Community Magazine

CLL: More on to Tell Or Not to Tell

By Bkoffman
The following personal note on whether to share our cancer diagnosis or keeps the battles secret was send by one astute and candid commentator in response to my recent post about George Duke.
This anonymous well written and considered comment deserves to be seen by more than those few readers who always check out the many thoughtful comments from my readers and fellow travelers.
I can so relate to the writer's experience of the pitying looks and the pre-terminal planning that a cancer diagnosis seems to foster.
Here is the comment:
The problem often lies in what you must reveal due to medical appointments. I went through a clinical trial and never missed a day of work except for days when I had infusions. I elected to tell a very small number of people who were in my direct line of reporting so they would understand my need to specify firm dates out of the office. Unfortunately a couple of those people chose to tell others out of "sympathy." Within a few days, I was inundated with cancer doe eyes, the sorrowful misty look one gives when talking about Old Yeller. Needless to say I was irate over my supervisors revealing a personal medical matter. Cancer puts you in the lineup of those due to checkout next. You are denied opportunities, treated as a lesser entity and suffocated by the premature sad news of your demise. I managed to set things straight by doing my job at a high level of productivity, much to the dismay and even annoyance of my family. But you can't show fatigue or you are out of the game. Some people started talking about my retirement, something I neither wanted nor could afford due to health insurance issues. We all have different circumstances and needs, but I would opt for silence.
Thank you to the anonymous writer.
You might also want to read my almost forgotten post from nearly three years ago written when Jill Clayburgh died of her CLL keeping her secret to the very end. So much has changed in those three years, but when I reread my thoughts from back in November 2010, I was pleased to see that I can still relate to what I wrote back then in what was a very different world for those of us with CLL.

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