Thursday, November 14, 2013

Do You Tell People About Your Leukemia?

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. 


  1. Hi, As you already know my name is Marty. I always end any of my posts with the numbers 18. So now you know exactly who I am...

    It all depends on who your telling that you have Leukemia. I have personally found that some people may not be so understanding as you might think. Some will even try to avoid you because they think that may "catch" it from you. There was a time after my bone marrow transplant when I had to return to the hospital. I had to wear a mask and gloves. I was so weak that I couldn't even open those heavy glass doors to enter the hospital. Most people would try and avoid me and would not open or hold those doors open for me but rather scurry away from me.

    Some of my so called friends wanted little to do with me, although some were still very involved with me. So, that is why you have to know exactly who you might want to tell it too.



  2. Marty,
    I think that that is disgusting! and a horrible show of how cruel mankind can be! I guess I will just keep telling everyone then, as if they are going to turn into one of "those" friends, then I want to know sooner, rather than later.
    You and I certainly do not need friends like that!

    Blessings to you,


Bricks for the Brave!!