Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Awkwardness of Talking About Being a Previvor

Previvor:  A previvor is a survivor of a predisposition to cancer. 

I found out from reading FORCE website that I am a Previvor.  Well, I could be a previvor or a cancer patient because although the surgeon doesn't think the cells are cancerous yet, she's not sure.  And she can't be sure unless I have at least a lumpectomy.  So for now I'm identifying myself as a previvor.

Mother's Day starts off the year as our first motorcycle club event.  An Ice Cream Social in a park.  We ride there, catch up with the members that we haven't seen all winter, eat some melty ice cream and spend time outside.  I look forward to it each year.

This year was different.  I chose to ride with Pete instead of on my own bike.  Our chapter purposely arrived early and had our chapter meeting.  From the first minute I told Pete that I didn't want to be there.  I was having an emotional day already, the lack of good sleep was getting to me and I felt like a fraud to be sitting there enjoying this when I have this big secret.

I've said it before, it's an awkward situation to have someone ask how you're doing and somehow transition that to I might have cancer and I'm having major surgery.  When someone asks you how you're doing, they expect you to say "good", "great!", "hanging in there" or something similar.  No one expects you to say that you might have cancer.  So how in the world do you transition to that?  There really is no good way.

Part of me wants people to know, but I also don't want it to be a major discussion each time I say something or dominate the conversation or event.  It's also a strange and hard to follow conversation when you say that you might have cancer, you have several risk factors and therefore you're having radical surgery.  The equation often times doesn't add up for people.  Who would consider having radical surgery to prevent cancer?  I've explained it several times to close friends and family members and I can see in their eyes that they don't understand it, even though they say that they do. 

So I went into this day cold (it was only in the 50's and windy), not wanting to be there and very emotional.  Pete (if I was thankful for him before, I am even more so now) pulled a couple of friends aside and told them what was happening.  I was so thankful for that.  I didn't have to blurt it out and they could express care and concern and ask me about it.  We ended up having dinner together and talked about it more.  One thing that is clear is that the people in my life might not totally understand, but they do care and love me.

1 comment:

  1. I can imagine it must be hard to know what to say to people, but I'm sure it will get easier the more you do it. I'm sure people are confused but you are right, they care for you and love you, and that's what matters in the end. I imagine, as with all "situations" we find ourselves in...some friends will surprise you, either way (some step up, some surprise you in a negative way). I imagine blogging about it must help to some extent!