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Starting Chemo Monday, Need Some Advice


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I’d like your thoughts about something. Last November I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. To date, I have no outward symptoms. I feel great and, in fact, Friday I went for an 8 1/2 -mile hike in the Sierra.

 

But the leukemia has progressed to the point where I will start chemo on Monday. The success rate for this particular brand of cancer is very good and I’m not too worried about it. My basic life philosophy is that yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn’t here yet. I have no control over some things, so I will just take them as they come.

 

But I am very private about my health. I never tell anyone when I’m sick, and the only people that know about the leukemia are the immediate family and three of my wife’s closest friends. She just has to have others to lean on and these three are good for that. Fortunately, these three people do not know any of our other friends, and two of them live hundreds of miles away, so no one else knows.

 

I’d prefer to keep it that way. First, I don’t want Jesus to be brought into the discussion. I can handle that when it does come up. I’ve already had two people say they would pray for me. I politely thanked them for their concern and suggested that the most useful thing they could do would be to vote for politicians who support stem-cell research. While I got no response to that, the context didn’t call for one. (Perhaps I shouldn’t say that.)

 

Second, I just do not want people looking at me any differently than they always have. I don’t want them asking, “How are you?” with that hand-on-your-shoulder tone of voice. I appreciate that others care, but I just want to deal with this by myself.

 

So now that I’m starting chemo, I have no idea how it will go. I could feel minimal side effects and continue on with life as though nothing much happened. Or I could be sidelined for a while. I will be on two-week quarantine after Monday to see how I react to the drugs.

 

I have almost zero social circle here in town; all my friends are out of the area and we communicate by email and at semi-annual events, so I don’t have to worry much about avoiding people.

 

But the question I have for you is this: if you had an acquaintance in my position and he didn’t tell you about his condition, would you be offended or hurt? I use the word “acquaintance” because, while I have friends, I really don’t have any bosom buddies. My family is who is closest to me.

 

So would you tell or keep silent?

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But I am very private about my health. I never tell anyone when I’m sick, and the only people that know about the leukemia are the immediate family and three of my wife’s closest friends.

 

Second, I just do not want people looking at me any differently than they always have. I don’t want them asking, “How are you?” with that hand-on-your-shoulder tone of voice. I appreciate that others care, but I just want to deal with this by myself.

 

if you had an acquaintance in my position and he didn’t tell you about his condition, would you be offended or hurt? I use the word “acquaintance” because, while I have friends, I really don’t have any bosom buddies. My family is who is closest to me.

 

So would you tell or keep silent?

 

Hi older! First I'd like to say what a wonderful attitude you have dealing with this leukemia. Sounds like you are rational about this and ready to face whatever is front of you. Good luck my friend.

 

I think you have already answered your own question. I have 'bold-ed' your above statements.

 

If acquaintance's eventually tell you that you have hurt them, by not telling them of your sickness - you can explain simply what you have said above.

I think that this is an individuals choice. If they are hurt by this (this is my opinion only) I would compassionately tell them that was not your intent.

 

If this is personal to you, then let it remain personal. It's sounds like you have told the most important people.

 

Again - the very best of luck!

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That's a tough one. My husband had testicular cancer and radiation. He didn't mind telling anybody. I have problems with sharing my health issues with people like you do though. It's so hard to deal with constant inquiry. However, some people probably need to know, like your boss, for example. I am not sure what I would do in your situation.

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Hello. First let me wish you a positive outcome. I'd say go with your gut and not tell anyone. Don't know if the treatment will make your hair fall out or not, but that might make some part in my decision to tell people, if I had to actually meet them. That way, they aren't freaking out and making it worse.

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Hello. First let me wish you a positive outcome. I'd say go with your gut and not tell anyone. Don't know if the treatment will make your hair fall out or not, but that might make some part in my decision to tell people, if I had to actually meet them. That way, they aren't freaking out and making it worse.

 

I think this is excellent advice. Keep things to yourself as much as you wish. But consider the impact that will have on your privacy should it become obvious that you are going through chemo and people who know you see you and are surprised. Your desire for privacy just might be advanced further if you spill the beans and tell those who are likely to see you during the treatments.

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older,

 

Just happens that Friday last week She and I got to come home from a months away from home.

 

After a six year wait, dialysis and the wear and tear mentally and physically kidney that matched my profile came available. Modern medicine, not laying on of hands, prayer of whatever religious gloppity goopage conspired to get me back to this new lease on life.

 

Best advise I'll offer seems to be what you are doing now. Try not to let things stress you any more than they might. Look forward to the victories that come day by day when you can get up, whizz, eat, and not have to worry about having someone with you to help those daily chores.

 

You've got the attitude necessary already. Stay as positive as possible, keep in contact with the folks in this Community who you've learned to like/trust/share with. In other things be as open as you care to in the open and public.

 

Eat well. Drink well, enjoy every single waking minute as you can and might. Sounds like this curveball that life has pitched at you is something that hasn't struck you out.

The Game? Well, it is always rigged, no one gets out alive. The Big However is that we indeed get to choose how much of it we can enjoy with whatever time we may have.

 

I admire that you've cared to open up and let us "in" some. Even if the best we may offer are good words and offers of "whatever may be needed", those are given honestly, WILL be fulfilled.

 

I don't believe in "luck". Will wish good Fortune in this new set of adventures.

 

We're here to listen.

 

kevinL

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Most of my health issues I have (none as serious as cancer, but migraines are still a bitch) are on a need to know basis. I'm just a private person. But employers and some friends need to know that I'm not a pill junkie, I'm just in pain. Also, with employers, the drug test fun necessitates that I let them know I do have narcotics in me, but they're legally given to me.

If it affects your work, boss and maybe some employees need to know. Random person in the grocery line doesn't. People who see you infrequently don't need to know.

I think you know what is best in your situation.

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Thank all of you for your support. I feel more confident with my decision. I'm retired, so work is not an issue. Hair loss may not happen. If it does, then I'll deal with it then. In the mean time I'm looking forward to the treatment. If I had not gone in for a routine physical I would not know today that I have this, and by the time symptoms appeared, it could have been too late.

 

Thanks again.

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I would not be offended if a close friend or relative did not tell me about his illness. I've worked with chronically ill and terminally ill people and I understand their reasons. Sometimes people want to help too much or unintentionally impose themselves on sick people in their rush to help out. No it would not offend me.

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So would you tell or keep silent?

 

I have been through very difficult times and every single time the love and support of family, friends and the community I live in has helped to strengthen me and pull me through. If there are people who are Christians and wanted to pray for me, I did not object. It is their belief and it is their way of dealing with the issues. Just because I do not believe I do not think I should offend their way of showing they care.

 

But it is always your decision.

 

You sound as if you are dealing with with this well. I wish you the courage and the patience to pull through. My thoughts will be with you.

 

Cheerphil

 

 

 

 

 

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Health issues are a need to know basis. If someone gets bothered by that then that's their problem. You're the person who is actually sick and they're making this about themselves? Forget about them and focus on getting better. You'll be happier and healthier.

 

mwc

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I'll just touch on things that others may not have mentioned.

 

Water....lots of it. Keep the chemo moving through your system.

 

While I don't know you eating habits, I would think the general advise of eating leafy greens, fruits, cruchy veggies, and lean meats would be sound. Your body is going to be craving the nutrients so give them the most you can.

 

Most important would be to listen to your body. It will tell you if something is off. It also will let you know if you are not letting the healing process happen. The more you work with your body the "easier" it will be.

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I'll just touch on things that others may not have mentioned.

 

Water....lots of it. Keep the chemo moving through your system.

 

While I don't know you eating habits, I would think the general advise of eating leafy greens, fruits, cruchy veggies, and lean meats would be sound. Your body is going to be craving the nutrients so give them the most you can.

 

Most important would be to listen to your body. It will tell you if something is off. It also will let you know if you are not letting the healing process happen. The more you work with your body the "easier" it will be.

 

Thanks for the reminder, stryper. I'm not normally much of a water drinker and I'll have to force myself to keep that up. (The comic W.C. Fields, whose diet consisted primarily of whiskey, once said, "Water. Never touch the stuff. Fish make love in it.")

 

We're already good about the diet.

 

Just got back from the first treatment, which went well. No side effects yet, but it's only been an hour and a half and tomorrow is a six-hour infusion of the really strong stuff. So we shall see.

 

And thanks again to the rest of you.

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