If you follow this blog, you know the answer: It depends. In general, sharing serious news with loved ones is essential to getting good care and living as fully as possible.
That said, situations arise and relationships are such that sharing the diagnosis can be counterproductive. Instead of eliciting needed support, sharing the diagnosis can exacerbate negative emotions and/or create unnecessary burdens.
- What will I gain by sharing the truth?
- What will I lose?
- What are my professional or ethical obligations to that person?
Healthy Survivors do what's best for them now.
Early in my survivorship, whenever I had to undergo an evaluation for possible recurrence, I shared the anxiety with my close family members and friends. I needed their support throughout the rigmarole of tests and consults.
No more. Recently I had to jump through some hoops (consults; scans). I told only my husband and one friend. Over the years, I've developed skills that minimize my stress and worry during uncertain times. For me, it would have been more stressful to confide the news and then field others' expressions of concern.
I did not owe it to anyone to share what I was going through. And I felt no compunction about answering "fine" or "no complaints," if people asked the usual, "How are you?" while waiting for test results. It was the truth.