Coming out with Cancer; The C Word

I have breast cancer. Saying it, writing it, thinking it is shocking, awkward and difficult. I know the person receiving this information feels much the same. The purpose of this story is not to explain who I chose to tell but to bring attention to the simple fact that I had a hard time saying, “I have cancer”. I also want to tell you the reactions and the responses that gave me peace. Responses that let me know I wasn’t alone.

Telling my family was extremely difficult. It was Christmas and we had a house full of the very people whose experience with cancer was all to recent; my brother. Holidays are a bittersweet reminder that my brother is no longer with us. We chose to not say anything about the diagnosis till after the holidays. It was difficult, and at times I would have to exit the room with a lame excuse, but I can say it was one of the best holidays we’ve had. Somehow peace and relaxation overcame us all and what’s usually a hectic time had us all day, out back on the porch….just being. Together.

Telling my closest friends was of course hard. I overthought every aspect. Primarily to make it more comfortable for the receiver….I don’t know why…in my mind I “acted” it out. How should I say it; phone, text, in person. In fact I couldn’t say the “C” word. I found myself saying things like, “my biopsy wasn’t good,” or “Im having a mastectomy” anything but that ugly ”C” word. How will they react? How will I react. I didn’t want to cry…I was tired of crying…but I always cried.

With each “cancer reveal” I found myself drained emotionally and physically. I needed a 2-3 day reprieve between each “outing”.

One friend in particular I really wanted to tell in person, she was out of town with family…but that back-fired as on Christmas Day I sent her a text asking her, “How was your Cancer”….Freudian slip? Another friend, just instinctively knew.

It’s been 3 months since I was diagnosed and every day there is a friend who is just finding out. It’s not like I could send out a mass mailing or post on local news…imagine telling a yoga friend just before shavasana…there is just never the right time.

Good news is each time got a bit easier. Easier because of the loving responses, and sure I got some crazy, odd, and even dismissive responses but I have to credit most of that to the shocking and awkwardness of adding “cancer” to a conversation.

Hopefully cancer does not find your conversation in the near future but unfortunately it will and when it does I want you to know the memorable responses that gave me peace:

Extra-long hugs. A loving look. Reminding me of my strength. Assuring you will be by my side. Holding my hand. A jest that cancer has already met it’s match. Your continuing encouragement. Constant “checking-in”. Most importantly “thoughts & Prayers” as told hundreds of times and I felt loved each time. Such power in thought and prayer. It’s working my friends!

8 thoughts on “Coming out with Cancer; The C Word

  1. I only wish I could be as strong and courageous as you are! I admire your strength and positivity! You inspire not only me….but everyone around you! Love you Lisa ❤️🤗


  2. Sometimes there are no words that can right a wrong, câncer is not and will never be right or easy to share the news about OR receive. But your optimism and positive attitude, along with all the prayers, hugs and well wishes we can send – I hope – can carry you through the difficult days. Rejoicing for the good news and your recovery. Amazed and proud by your strength!. Loving you from afar, wish I was closer!


  3. I’m happy we had great holidays. I love you auntie. And I’m happy you came out of the closet ❤❤ be proud of who you are and accept and celebrate who you become. You’re the best 🌹🌹🌹


  4. Holy crap, woman! I had no idea. I am so sorry you’re battling this but I know you are one tough, tenacious warrior and you will kick “the c word’s” butt.

    Remember when we got our pregnant bellies painted and you were all cute and rotund (ONLY your belly, dang you anyway 😜) and I was just bleh—squishy and wide, but not very round yet?! Yours was a chili pepper for the hot mama you are. You’ve got this. I wish I was there to give you a coronavirus elbow high five in person.

    You are beautiful inside and out. Be strong, girlfriend. Love you! ❤️


    1. How can I forget! It was so fun being pregnant with you. Elbow high-fives and marshmallow hugs to you my friend! Love you too!


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