Something I have yet to figure out is when (and how) to tell someone I have cancer. It’s weird right? Think about it for a second.
I’m overly open about almost every aspect of my life and I can be a notorious over-sharer (example: this blog 😉). Personal boundaries aren’t really a thing for me, so I think I struggle with this topic even more than the “average” cancer patient.
When meeting new people, it feels like such a bomb to drop on someone. “Hi, I’m Hailey and I have Cancer” seems like such a rough introduction. We’ve had a couple new hires at work recently, so this part is especially top of mind. It’s not that I care that they know, I just don’t have a non abrupt way of talking about it.
Then, there’s the other side of the coin — reconnecting with people I haven’t talked to in awhile. I often have a hard time answering the “so, what’s new?!” question. Like, do you really wanna know? Are you suuure?! Or are you just making small talk? Cause there is a lot to unpack there. Oh, you have a new boyfriend? That’s cool. Well, I have cancer.
I think one of the reasons it feels so weird to me is that I don’t want people to treat me differently because I have cancer — as cliche as that sounds. I’ll go ahead and say what every cancer patient probably says: I don’t want cancer to define me. And it shouldn’t. I much more than my diagnosis. But at the same time, it’s sort of the center of my world right now (and frankly, it has to be). It has an impact on so many pieces of my life: my career, my family, my relationship, etc.
I think there are several reasons I’m so eager (anxious??) to share my story.
One: I’m damn proud of myself. I’ve got a lot going on in this brain (and body) of mine and unless I told you, you probably wouldn’t know otherwise.
Two: I’m sort of a living/breathing science experiment and that’s pretty exciting. There’s all sorts of things happening that I’m just beginning to understand and I want to share with people to help spread awareness of this disease and fund future research for treatment options.
Three: It just explains so much. It explains why I’m so damn tired at the end of the day. It explains why I randomly have to lay down or excuse myself because I have a case of the surprise barfs. It explains why my schedule is a nightmare and out of my control because I have treatment, doctor’s appointments, scans and bloodwork. It explains my (probably) inappropriate cancer jokes. And it explains why so few things seem to bother me anymore because my perspective is like none other.
I’m looking forward to the day when cancer isn’t the focal point of my life. I imagine it will be for quite some time, so just like all these other things, this is another thing I’ll have to figure out how to tackle.