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Coming To Terms With A Diagnosis Is Hard, But Telling People You Have Cancer Is A Lot Harder

June 25th, 2018 |
Recently Diagnosed, Emotional Support

by breannemadeline | Survivor: Bone Cancer    Connect

Trying to understand and come to terms with the fact that you’ve been diagnosed with life threatening disease is hard, but telling people you have cancer is a lot harder. The day I was diagnosed, my parents were rung by my GP who asked for them to see her in the late afternoon, on a Monday. I had just finished school and was at home doing homework. I had thought I had sprained a muscle in my arm.They sat me down and told me I had cancer. I didn’t know what this meant. Was this a death sentence? I fell to the ground and starting crying, my brother came out of his bedroom and saw the three of us crying.

My parents rang the people that meant the most to us. I tried to come to terms with what happened but I didn’t know what was going to happen.

The next day, I had a meeting with my deputy principal during lunch break. Mum and I were taken into a interview at school, where she told them I had been diagnosed with cancer. Their faces dropped. The whole conversation was a blur, until I piped in and said that I wanted to tell my friends, but not on social media. I wrote a list of my closest friends at school and was told I could come in during the last lesson of school the next day.

Going into school was tough. I had teachers ask me what was wrong but I wasn’t quite ready to tell them yet. I got my principal to tell my favourite teacher at school, because me telling her the news was heartbreaking. My school had rung each of my friends parents and informed them of what was happening and for them to be at school to pick them up.

I was in the same interview room that I was in the day before. My friends came in and a few of them said "you’ve broke your arm? You’re okay?" I was silent and started to tear. This is when they knew something was wrong. I told them I had a tumor in my arm and that it was cancer. A state of shock fill the room. Then there was crying. This was a lot for 13 and 14 year olds to handle. It was a whirlwind of emotions and parents were soon let in to comfort their kids.

The best thing about my cancer experience was being able to tell my friends on my own terms. The next day it soon was all over Facebook and people were wondering what was going on. I had people that were once mean and bullied me suddenly come out of the woodwork and want to be best friends. But I felt differently and didn’t want their sympathy.

I am no longer friends with most of the people I told that day. But despite everything that has happened to me, I don’t regret the people I told. I do wish that I was treated by them better than what I was.

Telling people I had cancer is awkward and I often wait for their faces to drop and the "I'm sorry". It’s awkward for me to tell new people in my life who I’m close to. I’m pretty sure I told my new friends and boyfriend by slipping it subtly during a conversation.

It doesn't get any easier to tell people, but at the end of the day it’s your life and you can choose how much to let people in. Advocating about my cancer experience has eased my mind and has helped with those negative thoughts that often enter in.

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breannemadeline's picture

Bree currently resides in Melbourne but is orignally from a small town called Albury on the border of NSW and VIC in Australia. She was diagnosed with an Osteosarcoma in 2011 and is now 6 years cancer free! She has travelled many places in life and always seeking new adventures. She is a Social Work student wanting to pursue her dream of closing the gap of adolescent cancer care!