The space between “happy” and a hot mess

I tend to be an over-sharer.  You should be warned of this early, and probably often, because really, that’s what I think I’ll be doing here, so in spite of the fact that I don’t have a lot of more news, I’ve been going through my list of people who I think will want to know about my diagnosis from me, and who I think need to hear my voice and understand that I’m OK.

Note, I did not say I’m happy, or terrific, or thrilled with any of this, but I am OK, when everyone seems to expect a hot mess, and to be honest, I’m starting to resent it a tiny bit.

Just now, a friend asked me, “I’m in shock, but you seem OK. How can you be OK?” I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, I don’t think that the alternative is worth considering.

My family is freaked out enough. My friends are freaked out. My colleagues, various degrees of freaked out. But my role in MANY of their lives for a good long time has been the calm in the storm.  As people get more stressed and frantic, somehow it allows me to tap in to my own inner calm.

I’m sure at some points in the coming months I will go through various stages of grief. I promise that I’m not currently in denial.  I don’t know that I’ve fully skipped to acceptance, but I’m also not yet angry, bargaining or depressed. As I go through treatment, I’m sure I’ll hit a mix of them all, but until I know what’s next I’m reserving judgement, and trying to focus ahead on what’s next.

The other thing I feel as I have these conversations is incredibly selfish.  The reason I’m telling people now, is that I will be talking openly, because I don’t feel like this is something that I should hide.  I’m not embarrassed. I haven’t done anything wrong.  But I feel like I’m pulling people aside and dropping bombs on them.  And I may be over-playing my importance in their lives, but they are all people who I feel like should hear these things from me, and I feel like I’m disrupting their thoughts, even their prayers, when there’s nothing that they can do.  I drop my little bomb, and then I move on, trying to show, not tell, how you continue to have a normal life with an unknown cloud over your head.  But I’ve left a little bit of that cloud with others, which sucks.  And perhaps I’m not being entirely fair to myself, but that’s another thing that you should also be prepared for me to do.

So knowing that, I’m trying to find the right balance.  Since there is a good chance that pre-menopausal breast cancer has a genetic link, I’ve informed those who share my genes.  And knowing that I’m going to be in and out of work a lot, I’m letting folks there know as well.

I was just on a conference call, and someone said, “Prepare to get uncomfortable.” Perhaps that’s where I need to start this conversation, since other than “OK,” uncomfortable is the spot along the continuum of happy and hot mess that I am right now.

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