How it affects family and friends


At my initial appointment right after the mammogram, when I was told that it was likely cancer I was by myself, but I knew the radiologist doing the reading and you know we had a good little cry in her office. And then as we moved into the respective testing procedures, an MRI*(Magnetic Resonance Imaging) you’re often… you have a bit of a bandage or you have markings or whatever, so I felt like that was going to be really hard to conceal from my partner. So I decided that I would let him know but that was after the MRI. I had done the MRI. I wasn’t supposed to drive after the MRI so my sister came with me and she was really great through the whole experience. She was really, really positive. But I think one of the hardest things was telling my family because of our family history and so telling my mom and dad. In our family we often, not that we make light of subjects, but we often try and make them comedic. And so my sister joked that she was going to do a cake and it was going to be in the shape of breasts and there was going to be like a little cupcake in one of them and that’s how we were going to tell my parents, through this cupcake lump in a breast cake. So I didn’t really think that that was the best approach but we did wind up telling them. We shared with them, while they, I didn’t want to tell them over the phone, I didn’t want to tell them… even through like Skype or something like that because they live about 8 hours away.

So I was trying to find the best way and so they wound up coming up for a visit. My sister was getting married and so my mom and dad came up to help with some of the planning during the time, around the time of my surgery. They were here and it was great to have them here and so we told them, of course, there was definitely some emotions going on but I think just the fact that I had already kind of been through…I had already kind of been through that myself, I was able to provide them with a support which is normally, it’s not necessarily the way that things unfold. But I felt comfortable telling them and explaining to them all the process and how everything was going to move forward.

It got to the point where you know even my friends and I, they have those e-cards those like (names Brand) those funny cards. We wanted to develop our own chemotherapy versions of ones like “Who needs Weight Watchers? Do chemo!” You know like these kinds of things, just joking around and the top 10 reasons why I have no hair “I stuck my finger in a socket, I pulled a Britney.” That was a really common one; I did a Britney Spears. I just found that it made things a little bit easier to tolerate and I just think that it also made it a little bit more comfortable. It made it a little bit easier to deal with especially when you know I was telling people for the first time about my diagnosis it helped too.

Interviewer: How did it help you?

Well like you know if people would ask about people would have asked about, my short hair like, because I had long hair for so long and people haven’t seen me for a while then, then they ask and so I’m just like “oh you know I had a moment or you know bad break-up.” Just kind of to break the ice and then I say “Actually I was sick last year and I had chemotherapy.” So it, it winds up being an icebreaker into something a little bit more serious than, yeah.

*MRI: Imaging test that creates a 3-dimensional picture of the body’s internal structures using magnetic force and radio frequencies.

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