Someone I know has cancer (wow, now that should be a surprise - us cancer people seem to hang out together a lot). Anyway, he has been dealing with multiple myeloma and it has come back and he has been hospitalized for a few weeks. Mutual friends said 'well why didn't we know this?'. My response was 'maybe he was too focused on being sick and didn't want to keep telling everyone about all his latest ups and downs'. Their reply 'no, that can't be, we should have been told'.
Um, me thinks not. First of all, everyone handles illness differently. And if you are the one with the illness, it is your right to choose not to tell people or maybe you were too sick to tell people and your immediate caregivers were a tad busy caregiving to start emailing and calling. 'Hi, we are between visits in ICU and thought we would start calling everyone to tell you how she's doing. But we really don't know the prognosis and aren't sure what to say but things don't look so good right now.' Yeah, right.
I think the situation is more like 'she's sick again, we told a few people who weren't comfortable sharing someone else's story without knowing more details. And its their story to tell.'
For those people in the world who think they need to be told every one's medical news all the time, cool your jets. Sick people don't really feel like talking on the phone or emailing - and if they are in ICU or something, they just can't. And sometimes they aren't ready to tell their story over and over again.
I will be perfectly honest here I don't tell everything to everyone. My husband knows 99% of my medical crap - I don't tell him the things I forget (see chemo brain kicks in). But no one else does except my doctors and they don't know it all unless they read each other's notes about my visits - and I am not so sure of that part.
I have my blog (yes this blog you are reading) to control how much information I give out. It is my way of being in control of my lovely medical crap. Some things I don't want to talk about, some things I don't need to talk about (do you really care that my cholesterol levels are awesome - in my doctor's words?), some things I am not ready to talk about, and finally some things I am avoiding talking about (like the injections under my knee cap that the very idea of creeps me out and start this week).
So if you didn't know the fine details of someone's medical issues, you can wait until they are ready to tell.
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