Monday, May 2, 2016

Being Open About Cancer

Here's a question: how open are you about your cancer diagnosis? I realize this is a matter of choice. I think of myself as being fairly open about talking about my cancers, but it took me until my second diagnosis to learn to talk openly about it. But I never mention it with  new people unless I am in a cancer 'situation' such as at a cancer patient event.

I think learning to talk to your cancer diagnosis is part of learning to accept it. (Remember those five stages of acceptance???) But as a result of seeing friends run for the hills at the word 'cancer', many of us learn to keep quiet about it.

Last week, my husband and I came to the realization that our lawn is not going to mow itself and we need a new lawn mower. I started doing some research and shopping online to get some ideas of what we want/need.

I decided if I am going to be able to do anything about mowing the lawn, it has to be easy to use. Self propelled is a must for both of us - our lawn is on a hill. An electric start means I could actually start it myself. There are many things I cannot do around the house because of my health so if there is a possibility I could help with anything, I try to make it possible.

So I started doing my research and looking for what is available with the features we want vs. the ones we can afford and found this in a real Troy Built mower review at Lowes:

"I used to use a Troy Built push mower, but when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and started chemo, I began to lose the strength I needed to do my entire lawn with my push mower.
I decided to buy the Troy Built electric start self propelled mower.
Just let me say, I can now mow my entire lawn with strength to spare"

I was quite taken aback by this. I mean how many people would include their cancer diagnosis in a lawn mower review? If I had written it, I would probably have said "but when I was diagnosed with significant health issues and its treatment caused me to lose strength...." or something along those lines.

Anyway, I brought this up with a group of friends with cancer and asked them how open they are about their cancer diagnosis and what they think of this guy putting it in a lawn mower review. There were some snickers and then we decided:
  1. None of us would have ever put their cancer diagnosis in a product review, much less a lawn mower one.
  2. It must partly be due to the fact that it was a man who was probably less sensitive on his medical issues. (Not to be sexist but men tend to be more open and less concerned with the responses to what they say than women.)
We did agree that it really depends on the situation and who we are with on how open we might be. But how open are you about your cancer diagnosis?

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