Who to tell and when to tell. Serious questions that I pondered for quite a while in the beginning.
Before getting the biopsy results, I kept all my appointments quiet. No need to worry anyone unless there's a reason to worry. After getting the news that I had cancer, it was time to consider telling family and friends. Here's what I did: I went right down the list and one by one, I either called or sent a message to let them know what was up. The deciding factor was this: If they found out from someone else, would their feelings be hurt that I didn't think enough of them, to tell them myself?
Up until this point, my entire concern has been about everyone else. I am worried about my mom, my kids, my girlfriend, my immediate circle of people. I am worried about being a burden on others. God knows we all have enough going on in our lives that this is the last thing anyone needs.
As of December 1st, the task of telling people has been taken off my hands. A very good family friend set up an online fundraising campaign for me and my family. Well, in less than 24 hours, the campaign with my picture, has socially reached about everyone I know. He kindly asked me a few hours in advance, if I minded that he set up this fundraiser. This gave me enough time to make sure I told as many people as possible so they wouldn't feel left out.
Now, as far as friends and family giving me money... that's a tough one. Maybe not a problem for some people, but accepting donations and feeling like a charity case is something I wasn't ready to deal with and didn't know how. I reached out to others who have been through this and they all said the same thing:
The people who care about you, want to feel like they have contributed or helped you in some way. They want to be a part of your recovery. They want to feel like they have done something to make your life better or easier or take a bit of stress away during your tough times. When people feel good about contributing or donating, why would you take that away from them.
And the truth is, going through breast cancer takes money! A lot of money! I don't have health insurance because I have been an independent consultant for most of my career. So, there are cancer programs and government insurance programs that will help, but the costs don't stop there. What about the parking fees for all the doctor appointments? What about the gas to get to all these appointments? What about the co-pays and all the prescriptions? And the full page list of items that they suggest having after your surgery to help with recovery?...
Bottom line: If someone wants to take the time to set up a fundraiser for you. Be thankful!
photo: me in Puerto Rico - my happy place!