One of the most valuable things for me in dealing with my own cancer diagnosis was openly revealing the diagnosis to friends and family and especially industry coworkers.
I discovered there were MANY people before me who had secretly dealt with their own cancers and not said much about it. And many times, their battle and journey sounded far more difficult than my own. I kept telling these other people: “Gosh, I wish you would have said something back when you were going through it or right after. It helps me now to know I'm not alone and that other folks I know well have already been through similar or tougher cancers themselves.”
They told me their story and I told them mine, and together we cried and laughed and learned. I realized that as bad as my diagnosis and surgery and treatment were for me personally (and it was no picnic to be sure), there were other people who had dealt with and gotten through just as bad or maybe worse situations than I had. I became humble around other cancer patients and survivors, especially those who had it worse than I did. I also realized that I had a lot more friends and allies and well-wishers and advocates on my side once I revealed it to them. That made me feel stronger going into it and through it.
Even afterwards, on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and other social media besides this blog, I've decided to mention I'm a cancer survivor in my profiles. Not to boast or brag or give me some sort of "badge" because of going thru it, but if it can help the next person that has to go through it, or if it can show folks I can get through it and get on with my life, that’s good. I actually even get congrats from total strangers now, and even have clients and business partners that say to me, "Seems we have something else in common. Small world."
Share Your Thoughts
What have you learned by opening up about your cancer diagnosis? Share your comments below.