day or two as a family to process it (plus it was over Christmas). Then I told my sister and then my mom. I let my mom tell the rest of the family. I called a few friends personally because I didn't want them to hear it somewhere else. After that, I just let the gossip mill spread the news. But I was always honest about my entire diagnosis.

      over 6 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      NOTHING....only told my wife.....Don't have too much family and only recently told my sister and Uncle who is 93 and has Leukemia. Didn't want to go through what I have and what I'm doing.....just too stressful...

      over 6 years ago
    • Asanayogini's Avatar
      Asanayogini

      Yes I was straight up blunt . How do you sugar coat this kinda dx

      over 6 years ago
    • Lynne-I-Am's Avatar
      Lynne-I-Am

      Husband was with me at the doctor's office when I was told. Came home and told all three of my adult children right away. Held off telling sister and dad(he is 91), until time for Debulking surgery, two months after diagnosis.

      over 6 years ago
    • meli's Avatar
      meli

      When I got the news from the doc. that I had vuvlar cancer stage three I had my lil. sis. who is 30 tell the family I was not in the right mind to I had death in my head that whole day she did for me I was worried on how my father was going to take it since he is sick of the heart but they all cried took it hard but they are all my number one supporters

      over 6 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      I can remember the Horrible Feeling I had driving home to my wife Suzanne. I just wanted to go to the nearest Bar and get drunk but I didn't. I just told her....it was awful.

      over 6 years ago
    • IronMom45's Avatar
      IronMom45

      I told mom first as she was here helping me recover from my hyst when I answered the phone , my daughter and husband walked in and I told them. Then my son when he got home. When I found out the stage I only told my mom and husband, my kids still don't know. I have not shared stage only on this web site. After my whatnexter of the week article last week I did share with a select few but that's a first for stage in 6 months. I said I have to have more surgery chemo and radiation. There will be days that suck And days that are ok as well as days in between. But we focus on the finish line! I don't discuss stage because to me limits my potential. I may once NED so other stage 3 can see they can be NED too!

      over 6 years ago
    • Jalemans' Avatar
      Jalemans

      As I was in the hospital, those who came to see me literally saw the writing on the wall. I called my younger sister & just told her what I knew without any sugar-coating, also a couple friends... Then I just let people find out from the grapevine. However, I did e-mail the rest of my bio siblings with the facts when I felt the younger one was getting put on the spot. I didn't go into every gory detail but did share more when I saw them in person.

      The hardest hit has probably been my husband. I researched things & just gave a little info at a time because he just didn't do a good job of handling things.

      over 6 years ago
    • SandiA's Avatar
      SandiA

      I was at work when I got the diagnosis and I have a pretty close work family so they figured it out right away. So I was in a hurry to get home and call my family. They knew I was waiting for biopsy results so I just told them right away. No sugar coating. The hardest call was telling my son but he does best when I give him as much information as possible.

      over 6 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      My diagnosis was came in stages. After the outrageously unprofessional statements of the xray tech "We have had a lot of people doing this test and they have all had cancer" And on the way she said "Doctor is really worried" The hints at a cancer Dx got more professional. My PCP called me into his office as soon as I got home from the swallow test. He quized me about Had I had any injuries to my throat? Had I swallowed anything that I should not have? Then he said there is a 65% chance you have cancer. I am sending you to the gastroenterologist for evaluation. When I got home my mother asked what did the Dr. think it was. Well my mother has the interrogation skills of the highest level CIA agent. It wasn't very long before I blurted out "He thinks it's the C-word." I was very sick at that time. The gastroenterologist placed the probability of cancer at 90% and because of the size and extent of the tumor (it had invaded the lining of the stomach) if cancerous, I probably had about 4-9 months of life. I was scheduled for an endoscopy which would confirm the diagnosis. My daughter would have to come to take me to the endoscopy. Before the endoscopy the Dr, asked me if he could talk to my daughter about the findings or did I want him to put them in a sealed envelope. I said sealed envelope please. My daughter had come from Boise and had come from Boise and had a hotel room where I could recover in quiet as my sister was visiting. Aftera few hours my sister called and asked if I was up to visiting for a while I said yes. I brought the envelope with me as I hadn't. I gave to my sister to read. It contained (to my surprise) all the graphic details of the endoscopy as well as the results of the biopsy and an appointment with the cancer center. My sister said "This sucks" Then read the diagnosis. So I really didn't have anybody. My sister told everybody in the room and got on the family phone tree. (our family had a protocol one member calls another member who passes it on. In fact it was my sister who told me.

      over 6 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      One person I did not call until I knew all the details was my son, who was studying international law in England. I wanted to be sure of the details so he could make arrangements to complete his classes if I should become worse.

      over 6 years ago
    • lynnluc's Avatar
      lynnluc

      My husband knew because he was with me...to my adult children I told them not to worry and minimized the dx. To my in-laws we told the truth-that I was given 6-9 months- they minimized it and then later thought I should just accept it and do nothing- but wait and die. We did not do that and I have been NED now for nearly 5 years. I have had Stage 4 melanoma for nearly 6 years.

      over 6 years ago
    • HeidiJo's Avatar
      HeidiJo

      I had a lump on the side of my neck that they told me it definitely was NOT cancer because of my white blood cell levels, but it needed to be removed because of it's size. So I woke up from surgery and was told it was Lymphoma. So my husband told my family by phone. We told my son because he was 15 and we didn't want to insult his intelligence, but we waited to tell my 7 year old until we had all the info. We told her I needed a medicine (chemo) that would make me sicker before it made me better, she looked at us and said "how the H-e-X-X is that going to help you?" Out of the mouth of babes!

      over 6 years ago
    • glam's Avatar
      glam

      I was so scared and alone, with my husband under recovery from his cancer surgery and living abroad that I started exchange phone messages with my aunt who is a doctor and was in Brazil...I started sending her all pages of exams results and asking her what that meant.....and she told all other family members because suddenly everybody started calling me....and I realized that all those complicated words unfortunately meant cancer.....wishing you all the best...God continue blessing all the best

      over 6 years ago
    • jackiwalkr's Avatar
      jackiwalkr

      I was scared and blurted it out to my husband through tears over the phone on my way home from work. I pulled myself together to tell my children 16 and 20, but told them chances look good but it's going to be a big fight even though I was terrified. Did the same with my Dad and my brothers and friends.

      over 6 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      My husband was with me when i got the call that i had lung cancer. My mother and son were the hardest to tell. My dad died of lung cancer many years agoat age 49. I knew Mom wouldn't take my diagnosis well (she's a big worrier by nature). We told her that i had it, that i would start chemo right away and that i was going to be okay. I didn't believe it at the time, but i put on a front for her. I did about the same for my son. For everyone else, i posted to Facebook. That seemed the easiest way.

      over 6 years ago
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      Has anybody NOT told some people still?
      Just wondering. Are there some that you just don't think can take it?
      B

      over 6 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Hey Barry I guess I really didn't tell anyone, I just handed my sister the envelope and let her make the announcement. And she did a fantastic job.

      over 6 years ago
    • mac101467's Avatar
      mac101467

      My wife was with me when I found out. I had not spoken to my oldest daughter in about a year and that was the hardest phone call of my life (we live 850 miles apart). I was not looking for pity, but to let her know I loved her and was not sure as to what was going to happen since surgery was out of the question (inoperable). Called my sister who lives exactly 1 mile down the same road as me and it took her 3 weeks before she came to visit me. I think sis took it hard because she lost an in-law that she was very close too. Told my son who also lives far away. They all took it well. My youngest daughter was only 8 at the time and can't really grasp it until now, but she and my wife were truly my soldiers of faith. My dad lives near my oldest kids and he took it hard. My boss and friends at work were quickly discovered as to who the real friends are and are not. But here I am working on my 4th birthday and I look forward to my 5th! My newest motto is "Always forgive those who can't understand, for their ignorance is not always bliss".

      over 6 years ago
    • Fusionera's Avatar
      Fusionera

      Telling my family was a comedy of errors. I waited until that evening until after my neurosurgeon had called me to give me a rundown. I called my folks about 9 at night, which was very late for them. My dad answered the phone and I burst into tears. He asked me what was wrong, and I asked him if he was sitting down. He said to someone in the background, "It's Johanna. She wants to know if I'm sitting down." Me, through my tears, "Dad, I have a brain tumor." He repeats this to someone in the background, presumably my mother. It was my grandpa, who lived with them at the time.

      The horrible iron is that my mom was out to dinner with some girlfriends, and they all had the same doctor. Mm knew that Dr. Dunn had been fighting a brain tumor, but that. It was at dinner that she learned that he had died of it. She had no clue that I had called home with my news.

      When she came home,my dad and grandpa were sitting n total darkness and silence in the living room. No TV, no lights, nothing. My grandpa leapt off the couch and said, "You two need to talk. I'm going to my room." My dad broke the news to her, and she understandably asked why he hadn't contacted my doctor yet." They paged my doctor (this was 1995, before cell phones), who immediately called them back. My parents were told, "We'll do everything we can to make her comfortable."

      over 6 years ago
    • sethpines' Avatar
      sethpines

      I was 15 and my mom told me she didn't know much yet.. just that she has cancer. she asked if I had any questions and if i was okay...i told her i would be okay and went to my room. i came back upstairs and saw her crying. she said it was because she knew me, my brother (16 y.o.), sister (20 y.o.), and half brother (21 y.o.) weren't okay but she knew we are strong enough to get through it. My brother asked her if she was going to die and my mom said "I hope not".

      over 6 years ago
    • ddkk3's Avatar
      ddkk3

      oh boy, it was difficult for me. I was 21 and I was living in the dorms at the time but was home for winter break. My parents were both out of the country and I was mostly alone (my sister was there but very busy) going to lots and lots of doctor appointments trying to figure out what was going on with me. It was really hard to tell my parents about it. I ended up telling my dad something was wrong as I cried so hard on the phone and sent him a picture of the doctor's preliminary report hypothesizing that I had cancer. He was amazing and book a flight ASAP for the next morning and made it to my next doctor appointment. My mom stayed out of town and it was really hard to tell her, too. Then word spread through my family and some people got bits and pieces and misinformation so it was all around a mess.

      over 6 years ago
    • PinkyPromise's Avatar
      PinkyPromise

      My husband and I made a lot of phone calls after my diagnosis, but to share specific information without having to repeat it too often, I started a journal on Caringbridge.org. That's been a very useful tool for us.

      over 6 years ago
    • oldestone1's Avatar
      oldestone1

      I just came straight out and told both my sisters, but i didn't tell my daughter until she came home a couple of weeks before my surgery. I didn't want to ruin her summer, she was over seas for 3 months and since my surgeon said i could wait, apparently my kind of kidney cancer was slow growing, i did. that was the longest 3 months....and now i am a cancer survivor.

      over 6 years ago
    • Cole's Avatar
      Cole

      My husband was with me. We were all shocked, including the doctor. Prior to surgery, everyone thought I was "precancerous" and after the surgery I was suddenly stage 3. Told my parents over the phone. I couldn't make it through the phone call. I literally heard my mother and fathers heart breaking. Probably one of the worst things I have ever had to do. It was so much worse than actually finding it out for myself. After that, I told everyone over email. I just couldn't go through that conversation again.

      over 6 years ago

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