Aug 08, 2010 - 6:02 am
Sorry for the length of my post or any spelling errors. I am new here and wanted advise on telling my mom that I have tonsil cancer. I am a 40 year old, single,non smoker, rarely drink just diagnosed with Tonsil cancer with right neck metastasis. I received the initial call from my ENT on July 8,2010 after a ultrasound guided needle biopsy of an enlarged lymph node in my neck indicated there were METASTATIC POORLY DIFFERENTIATED SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA WITH EXTENSIVE NECROSIS found in the lymph nodes in my neck. He referred me to MD Anderson for further testing, diagnosis and treatment. I have a huge support system of friends though I live in a different state than my mom and sisters, we are a close family. I am not sure how to tell my mom and am looking for how others have told family / friends / loved ones of their cancer? So far each time I tell a friend / family member I wonder did I do it in a compassionate way or could I have said it better.
A little history:
So when I got the cancer diagnosis from my ENT knowing my cancer is hightly treatable unlike my dad's health condition...I felt like it would be deja vu of the worst kind for my mom if I told her on July 9th then she would have cancelled her trip. Plus, I had yet to have the initial diagnosis confirmed and maybe was in a bit of denial myself. I wanted my mom to go on her trip and have fun so when I really need her she could be here for me.
Since July 27th I have been examined by a team of oncologists and had a series of tests, most recently a exam under anaestasia which involved a biopsy of my right tonsil and resulted in removal of my left tonsil (which I did not realize would happen so soon). I am waiting on the results of the biopsy and meet with my oncologisits this week on Monday / Thursday to discuss my treatment plan and have follow up from the tonsillectomy. I am on pain meds and find it hard to speak due to the pain. Last night I got a phone message from one of my sisters (I have told 3 of my 5 sisters) and in her message she tells me "I have tell my mom as she (my sister) cannot keep it from my mom any longer". I was planning telling my mom my diagnosis after I got the results of the biopsy and met with the oncologists about the treatment plan. Suffice it I know I need to tell my mom but I wanted to find the right way to tell her so she won't go cancelling her trip and flying home immediately. I am sure others experienced this fear of telling a loved one of a cancer diagnosis, at the same time I am overwhelmed with all that is going on... an added stressor is that I found out last week that the older of my two dogs has an aggressive bone canceer - osteocarcinoma of the shoulder and while I am able to manage her pain the cancer my dog has is so aggressive give her age it is not curable.
So while recovering from the tonsillectomy, taking care of my dog I needto find the right words / right time to tell my mom. Any suggestions?
I appreciate the wisdom of those who have already experienced what I am in this initial step.
I apologize for the length of my post in future I will try to be so rambling and wordy. I am sure it is lack of proper sleep and pain meds.
Thanks for listening.