forgive me if I am repeating myself--this is for a friend who asked...

here is my experience from 22 years ago and how I made my decision--



My dad was famous--not local famous but world famous--When he went to sign books at a bookstore people would stand in line for hours waiting to meet him. When he got cancer I was 23 a bout to turn 24--I was an adult. It looked like he had  chance of making it but lung cancer 22 years ago was something you beat or you died from it no in between--no living with... I was told by my mother not to tell anyone --my brother, my mother and one of her friends were the only ones who knew---i had no one to lean on---I was really close to my dad---I couldn't lean on him--he was sick and fighting hard and writing a book(he wrote three a year)--couldn't lean on my mom--she was working hard taking care of the business and my dad and worried about the love of her life( at the time they had been married for 32 years and madly in love for all of it) I felt very alone---I didn't understand the reason behind the silence(sort of did --dad said when you say cancer people start digging your grave) but really why couldn't I tell a friend, my boyfriend or anyone? I understood it years later as I watched the circus around the death of Michael landon)--but I felt very alone and was thrust into the limelight when I had a book published and had to go on a publicity tour in last months of my dad's life---It was awful and it meant I had to keep up appearances as the world asked me in 9 interviews a day what my dad was working on ---It was brutal to do that but I did it for him.

Here is my experience from last year--


I decided last year that my girls needed to be free to tell anyone they wished. I didn't tell my dad's publishers until I absolutley had to--and certainly nothing went out to the press---But I wanted the girls to have the support they needed from school, friends, relatives without worrying about anything. S spent a lot of time in the prayer corner last year in her classroom--K didn't want anyone to pity her but that was not the case--with G,R, K and J all having the same experience--She was in a safe place--her soccer team also knew and was incredible and supportive and loving to her---everyone would come over or invite her no one came around me when they were sick parents drove and picked up...all I had to do was say _this week I have chemo and everyone was right on the ball ready to do whatever was necessary. From driving to and from school to having K overnight on a school night when s got stomach flu and I wasn't home to help. I taught I wore scarves--k's one rule was don't come to school bald--but at home I was around all the kids who came over --and It was ok to not wear a hat---I wanted my kids to see that we can survive anything---that you just handle things as they come and don't get crazy about it all---they have lived with me bald with me with no energy with an odd chest with not being able to hug me with me having implants...when I told K we went on a walk for about an hour and talked about cancer, implants(which we laugh about) and her friends...we walked fast and I answered all her questions. I do not carry the gene---I am the only one in my family to have had breast cancer for three or four generations. We all have to make our decisions and they are personal--but it has always been important to me to have honesty and openess in my family. And it has always been important to me to have my girls have people other than me that I trust to help them live their lives. They needed to see that there was life in cancer and after cancer with no doubt that all would be okay...IT was 1/46th of my life from diagnosis to the end of my chemo ---All in all it will be 2/47 by the time I am done with my reconstruction. I am grateful to the parents in the girls' classes who all pitched in and I am grateful to the kids in 7th who gave me a place to put my time and energy last year. And just about all of them saw me bald at some point--saw me with my face broken out from steriods(my personal rosacea had a field day with that) and all of them saw me tired but they also saw me at every school function, I went to the spelling bee on day 3 after chemo--my housekeeper drove me so I could watch K, who is a phenomenal speller, and she got down to the wire--her and two older boys went neck and neck for 7 or 8 rounds--I went to the masses and the Christmas program with a mask on--went to volleyball and soccer games---everyone was so sweet and helpful. 
You could not be in a better place to go through this next year of your life--hideous disease but we fight on...and move on because life is so much more than this.