When it comes to telling someone you have cancer, we at AJ’s
Wigs have learned the best thing not to do is to beat around the bush. Tell
them Straight out. People are going to react in different ways, so sometimes
you might have to “dance around” the subject. But in general, be forthright and
Some things to consider, is to think about the person you’re
addressing. If this is someone close to you, someone who loves you, or at least
someone you know, you have to be sensitive as to how this knowledge will affect
them. Think about the personality of the person you’re telling, and where you
are at the time you want to tell that person. If it’s your very emotional
sister-in-law, for example, try to tell her in a quiet and private place where
she can express her emotions. If it’s your matter-of-fact workout partner or
golfing buddy, you can probably choose any old place. As far as your husband,
mother, father or children, do it at home where they can ask you questions and
you can give them the information they need to support you.
One of the most important things to consider when you first
tell people, is that by this process, you are creating your support system,
your team or your fellow travelers on this new life journey. Tell people not
only on a “need to know” basis, but a “want to know” basis. Your friends and family,
Boss and some of your work colleagues will probably need and want to know. Your
letter carrier probably doesn’t. Always tell your hair stylist as he or she has
traveled many paths with you and can actually prepare your hair. Maybe a
shorter cut so when you have to shave your head, it's not so traumatic.
Above all, follow your gut. Tell the people you want to tell. Be direct. It works most of the time. Now, as for some mistakes people make when announcing that they have cancer, is that you can tell too many people in the beginning. When this happens, people start to overwhelm you asking how you are doing. ALL THE TIME. You can have a wonderful family loving caring friends, all who care deeply, but the constant asking “How are you feeling today” can be exhausting.
One thing we strongly suggest here at AJ’s Wigs, is to create a Facebook page just to update your status on a daily or weekly basis, or, look into other site’s as there are many sites available to share your journey... (It is okay to say I am fine but I have to update so many people you can follow me by going to Facebook for updates)... I was talking to Robert Cook, AJ’s Wigs owner who stated that his biggest mistake was when well-meaning people would call him and check to see how he was doing too often. He would shut down emotionally, just like he did when he first heard the words exit the lips of his doctor, “You have cancer”.
Be prepared for all sorts of emotions from your family, from panic, to crying, to calmness. Yes, calmness. Recently, a client was telling us that her family was calm when she sat them down and told them, almost to the point that “It ticked her off”. “It made her mad”. In One aspect, she said she was glad that she didn’t have to deal with their raw emotions, but on the other hand, their calmness made her wonder if they cared. About an hour later, she found her husband, (who had disappeared), outside in the barn hysterically crying his eyes out and screaming to god “Don't take her from me please, god please”. When she asked why he was so calm when she first told them, he said “I was calm because at that point in time, your emotions were more important than mine could ever be”.
I cannot stress enough that having cancer is a journey, sometimes short, sometimes long, and you will need to surround yourself with a strong support system. In telling your family, they will always be there for you, start there. Second, tell your hair stylist, third, tell your close friends, fourth, set up your Facebook or information page so they can follow your journey without bugging you constantly. And then start with your boss, coworkers, close friends etc. Just like you need your family to be strong for you, they will need you to be strong and informed for them as well.