Bad news, part two

doctor giving bad news

It’s hard, having to tell the same story over and over again. I knew at the outset, when I was diagnosed with cancer (a whole entire week ago!), that I didn’t want to keep it a secret. People (especially people you know and care about) need to know when you’re sick, and they also need to know that cancer isn’t necessarily always a death sentence. (Also, I knew people would gossip, and, since I’m gay, I assumed they’d assume this had something to do with AIDS, and I wanted to give them the correct information, just in case.)



I understand a little better now, however, why some people keep this kind of information a secret.



It’s very tiring to tell people every day how you’re doing. It’s also very time-consuming. I appreciate the consideration, but – my goodness! One day is much like the day after. If I was okay yesterday, probably I’m still relatively okay today. If I was miserable yesterday, well, probably you’d be doing yourself a favor not to ask me how I’m doing today.



And we’ve barely begun this process yet!



My friend Cathleen suggested a code system: putting up something on my office door that would tell people how I’m feeling. This made me think of these faces:





I may resort to something like this in a month or two, when I’m in treatment and am getting tired and hopeless.



But for now I can tell you with my own words how I feel.



I feel okay. I have a little pain in my throat – nothing more than a mild soreness – where the tumor is located. I’m depressed, of course, and I’m trying very hard not to project too far ahead.



I’ve decided that every day without serious discomfort is a good day.



So today is a good day.



Thank Buddha / Allah / Jehovah / whomever you prefer.


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

5 Responses to Bad news, part two

  1. You could call it something like, Facing My Dis-ease.

  2. starproms says:

    Aah I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I’m behind and only just now beginning to catch up and your post was the second one I’ve read in the last half hour, which gave me concern. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers Loren and send you so much love to help you get over it. xxx

    • Thanks very much. I’m not feeling badly at the moment – only a little scared. I begin treatment in a few weeks, and the first month or so should be okay, but the last few weeks (it’s seven weeks total) won’t be very nice. But I’m trying to prepare myself. Thanks for your good thoughts – and keep them coming. I can use them.

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