Telling people about my diagnosis via Facebook
When I first got my diagnosis there were people I had to tell (family) and people who should know (close friends) and others involved in the things I do (such as work and coaching). I found it exhausting telling people and I was already exhausted from not sleeping much. Increasingly, I came to the conclusion that it would be easier and better for me if people just knew.
I put up a post on Facebook and just blurted it out as objectively as I could with what I knew at that point. Following, I was flooded with messages of support and these are still trickling in as more people come across the news. It was a relief. Now when I go to the rowing club or meet up with people it’s out there and I don’t actually have to talk about it with them. By being open with it, I feel less like it defines me, which might seem counterintuitive. Another thing is this: by talking and writing about it I am forced to stick to the real facts and this keeps my mind from wandering into places it doesn’t belong (negative thoughts based on speculation). It helps me to be positive.
Since sharing this, so many people have contacted me and told me about their wives, their mothers, their sisters and friends who’ve gone through this. When I found out I had breast cancer, I felt immediately isolated, but people sharing their experiences has made me understand just how many lives this disease touches and how willing people are to help. It’s been amazing and the compassion that’s all around will be the thing I’ll remember.