If you are a lung cancer patient or survivor who is getting periodic scans, you are guaranteed to have news from time to time. How do you share the news? Who do you share it with? What about bad news versus good news - does that affect how you share your scan results and other news?
As a person who is active on social media, I’ve discovered that I need a news dissemination policy that I hold to whether the news is good or bad. My tendency would be to walk out of the doctor’s office, bring Facebook up on my phone, and blurt out what I just learned. That tends to hurt the feelings of my family and closest friends, however, who prefer that I tell them first before I tell the world. They don’t want to hear my news second hand on Facebook or from someone else, they want to hear from me. This is an easy preference to accommodate; the world is not going to crawl to a stop if that Facebook post waits a day or two until after I’ve made my phone calls.
Parents, siblings, and a few of my closest friends are told by telephone, as soon as possible after I have concluded my consultation. These people who know me so well need to hear my voice, so that they can judge how I am feeling and better offer comfort if it is needed that day. We drive past the city where my mother lives on our way home from Roswell, and when the news has been not so good, we will stop by Mom’s to share a cup of tea and talk with her face-to-face. As a mom myself, I can put myself in her shoes and understand that her emotional connection to me is deep.
I tell my kids by text and instant message, because that’s how they roll. My daughter and I have communicated primarily by instant message for a decade now, and we can accurately judge emotional tone from our messages to each other. Plus they are both at work but still want the news as soon as possible, and texts are the least intrusive way to let them know.
After family and close friends know, my next post is to Facebook. After that one, I post to a few selected patient support sites, including this one. On the support sites, my experiences become part of the accumulated knowledge of many lung cancer patients and survivors, one more data point helping those who are on the same treatment that I am on and those who will follow me. I have learned so much from other people’s experiences, sharing mine are a way to say “thank you” to our generous lung cancer support community.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned as I’ve reported my medical news through the ups and downs of my treatments is that my family, friends, and social media readers want to hear a glimmer of hope from me as deeply as I want to hear hope in my doctor’s words. Even when I have been unhappy about the news I must report, making those phone calls is my first step toward putting new developments into perspective. I’m not only putting the best face possible on whatever I have just learned about my illness, I’m also gathering my strength for the changes that lie ahead.
How do you share news with your loved ones? Do you also find yourself trying to find the glimmer of hope that they need as badly as you do?
Photo credit: Pixabay picture by manseok, CC0 Public Domain