Well, here it goes. The first blog post! I never saw myself as a blogger. I’m still not sure what I am doing here right now. Or what I will blog about? One thing I do know is it will keep me busy this spring. I don’t know how long I will keep it up, so if you like what I have to say (or ramble on about) let me know!
So after my last heart felt post on my caringbridge (if you want to read it, let me know and I can get you the link), I had another thought that came to my mind. When you go to oncology appointments or really any other doctors appointments you can find just about any pamphlet or flyer on any disease or sickness right? “Pregnant and Breastfeeding: What Women Need to Know.”, “Men: Stay Healthy at Any Age.”, “Irritable Bowl Syndrome: Everything You Need To Know”, “Protect Yourself Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases”. Like, my goodness, there is everything under the sun right? Not to mention most people would not be caught dead reading a majority of those. I invasion some people sneaking an embarrassing brochure into their coat pocket or purse and then bringing it out to do some late night reading. Okay, not really but do people ever read those? I have been to my fair share of doctors appointments and hardly ever see people reading them.
What there isn’t a pamphlet for is how to tell your best friends you have cancer. When you first get diagnosed that is the worst word in your vocabulary. My friends knew I had some weird stuff going on because I was going back and fourth to Kearney a lot but of course everyone thought it was nothing. Why would anyone think that a normal 23 year old (at the time) had that awful word, cancer?
After I had the biopsy, I remember going to dinner with my friends. I took the moment in. Thinking to myself how lucky I was to have them. That no matter what happened or what the results were, they would be there. They would be there to make me laugh when I was weak, to send me text messages of encouragement, and to take me out for lunch when I needed it most. What I didn’t think about was how would I tell them? About two weeks after that I sat in a small, cold boxed room with my doctor that I have known since I was about 7 and heard the words I didn’t want to hear.
I drove home with my mom in absolute shock still not thinking about my friends who have been by my side through heart breaks, late night studying, and some of the best memories of my life. I knew I wanted to tell them in person. As any other person does, I turned to my mom for advice. I was angry that there was no book, no damn pamphlet at the doctors office telling me how to tell my friends that I had cancer. Damn that stupid word! That was all I could think about. Was that word really going to have to come out of my mouth…forever? Was it going to be apart of MY life?
I knew that I would not be able to tell them in person because we were all in different places and busy beginning our summers. I remember it being like word vomit. Texting was not the way I would recommend anyone going through this to do it, but you have to do what you have to do. I wanted to tell my friends right away because I had to. My friends and I have an ongoing group text, so thats how I did it. I laid on the couch and anxiously waited for replies and worried for them. All I wanted to do was to drive to all them and hug them and tell them that we were all going to be okay. That I was going to be okay. In fact, I did tell them those things. I told them that I would get through this with them. That I loved them.
Because, that is all you can do when you tell people you love you have cancer. That you love them. Tell people everyday that you love them. Tell people every time you see them that you love them. That you appreciate them. Don’t wait for a tragic life event to happen to start doing that. Start now. It’s a hard habit to get into, and sometimes I find myself getting out of that habit. Send someone a text right now and tell them you love them, appreciate them, or thank them for something. It’s so very important and something I have learned on my journey.
So, a few times since that moment my friends and I have joked about how there is no pamphlet or no book. Honestly, there is no wrong or right way either. You tell them how YOU want to tell them. That is why there probably is no pamphlet. If there was a pamphlet would I have read it? NO! I would have probably been more mad. So, I guess there is no easy way.