Happy Cancer Girl

A Happy Girls Journey with Cancer

The Hardest Thing I’ve Had to Do

on January 21, 2013

When the doctor said “It’s cancer”, I burst into tears. Once I pulled myself together and Owen and I left the hospital I realized I had to call my family. How do you tell a parent that their daughter has cancer? I decided to call my sister first and our conversation kind of went like this:

Me – So I went to the doctor today.

Rachel – Oh yeah, how did it go?

Me – Well, she told me I have cancer.

Rachel – What?

Me – She told me I have cancer.

Rachel – *tears

Renee – *tears

Rachel – Are you ok?

Renee – Yeah. I had to call you first and test out how to tell mom and dad.

Rachel – Thanks for that.

I have this way of dragging things out and trying to start from the beginning so that people know what’s going on, but usually by the time I get to my point the person is lost in my story. So I thought the best thing to do was just blurt it out. I don’t remember talking to my parents, Owen’s parents or his sisters that day. A part of me felt like I had to hurry and tell people about what was going on, but another part of me didn’t want to tell anyone. Cancer is a strange thing to talk about and I’m generally uncomfortable with crying in front of people.

What I didn’t realize was how bad I would feel when telling people that I have cancer. Almost everyone knows someone who has had cancer and I think people often remember the bad stuff and forget that maybe they too know a surviver. Unfortunately I have a few friends who have lost their parents to cancer and I had to make sure I talked to them before they found out some other way. It was difficult to know how to tell them because I didn’t want to bring up the bad memories and I didn’t want to cause them any more pain then they have already had to deal with.

It is also difficult not telling people, it feels like the elephant in the room to me. Right now cancer is a big part of my life and it’s often something I am thinking about…so it’s hard to be around people and not tell them. I have no reason to not tell people (I do have a blog and have put it out there for the world to read), but sometimes I just don’t know how to bring it up. I have a book club meeting to go to this week and some of the ladies who go are actually friends of mine so they already know, but the rest of the women I only know through book club. I know I have to tell them because in reality I will miss the next meeting because I will be just getting back from the hospital and the meeting after that I will probably be bald. I’m sure it will be awkward but I will be glad to tell them because I’m sure it would be a lot more awkward to show up to a meeting in a few months looking like Mr. Clean!


23 responses to “The Hardest Thing I’ve Had to Do

  1. Marta says:

    Renee, you are a brave brave girl! Thank you for sharing your story. You can do this and we will all be praying for you strength, peace and speedy recovery!

  2. Aunt Sherry says:

    Only you could think of a way to take an awarked situation and turn it into putting a smile on our face’s today and I have no doubt that when that time comes you will handle in much the same way.PS I’m praying that you don’t lose your hair.Have a great day love Aunt Sherry

  3. zcher says:

    Sometimes it is difficult knowing who to tell and who not to tell. Family and friends, of course. But what about people you work with? Will it stall your career? I have been looking for a new job for some time now. I always wonder, is it fraud to take a job where they will insure a cancer patient without their knowledge? Should I tell them I am a cancer survivor? After all, this does say alot about my determination and drive to succeed. I’m never sure what is right. Depending on the type of chemo you have, you may not lose your hair. (I’m not sure about ovarian cancer’s chemo) I didn’t lose all of my hair, it just thinned out significanly and there was a few bald spots. Thankfully my hair is curly so cutting my hair short was able to hide the hair loss for the most part.

    • It’s another one of those things that one would never think they would have to deal with! Gah cancer! As for the hair loss, I’m glad you didn’t lose yours, it is to my understanding that I will…and to be honest I am ok with that, or at least I am right now. When my long hair is gone I will likely shed a tear or two!

  4. Patsy says:

    I remember you telling me this in the car…”I had to tell you but I wasn’t sure how you would react because of your mom and I didn’t want to upset you” All that went through my mind was how unselfish a person you are…here you are trying to ingest this diagnosis and worrying about how others will react.

    Those of us who have lost someone due to cancer (or otherwise) understand how difficult it must be for the person sharing their diagnosis with us. We understand the pain and worry your family is about to go through and we are here to support those who we have left, if the time comes when they have to face such terror.

    I told you that day, and I tell you again – you are a strong woman and you have this. I am always just down the road, and will gladly loan my heavy bag if you need to pound on it.

    We love you, Renee! As far as the hair goes, you’ll be just as beautiful if you lose it and you’ll get to play with wigs! xoxo

    PS: Mama didn’t lose any hair during her chemo.

    • Thanks Patsy. I can’t help but worry about other people, it’s what I do! But everyone has been very kind and you have all made me feel better about telling you and others. I’ve been given a number for a hair stylist in Quispam that apparently makes wigs from your own hair, I haven’t called yet, but it will be interesting to find out!

  5. I think Marta’s comment says it all. Truly inspiring stuff.

    Sending you and your family all my best wishes and a big hug.

  6. Kristin says:

    Hi Renee Just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you girl! I love reading your blog. When I seen that your name was “happycancergirl” I had to smile because it’s true you were always happy and always smiling. What a great attitude you have. You are a tough cookie. Just thought I would let you know! πŸ™‚ Oh and you will look great if you loose your hair. Keep that great positive attitude you have always had it will take you a long way!! πŸ™‚ Thinking of you!

    • Thanks Kristin! I think I will always be a happy person, I just don’t see any other way to live and when I’m not happy I find ways to fix it. We are only given one life so we have to make the best of it while we are here!!

  7. Doug says:

    Renee when you told us that you had cancer and I said that you will be ok and then my second thought was why did this not happen to me instead of you. Renee, you always have kept a positive attitude on life, you are always smiling. As a dad I know that I do not say I love you to you or your sister enough but with out saying the words you know that I do love you and I would take your place.

    • Oh dad, I know you love me and I would never want you to take my place. Your young, but I am younger and because of that and the love of my family I will beat cancer, it has nothing on me! Your words made me cry!! You are the best dad a girl could ever ask for and I’m so grateful that you and mom are here for me!!! I love you too!

      • Megan says:

        OK, I was doing okay reading your post and the replies until I read your father’s response and now I’m shedding a few tears. You and Rachel truly have one of the best Dads out there! You both already know this – but I thought I’d remind you! :o)

      • I know, right! I called him after and told him he made me cry, he told me that if he was going to make me cry he wasn’t going to write anything again! It was just so darn nice!!! πŸ™‚ Best dad ever!

      • Rachel Jean says:

        He really is the best dad two girls could ever ask for. I cried while reading his comment as well. Just know this Renee, you have an amazing father & mother. Possibly the best husband on the face of this earth. (don’t let Owen know I said this) The love of your sister & two little people that think you are the best thing slice bread. And why wouldn’t they? You truly are!! Annnnd we can’t forget about your wonderful fur baby πŸ™‚

        I cried a lot at first, we all know that this is how I cope with emotions. But now I am strong for you. I want to be strong for you. You are always concerned about everyone else around you. For once in your life, let us be concerned about you. We WANT to help you, to be your support system. As you said today “I’m not dying, I want to know what is going on in your life.” This is true, BUT!! For once, don’t let everyone elses problems be yours. This is your time, take it! So when I tell you don’t worry about me, I mean it! I love you so very much, your my one and only sibling. We have grown so close over the years and yes we have had our differences, but that has never changed our sisterly love for one another. I hate that this is happening to you. It down right pisses me off. But I still firmy believe what I say to everyone that says “Oh Rachel .. this is horrible” (which now for some reason makes me angry) I say “She’s got this!” And I’ll say it over and over again!!! Your so beautifuly strong πŸ™‚

        Your one & only little sister xoxo

      • I feel like you guys are in some sort of competition to see who can say the nicest things! Seriously though, thanks Rach. Don’t get upset when people say it is horrible, because that’s how they feel and we can’t begrudge anyone their feelings. Keep in mind though, I want to know what’s going on in your life and everyone else’s because it gives me other things to think about. There is only so much cancer research, blogging and reading that I can do in a day before I start to go a little crazy!

        I am sure that I am the luckiest person around, which may seem like a strange thing to say but I have the best family ever and a truly amazing husband! Love you like a fish loves water! Hahaha a made one!!!! πŸ™‚

  8. Jessica says:

    You’re so brave Renee. I think about you all the time and check for new posts from you daily. I really admire what a positive and strong person you are. You have an awesome family backing you and thoughts and prayers coming from all your friends. Miss you, and in the words of Dave, where my chicken dinner!? xo

    • Thank you Jess, that means a lot to me! I wish I would have given Dave that chicken dinner before you left! If you guys ever come back I will have a chicken dinner for you…with all the essentials of course!!

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