How did you tell your family that you were diagnosed with breast cancer? Was this difficult?

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member2721 (Survivor (2 - 5 years)) - 09 / 06 / 2011

Telling my family about my breast cancer was not difficult because we readily share health information. I chose to call my family as soon as I heard because I wanted them involved in the whole process from the beginning. I called first rather than gathering them all together for a ‘big family meeting’, so I could let each of them respond to the news in their own way. A few days later, after we all were able to absorb the news, we met and put together a list of questions we had for the doctors.

member4001 (Survivor (5 - 10 years)) - 09 / 07 / 2011

Telling my then 14-year-old daughter was the most difficultpart of letting people know of my diagnosis. But I made a decision to try and keep her as shielded as I could, while still being honest and forth-coming. I told her that we had found the cancer early and that I was going to do everything I was supposed to do in order to make sure that I was going to be okay. I took the same approach with others and, in turn, it gave me power because it also gave me a plan - do everything I was supposed to in order to make sure I was going to be okay.

I think an open dialogue is very important because it allows feelings that could become overwhelming, an escape. The more you can talk about the issue, the less scary it becomes. It also helps caregivers to know that they don't have to tip-toe around you and can share their insights. And, as long as those insights are not about telling you what they would do (because that should be your decision alone and they should support that) then, you will probably find that these conversations are very helpful to you in processing your own emotions.

member8953 (Survivor (5 - 10 years)) - 09 / 07 / 2011

It was very hard to share with my parents. They live in Florida and I am in New York City. I am also the baby of the family and single. I know they would worry about me a lot and it could effect their health. I never even told them that I found a lump and I was going for tests. Didn't want them to worry if it was nothing. So much for that.

member5155 (Survivor (1 year)) - 09 / 06 / 2011

It was one of the hardest things I have had to do - tell my elderly parents that their daughter had cancer, and an aggressive one to boot.

My Mom lost her sister (my aunt) to breast cancer. My Mom also lost her best friend to ovarian cancer (her friend was 47 when she died) and my Mom's father died of cancer when she was just 2 years of age.

Sadly most of the individuals we have known with a cancer diagnosis have not survived . . . we had more sad stories than survivor stories. My Aunt suffered through chemo (this was back before there were good anti-emetics) and so did my Mom's best friend. So I think that we all thought of cancer as the death sentence it sadly became for my Aunt and for my Mom's dear friend (who was like a second Mom to me).

Fortunately, since those days (my mom's friend's passing in 1991 and my aunt's passing in 1994) early detection and treatment has improved and both my father and me, so far, are cancer survivors (my Dad survived prostate cancer, it was caught early . . and Herceptin became available to early stage breast cancer patients in 2005 . . . so I am pretty grateful for that).

I imagine that all of us who have been diagnosed have known others who have had cancer. So, my story is probably not so different. But, I was so worried for my parents and how my illness would affect them.

How I told them was simply a progression of things: suspicious mammogram, follow up compression mammogram, biopsy, etc. We are a very close knit family and so my immediate family members (except for little ones) were all in the loop, praying and hoping as each test result came back that it would not be our worst fear.

I can not imagine how I would have survived it all with out their support. love and presence in my life.

I wrote about the day that I found out, how my family was and about our experience on that day in my blog. Here is a link to that post in case anyone is interested:
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