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Who to tell when and how

Posts: 1
Joined: May 2007

HI, I'm facing the daunting issue of ovarian cancer. How do I tell my parents and siblings who live far away and will FREAK out with worry. Also my two young children...how do you do this?

saundra's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: Mar 2007

We, my husband and I, decided to be frank and honest with everyone. My children are grown with children of their own. We thought that knowledge was better than wondering. Sorry you are
facing this with young children. My youngest grandson is 10 so I'm in a different category than you. This is a good group to give you suggestions and support you with their hugs and prayers.


jamilou's picture
Posts: 201
Joined: Mar 2005

My biggest supporters while I battled this disease was my family and Church friends. My family was quite upset but they rallied together to help me through. My daughters were 11 and 14 and after having seen their Grandmother battle cancer they were devastated. Our youth group at our church helped support them and were there to listen and cry with them. It is never easy and they will worry but I could not have made it through without my family! You will have to make the decision and make the one that you feel is right for you and your family. Whatever decision you make I hope that you will find a peace and can use your energy towards getting well. Good luck!

Posts: 1995
Joined: May 2003

I know exactly how you feel. I always dread this part too. But you'll know when the time is right and how to do it. More importantly, when all is said and done, just give everyone time to adjust to the news. Then, when they're ready you can fill them in on the details. From then on I'm sure everyone will rally around you and be supportive and helpful. My Mom was a worrier, and I could never take it completely away from her. But I believe she felt better when she saw how I handled each chemo and dealt with the whole situation. I was most concerned with my husband and children. My daughters tend to keep things inside, but I know how it affected them. But again, my attitude made all the difference in the world. Your family will see your strength through all of this and you will be an inspiration. And even when you think you don't have the strength, they are there for you to lean on. So, it works both ways.

My prayers and hugs to you and your family. Stay in touch with your family here - this is a great source of support and love!


Posts: 650
Joined: Mar 2003

You may find your parents and siblings are a lot tougher than you may believe right now, especially if they've had any illnesses to deal with.

I chose not to let anyone I worked with know, and have been selective with friends. I seem to have lost a "good" friend because of it, even though my long-term prognosis is very good. She spent a lot of time in a hospital when she was young, and has had her share of grief as an adult, so I guess she's entitled to her avoidance of me. I polled my support group members, and they all felt they had lost one good friend because the friend was not comfortable with them any more.

As for young children, I would ask a counselor for advice. I'm sure wherever you're treated will have a counselor available; if not, call the closest office of the American Cancer Society. They'll know!

Good luck, and try not to worry too much. Things all get clearer as you go along.

Posts: 485
Joined: Sep 2006

I believe in telling the family as soon as your ready, and they will act probably according to you. I told my family, and kept a strong poker face in front of them. I did not talk about the lousy statistics, or how scared I was....I just stayed strong and positive in front of them. Hope this helped...I have read the answers you have gotten so far and agree with all of the ladies..Good luck..Joanne

curlee8661's picture
Posts: 57
Joined: May 2007

I understand your dilemma. It's a difficult decision, and you need to consider your particular circumstances. I have no children, just a husband and his large family. My husband, of course, I tell every detail to (except the 5 year servival odds, which I don't think does any good to know, even though I'm only stage 2c). We told his family before the surgery, mostly because I wanted him to have support during that time. Strangely enough, most of them have stayed away and are stil keeping a very low profie. Not what I expected. I always saw them as a very supportive family, but I guess you don't really know until the chips are down. My mom, on the other hand, lives in Europe. I was discussing with her my pre-diagnostic symptoms (bloating, indigestion, etc) over the phone until just before I had my ultrasound. Before I knew what was really going on with me, she started to suspect and cried with worry. Both her sister and mother died of this sort of cancer years ago, so the extreme bloating started to ring a bell for her. Of course, I had to try my best to calm her down and reassure her that it wasn't anything that serious. She's 79 years old and not in the best of health, and the way she gets emotionally worked-up over things, I just couldn't bring myself to tell her over the phone when I did get my diagnoses the next day. At first, I thought I would wait until after the surgery, but then I've decided there's really no point in telling her at this point. If I was in a later stage my decision probably would've been to arrange for someone to be with her when I tell her over the phone, or even travel to her location to tell in in person. As things stand at this this point, I think it's better to wait until she comes for a visit sometime next year. By then I'll be done with chemo, have more strength, and look much healthier. I think it will be better to tell her then, when she can see me and not imagine the worst. Aside from the emotional aspect, I must admit I also considered the more practical issues as well. My mom would've been on the first flight (she even said so), and having her with us during surgery and chemo would've added to all the stress my husband and I are dealing with these days. Having one more person to take care of and worry about was the last thing we needed. That may sound selfish, but it's realistic. I don't know what your exact circumstances are, but I hope this helps you a little in making your decision. Best of luck! ~Marianna~

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