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how did you tell people? how did you tell people?

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Unread 02-16-2012, 01:00 PM
how did you tell people?

How did you tell the people close to you that you needed a hysterectomy? How many people did you decide to tell? My hyster is in 6 weeks, I'm 37 years old and don't have kids. I have to have the hyster because of a pre-cancer diagnosis (AIS). My husband obviously knows everything, and a couple of my close female friends know everything and have been really supportive and fantastic.

I haven't told my parents yet, though--my Dad has health issues of his own and they have a lot to deal with. In addition, my Mom, though I love her dearly, tends to be very emotional and melodramatic, and I'm really, really dreading dealing with her reaction. I'm afraid she's going to focus on "but now I'll never be a grandma" and I can't handle that guilt trip right now. I'm okay with not having kids, but thinking about how much my mom wants to be a grandma makes me want to cry. I have a brother, but he just got divorced and doesn't have kids either.

I have been thinking about writing my parents a letter rather than telling them on the phone (they live two hours away). Is that horrible?

Last, the people I work with are going to know I'm having surgery, and I'm wondering how much to tell them. Sometimes I want to act like nothing's happening and everything's fine, and other times I want to tell everyone I see "oh my God, I have to have surgery and I'm freaking out!!".

Anyway I guess I just wanted to write this out and vent a little. Anybody else have issues like this?
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Unread 02-16-2012, 01:24 PM
Re: how did you tell people?

I told everyone close to me on my cell phone on the car ride home from the doctor's office. Everyone is very excited for me and I'm terrified of what the long term effects will be (I should have never visited the HERS site, ever) because they've listed to me complain about my periods for years.

7 years ago I had to have polyps removed from my uterus and I was really embarrassed to tell my boss who was male. I told him I needed time off for surgery. He said what kind and I just blurted out that I had polyps in my uterus that had to go. He was very kind and understanding and didn't tell anyone else what my surgery involved. I told all my co-workers that I was having some female issues fixed.

In the end, you'll have to share what every info you're comfortable with. Hysterectomies are very common. I don't feel in general there is a stigma attached to it much.
Unread 02-16-2012, 03:06 PM
Re: how did you tell people?

It's really up to you who you tell. A hysterectomy is a very personal surgery, but it is not a dirty secret. My DH, my parents and the girlfriends I told were very supportive. The people at work knew as we are a small pretty close knit group of people of mostly women.

I know you don't want the guilt trip from your Mom. How close are you? Being that she is 2 hours away she may never need to know. Before you make that decision ask yourself how you would feel if the roles were reversed.

I know emotions can run rampant when it comes to this surgery. It's a big deal, but it's necessary for your future health. I would hope your Mom would understand that.
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Unread 02-16-2012, 04:15 PM
Re: how did you tell people?

It is important to realize that a hyst is the number one most common surg. on women. You have shared with people that are important to you and who you will need support and positive feedback from. In relation to sharing with your mother , it is possible you might need assistance during post op recovery at home. This may or may not include help from her. Yet it can easily be said if remarks are made that this is about your health which must come before her expectatations.
I work with all men and funny they all knew about my surg and were way more supportive and concerned with my health than even some of my female relatives! lol (who would have thought?)

Keep positive and keep posting !
Unread 02-16-2012, 05:13 PM
Re: how did you tell people?

Hi there,
Well--the main thing is that you're getting care for something serious, and it was caught at the earliest. That's what matters. You have a supportive husband and friends--that's great too.

I struggled as well with who to tell, when to tell, how much to tell. It's been one of the hardest things so far, really, so don't feel alone. The day I got my cancer diagnosis I learned a lot, very instantly, about who I really love and trust in my life, and who I can count on.

It's your feelings that count right now. Your mother's feelings are important to her of course, but it's not your job to take care of her feelings right now. At 37, I suspect you've already dealt with her disappointment about grandchildren on a number of occasions. Since you know she goes for the melodrama, my advice is, deal with it and get it over with, or you'll be stewing, waiting for her to come out with it, and that will draw out your anxiety.

A letter is one idea--you can tell her that you really just can't discuss the topic of the lost grandchildren right now. You also don't have to be the one to tell your parents. Have your husband call them, tell them you're so distraught that you can't even come to the phone. Have him warn them in no uncertain terms that in the interest of your mental health, no discussion about grandchildren will be tolerated. Or just tell your Dad yourself, and ask him to tell her, and warn her off.

I don't know how bad a drama queen your mother is. If she's really awful (some are), and you think it's affecting your well being in a serious way, then limit contact, and don't let her come when you're most vulnerable physically and emotionally. There's nothing wrong with consulting a therapist about this either.

We just have to get through this now, and then get on with the wonderful things that our futures hold. Surround yourself now with the people you want to tell, who'll cry and laugh with you and bring you casseroles.

One other tip--I live in a wonderful neighborhood, where folks are friendly and look out for each other. My initial diagnosis and biopsy confirmations came up during Christmastime, and I didn't want to spoil anyone's holidays, so I didn't say anything. So I waited until afterwards, and then just told a couple of neighbors-- I asked them to pass it on around the neighborhood for me as a favor so that I didn't have to--and they did. And I'm getting support without having to have all those individual uncomfortable conversations. You don't have to do everything yourself!

Best wishes to you--hope you get through this phase and the others to come!
Unread 02-16-2012, 05:33 PM
Re: how did you tell people?

A few months before my hysto, I'd had an exploratory lap and endo removal; before I had that, I told my family and friends and co-workers that I was having it for GYN issues and was hoping it would give me some answers as to what had been going on for so long. So when I decided to have a hysto, it was actually pretty easy to tell them that the previous surgery hadn't helped like we were hoping it would, and that'd I'd be having a hysto.

After I went public with the info (on FB), I found out that three of my cousins also had hystos for endo and fibroids, before they were even 30 years old! So I'm late by those standards (had just turned 37 when I had mine). I guess my point is that it wasn't really a surprise, because everyone knew I'd had issues for a long, long time.
Unread 02-16-2012, 06:48 PM
Re: how did you tell people?

I know how you feel. I only wanted to tell a select few close friends and family. I told my immediate family right away along with my few very close girlfriends. I also had to tell my employer (just started this job 10 months ago). I decided to make a private Facebook message to all others I wanted to know. It was a hard decision of whom to tell. Some freaked out and thought I was dying (having hyst due to pre-cancerous conditions on the cerevix). Others sent well wishes. Some even called me. I just did not want to explain my condition over and over.

Best of luck with your surgery

Unread 02-16-2012, 08:14 PM
Re: how did you tell people?

I told everyone that needed to know. I don't think there's a stigma attached to it. I am a teacher so I just put that I would be out for surgery in my newsletter. Most were very supportive and didn't ask what kind. If they did, I told them.
Unread 02-16-2012, 08:37 PM
Re: how did you tell people?

I told only the bare essentials. I had been having pre cancer issues with my cervix for a while so most people weren't surprised, as they knew I was wrestling with the decision. It made me sad telling my brother for some reason. I told only my two closest friends at work. Everyone else had the good manners not to ask, since I didn't offer an explanation. I wouldn't allow my DH to tell his family anything other than surgery and girl issues. I just felt it was so private and I have at times felt there is a stigma attached. I felt almost embarrassed and deeply sad and couldn't bring myself to share that with many people.

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