How to Tell Your Children that You Have Leukemia; Facebook is Not a Good Idea!

My Crazy Family! (Joe's taking the picture)

It is now February 9, 2011 and I have known that I have leukemia for 24 hours. I am currently checked into the 4 star Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, Ca. The weather is beautiful this time of year and I have an awesome view from my window.

They have a big day planned for me, lots of activities! I wasn’t planning on telling my three children about the leukemia until I had a confirmation from the bone marrow biopsy, but I am a little concerned that I may be feeling so bad by the end of the day that I won’t be able to make the calls. I decide to call my daughter before she goes to work because she doesn’t get off until 6 pm.

My daughter is a treasure, she has suffered much loss in her life and we are extremely close.  She may be 32 years old, but she is still my little girl! I pick up the phone and call her, as always she is excited to hear from me. I tell her that I am still in Palm Springs and in the hospital. I tell her that I am going to be fine, but that I have leukemia. I immediately hear crying, and I tell her again that I am going to be fine. She calms down and begins asking questions and tells me that she is on her way. I manage to convince her to wait a day or two to see what we were facing; I reassure her that Joe is taking great care of me and that I was OK. I told her I loved her, said good bye and burst into tears.  One down, two to go.

My son and his wonderful family!
My son and his family live in Arizona. They are gifts from God, full of life, hope and promise. It is so hard not being closer (in distance) to them. I decide to call my other daughter (in law) and fill her in. She answers the phone saying, “It’s a good thing you called me!” I just read that you have leukemia on Facebook! Ugh! My daughter, asking for prayers, freaked out and scared, looking for support. Sure glad I made phone call number two! I filled her in and told her to tell my son when he got off work. I also told her that I wasn’t planning on telling #3 until he got home from school.

My daughter, youngest son and grandson!
My third and youngest son is a blessing. He and I spent 10 years together. He was my Valentine’s date, my movie goer and my El Jacalito dinner date for years! My cruise buddy and everyday joy. He watched me go through my ovarian tumor “stage” and helped me get back on my feet. How do I tell him that I have leukemia? He is only 17 and has to deal with me being sick again. I am planning on telling him after school, as I should have confirmation on the type of leukemia that I have. If it is CML, like they are thinking, then my prognosis and treatment will be much less scary.

Of course, since this has already been posted on Facebook, and news travels quickly, my youngest son finds out, somehow during school. He gets to worry and wonder until he is able to call me. I felt so incredibly horrible that I was not able to tell him myself, to be able to reassure him that I was going to be OK. What a terrible way to find out that your mother has leukemia. He knew that I had seen Dr. Han the day before and that I was having more tests, so while I am sure that he was not completely shocked, I am sure that he did not expect this any more than I did.

So now I understand just how my mother felt when I told her. When your children hurt, you hurt hundreds of times more. I think that knowing that they are scared and concerned about me is more difficult than dealing with this disease. I am going to be fine, I have to be! I have the most amazing children and grandchildren that a mother could ever hope for and I cherish every moment that I have with them.

Modern technology can be a blessing and a curse. Of course, my daughter quickly realized what she had done, and deleted the post almost immediately, but I guess that a few minutes on Facebook is all it takes! Hence, important information should be reported directly to your family before getting posted on Facebook


  1. fb... and all other social networking ARE a blessing and a curse. i have concern in regards to what "others" write on my wall will reflect back on me! once it is out there, it is there forever. as in you can't take it back.
    i feel for you and the kids in regards to this opps!
    ps) i am finally catching up and balling my eyes out. i love you and thank you for sharing your " so not in my 2011 plan".


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