Monday, August 4, 2008

Who you gonna tell?

So the other day my boyfriend and I are in my apartment entertaining my aunt and cousins, and they see a poster that I happened to receive at the Fox Chase In Our Shoes event. My aunt says, "That's a great poster, where'd you get it?" I was about to blurt out "Oh, Fox Chase at this BRCA event" but then I realized... SHE DOESN'T KNOW. And I don't exactly WANT her to know either. So I said something about an event that was for women at high-risk for cancer, thinking that sounded like anyone, and she didn't question it. My boyfriend on the other hand started to press the issue... saying something about how I got it free because I was speaking at the event... TMI.

So it got me wondering... why NOT tell my aunt? I mean I've got this friggin blog out there for all the Internet and their moms to see, and I won't even tell some of my own family members? I didn't tell my grandparents either. My immediate answer is that they're very prying people, and I don't necessarily want to explain it to them. Also, it might freak my grandparents out... they're old and decrepit and have their own health problems to worry about. So i'm protecting them, maybe even protecting myself from having to explain the whole thing. Saving my own breath. Maybe not the best reason, but my reason nonetheless for the time being.

I think the issue of who to tell is a hard one. If you want to be an activist, you're going to have to tell people. You're making the news public so you can encourage the public to care (which I'm all for, they totally should). But you have to be ready for what that means for you.

And then there are some people you have to tell for the good of your relationship with them. Your husband or serious significant other, for instance. Your parents, probably. Maybe your best friend? You want the support of these people, so you should let them in.

But I think it's ok to keep it a secret from some others. I don't think i'm a bad person... maybe a little bit selfish, but it's where I am right now and I understand that and I'm at peace with it.

Oh... and on the issue of writing a blog, I'm here to connect with others who might share some of my sentiments. Not to publish personal information. And I'd like to think this is a little bit anonymous... I mean I'm not posting pictures of myself (YET) or giving out my address.

What do YOU think?


Lil Sass said...

Oy! It is definitely your business to tell when you're good 'n ready. I couldn't get away with not telling my family since it was a discussion point amongst us for so long. However, my cousin who is your age didn't want to tell people yet. My aunt (her mom) told me and I didn't know I wasn't supposed to know!! So my jerkface let that one outta the bag. When you're good and ready my dear.

I have learned it's brought my family closer but you do what works for you.

Anonymous said...

Who you gonna tell? Whoever it feels right to tell at that moment -- and with just the information that you feel comfortable sharing.
The least revealing answer to your aunt's question would be the poster comes from Lululemon, a great yoga store in Center City. I had gotten one for myself in Colorado ages ago and have it up in my office. I thought it would be great for everyone to have at the In Your Shoes event and the Philly store was generous enough to give me posters for everyone who attended.

Sometimes it has to be the right time to share. I have a friend who I have known for a long time. I knew she had had breast cancer a long time ago and never talked about it. When I started working at Fox Chase, she would come to visit me in my office sometimes -- eventually she shared her story about being BRCA positive. I invited her daughters to come to the In Your Shoes event but they couldn't attend. We went out to dinner last night with two other good friends. They all knew I had been really busy lately preparing for the In Your Shoes evening and asked me how it went. I told them all about it -- never mentioning that I knew one of them was BRCA positive. When I finished talking, she told her story to the others and asked me how to get in touch with FORCE. So, the moment has to be right -- and it has to be people you feel you can trust.
Thank you for feeling you could trust all of us to share the gift of your story the other night.
Enjoy the poster!