Sharing information with your family about your brain tumor diagnosis can be difficult. It’s hard having to explain to your family or others what you are going through, how you feel, what your diagnosis is, what’s going to happen next and the list of questions can go on. This is your story. Be honest and open with who you feel comfortable sharing with, but the key is releasing your thoughts and feelings instead of holding things in. You want to be able to cope with this process the best way you can. The more you talk things out, the more you can focus on the changes that are going on in your life.
Here are five helpful tips for talking to your friends and family about your diagnosis.
- Communicate How You Feel
This is an important factor to coping with your diagnosis and managing how you feel mentally. Holding in those feelings you have and the façade you may be trying to uphold only makes this situation more tense for all parties involved. Your family may not be able to truly express their thoughts to you if they feel you are holding some things back from them. Learn to assertively communicate. This can help in having an honest relationship with your family, so you don’t feel the need to hide certain things, afraid of what they might think or say.
- Practice What You Want To Say
If you feel you have some strong emotions on certain things you want to say – write it down. Practice it aloud a few times before you sit down and have this conversation with them. Practicing helps you feel confident and more relaxed in what you are about to say. If you need to pace yourself and you only want to share certain things, start small and open up when you are ready to tell them what you want them to know.
- Find A System to Communicate With Others
Determine the best way to communicate things so you don’t feel overwhelmed after an appointment or treatment, when everyone is trying to check and make sure everything went okay. Designate a point of contact, tell everyone they will receive a group text, tell them to check their e-mails at a certain time, however you want to let everyone know, make that choice. It is understandable that they want to be updated but let them know what this whole process is like for you and how you would like to relay information should be valued.
- Take Help When It is Offered
Support during this time can be beneficial. If you need help and it’s being offered – take it! You want this time for dealing with your diagnosis to be as stress-free as possible. Get help if you are overwhelmed with completing tasks such as cleaning up your house, running errands, or are just too exhausted to cook. Coordinate a schedule that works for you. Have family members or loved ones come with you to your appointments or treatments, cook meals, or help you get things completed around the house. You may also need emotional support – someone to listen to how you are doing and be able to share any uncertainty or anxiety you may have without feeling any judgment.
- Take Care Of Yourself
If at any time you feel everything is too much – take some time for you! Designate someone that can give updates to your family and friends and be honest when communicating. Consider doing some relaxing exercises, journaling, take a fun trip or get a massage. Remember to take one day at a time and just breathe! Focus on the things that simply bring a smile to your face.