Telling People You Have Cancer Sucks…

…but telling people you have cancer again is even worse.

Right after I heard about the mass in my lung, I thought about how you deliver news like this. It feels like tossing a rock into a pond, and watching the concentric circles. I always thought there were four “circles of informing”:

The Rock: That’s me, walking out with the news.

  • Circle 1: Charlie.
  • Circle 2: People I’m so close to that I’m willing to let them wait out the week or longer it takes to get information about the type of cancer or, more important, the severity. For me, this is a very small group.
  • Circle 3: People I consider close enough friends–people I talk to about some set of things that really matter to me but who I feel wouldn’t get weirded out by such a personal thing as a cancer diagnosis–that I feel like they shouldn’t hear about this for the first time on Twitter or Facebook. This is still a fairly small group of people.
  • Circle 4: Speaking about the situation on Twitter and Facebook.


This time around, I discovered a new circle I’d never imagined before. I’ll call it Circle 1a: People I’m so very close to that I’m willing to let them sit 24 hours with the (incorrect) words from the doctor who performed the biopsy: “I saw no tumor cells.” It was a terrible place to be for those 24 hours, struggling to remain appropriately skeptical of his words and deciding who we could possibly tell something like that. We ended up telling almost no one.

For me at least, telling people you care about that you have cancer, especially serious cancer, is far worse than hearing it yourself or having your lung punctured twice by a huge needle. In my old blog, I combined similar words with a recommendation and I’ll do that again.

Read Anticancer. It’s a book by a doctor who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer who set out to better understand how our diet and mental state–our terrain–can contribute to disease or health. He says right up front that everything in the book is based on studies and that nothing in the book is intended to in any way replace appropriate medical treatment. He’s not a quack and his recommendations are both sensible and convincing.


I guarantee reading Anticancer is easier than telling your spouse you have cancer. Even following the lifestyle changes he recommends is easier than telling everyone you love that you have cancer. I can say from personal experience it’s easier than cancer treatments, too. So make the changes: it’s worth it.

Moving Forward


So why this particular image at the end of a post like this? The post probably reads like I’m stepping into darkness not out of it, and some moments of the past few weeks felt like it too. I’m not though: I’m fine. In fact, I’m more than fine.

I’m sure I’ll blog more about this down the road, but I learned so much about life and myself in 2012 and the years since. I wouldn’t trade the person I am now for the person I was then. I can only imagine how much I’m going to learn in the next few months. So I’ll end this blog post the way I started up my cancer blog the first time around: let’s get started on the next adventure.

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