Since I am fortunate enough not to have to go to work every day, I do not have to be concerned whether or not my cancer will affect my job, or my co-workers’ opinions, as to whether or not my cancer might affect my performance, while at work.
I do however, run into a great many groups of people, with whom I have conversations, while I am dancing. This coupled with the fact that we recently relocated from California, to the very friendly state of Idaho, has put me in the position of wondering; when is the right time to tell people that I have leukemia?
For those of you that know me personally; you know that I am a pretty darn open book. Things fly out of my mouth quickly, sometimes without even thinking. Part of this is due to my openness, and part is do to the fact that if I do not speak what is on my mind, at that precise moment, it may be forever lost in the confines of what used to be, a very sharp brain! I know that some of this is age, but I prefer to blame most of it on the chemo! I went quickly from "some-timers" to "most-timers" and it totally sucks!
Anyway, back to the topic of "when" you tell someone that you have cancer:
I really cannot answer that question, and I am sure that many have found out about my CML in a rather abrupt and shocking manner, like asking the simple question; “Hey, how are you? I haven't seen you in ages,” and my response being; “Yeah, damn Leukemia got the best of me for the past few weeks.” Of course I am not looking for sympathy, I am simply stating the fact that I have cancer; in a less than tactful manner; sorry 'bout that! So needless to say, telling someone about my cancer, may not necessarily be a mapped out plan, but one more of spontaneity.I suppose that I feel if I deliver the news in a haphazard manner, then the truth will not seem as dire.
I hope that my openness will allow people to realize that despite the fact that I do have leukemia, I am still the same person that I always was. I still have the same wishes, hopes and dreams despite being a little more challenged, while accomplishing them. I used to be able to get up and go at the drop of a hat, but now I have to make plans, and hope that I feel well enough to keep them.
I hope that by people knowing that I have leukemia they will feel comfortable asking me questions and realize that cancer should not be a big taboo subject; it is something that can happen to anyone, at any time. Being open about my cancer has allowed me to help others; it also allows people to see that just because a person has cancer, it does not necessarily mean that they are dying; instead, they are living, to the best of their ability, with cancer.