As I began to think of people that I needed to inform, other than immediate family, I became a little overwhelmed. You just don’t realise how many people you get to know in your lifetime. There is also the matter of how people should be told. Who needs a face to face, who will be happy with a telephone call and who on Facebook needs a personal message before I announce my illness via a Facebook wall post. Yes, this is what the world has come too. It may sound silly, but I didn’t want to offend anyone by telling them in the incorrect manner.
Firstly, I started with close friends and work colleagues. Where I could I informed these people face to face. Some co-workers were informed via telephone and a conference call. There is one thing I have learnt about communicating news such as this…..there is now easy way to do it. Dragging it out just makes matters worse.
I am lucky and forever grateful to work at a very supportive workplace. The managers put together a small meeting with the people that I have worked with the longest to allow me to inform them face to face. During the lead up to this meeting I was confident and ready to give as much detail as I could. I would talk about my diagnosis, the prognosis, treatments and how I am remaining positive. But once I stood up in front of the nearly 30 people I started to sweat and shake. I delivered a broken, mixed speech which was nothing like I had rehearsed. I informed them of my illness, the prognoses and what my future plans were. There was plenty of shocked faces, some people had to leave the room to regain their composure. Once everything was said the group had a chance to chat with me and ask questions. These people are the salt of the earth and gave me real hope for the future as well as ensuring that I had whatever support they could offer. I will never be able to truly thank these people enough.
Thankfully my parents stood in to inform all other family members such as uncles, aunties and cousins. This was a huge help as I was not up to making that many phone calls. Other friends and members of my old CFA Brigade were informed via email and Facebook. I played with the whole announcing my illness on Facebook idea for a bit. I wasn’t sure that I was ready for the whole world to know about it. When thinking about the messages that I would be conveying, it dawned on me that bowel cancer is not talked about frequently. This could be an opportunity for others to learn from my journey, to have a reminder to get checked regularly and listen to what their bodies are telling them. This is why I decided to be as public as possible about my journey. I received a huge response on Facebook with so many people providing messages of hope and encouragement.
So my little world now knew I had cancer. Communication can sometimes be tricky and I’m sure there is people that I have not informed correctly. But, you do the best with what you have at the time.