How NOT to tell your family you have prostate cancer (daughter's perspective)
On a warm day, at one of my dads backyard parties, surrounded by friends and family, 4 days before my Georgia State University graduation, chaos erupted.
The family cat, Snowball (also known as Jack Ass), was run over by a car. My stepmom, April, and I rushed my 15 year old cat to the vet where we waited to be seen.
Eventually the vet told us that with surgery Snowball would be ok, but everyone was so emotional. I couldn’t figure out why my dad, step mom, and bother were so distraught.
When I came home after leaving Snowball at the vet, my dad told me he had prostate cancer.
At the time he didn’t know the specific details. So he didn’t know the severity or treatment options. All I heard after an emotional evening was that my dad has CANCER and I jumped to the worst conclusions. I also rarely see my dad emotional, so seeing him cry as he was telling me the news made it seem serious.
So here are my tips:
PICK A GOOD TIME
Do it in person and individually
Make your family a part of the process
Time is everything, right? YES. Please don’t tell your family before a big event, in a crowded restaurant, or after your cat has been hit by a car.
Having more information is better when telling your family that you have prostate cancer. Get tests and find out your options for treatment before telling your family.
This should really go without saying, but if it is an option DO IT IN PERSON. Don’t call up your children and tell them you have cancer. Not only did it make it easier to get my questions answered, but this was an emotional moment. Crying over the phone is awkward for everyone, I promise. My brothers and I were also told individually, which I appreciated.
Once I found out, I was very interested in the process. What were the next steps? What are my dad’s options? Where will he be traveling and what is the success rate of the treatments? Keeping your family updated will keep their minds at ease and allow them to do their own research. While I made the choice to support my dad in any decision he made, being a part of the process made me feel like my dad valued my opinion.
Jessica Vass (John’s daughter)