Don't Overshare Your Cancer Journey

     When faced with cancer and all of the stress and tough decisions that come along with a diagnosis, you want to know what family and friends think, but too much input can be harmful and influence you against your own beliefs and in some situations shame you or make you feel unworthy of the decision making process.  Sharing all of the details in your medical life may feel empowering and a way of releasing stress and worry, but you might be oversharing. Sometimes it is hard to know if what you are sharing is enough or too much.         

     Take stock of the people in your life that you are the most open with about your cancer and your personal life.  Who are they?  Your siblings, parents, coworkers, friends?  When you talk to them about your choices and ask them about whether to do chemotherapy or radiation, to remove one or both breasts, to seek alternative medicines and treatments, are they really supporting you or do they have their own agenda?  If you have someone that is always argumentative, won't listen and gives you advice that doesn't align with your treatment or beliefs, you really don't have their support.  Support from your inner circle should include listening without judgement and respecting your decisions.

     As a person dealing with any stage of cancer, it is alright to choose a couple people in your life that you trust and that support you unconditionally.  Stop telling everyone your business, especially if it incites arguments or negativity.  If you constantly bump up against the same reaction from someone, you are oversharing and you need to take a different approach with them.  If someone that is not supporting you asks how you are doing, tell them you are trying to get some space from always talking about your cancer and change the subject.  You don't have to tell everyone your business.

     If you need someone outside your inner circle of friends and family to listen to your dilemmas with treatment, your fear of side effects or you just want to get it all out, find a cancer center in your area.  It is so freeing to voice your concerns with other people that know exactly what you are going through.  Sitting in a room with other people in varying stages of their cancer can be so enlightening and comforting. 

     When I was in the middle of breast cancer treatment, I realized that only a handful of people were there for me all the time and I could rely on them and share my journey without fear of criticism.  I bumped up against several other people that did not agree with my choice to do chemotherapy and actually told me that it would kill me.  They got dumped out of my inner circle and I remained polite with them, but no longer talked about my cancer in detail.  Do you have someone that is not supporting you, but you keep telling them everything?  You don't have to do that.  Stop oversharing with those that are not supportive. Choose to keep yourself in a place that is filled with positive people that reflect back love, kindness and understanding. You deserve that.