I had told my siblings about my diagnosis but hesitated on telling my mother. She was scheduled for minor surgery and was apprehensive. She has been ill on her vacation to California. She went to a clinic and was told by the quack doctor that she had cancer. Needless to say she flew home immediately and saw her own doctor. He reassured her she was fine but this minor surgery was making her very nervous. I would tell her after her surgery. That was one reason I didn’t tell her but the real reason was I knew it would be shared with the world once she knew. Telegraph, telephone, tell Marilyn – lol! I love my mother but she can burn up those phone lines like no other. Whenever she goes on a trip, the first thing she packs is her phone book!
I decided when I was diagnosed that this would be my journey to handle as I wanted. I truly didn’t want the cast of thousands involved for several reasons – the main one being it takes a lot of energy to have cancer let alone having to discuss it with everyone. It seemed to me that every time I told someone, I had to relive the trauma of it and let cancer suck a little bit more energy from me. I wanted to focus my energy on myself and my immediate family. In some ways, it was the first time I had really made it all about me. Another big lesson learned from having the Big “C” – take time for you, take care of you, love you.
Even though my mother’s mantra before her surgery was “You never know they still might find something” - her surgery turned out fine. After surgery, my sister and I brought her home. My sister was spending the night, I was going home. I figured after her nap and a nice dinner, I’d tell her. We just sat down and my sister looks at me and mouths “TELL HER!” I start laughing and my mother wants to know what’s so funny – so I begin. I tell her my diagnosis, what I have done thus far, dates of my surgery, etc. Her first response: “Oh my God, and you hosted Easter dinner!” – (with her upcoming surgery that “you never know they might find something” – I got stuck hosting Easter for 30 people). Only my mother!
Once I finished, I followed it with “Let’s not make a big deal about this. I’d like to handle this quietly.” I leave and tell my sister to keep a lid on her. When I’m at home a few hours later, I call my sister and say “Please tell me she’s behaving.” “Too late”, my sister says, “the phone book was out before you left the driveway – she’s gone from A to Z. The phone lines have been burning”. Yep, so much for keeping my diagnosis quiet.