Telling Your Story

The way that people who have had lymphoma talk about their experience varies from person to person. It can also vary within the same person at different times and in different situations. This is perfectly normal.

Telling other people about your lymphoma experience involves sharing personal information, which is an individual choice. There may be times when you would like to share an anecdote related to your lymphoma experience. Other times people may ask you questions. You decide how much to share, regardless of the questions asked. Some people are able to easily share information while others may prefer to keep details private. You need to feel comfortable about when to share, what you are sharing, and with whom you are sharing it with. Remember, you can change your mind about sharing once a conversation starts.

Keep in mind, by talking to others you may begin to solve problems as your family and friends ask questions.

Getting the Conversation Started

If you find it difficult to talk about your lymphoma experience, you may find it helpful to write down the main points of what you wish to share ahead of time. Include as much detail or information as is necessary for the situation. After writing it down, practice telling your story out loud. You may wish to first say out loud to yourself, then to a trusted friend or family member.

During this process of writing down your story and rehearsing how you will tell it, it is a good idea to think about what questions or reactions you may receive. This gives you the opportunity to think about how you will respond.

Often people will want to help, so think about what help you may need and be clear in expressing your wishes. Some people may ask questions that may feel intrusive and you may feel uncomfortable sharing information, so plan how you will politely respond. In other situations, you may feel relieved to find a compassionate, interested person with whom you can share as much of your story as you like and receive encouragement and support in return.

Decide whom to tell and under what circumstances. Explain only as much as you need to and feel comfortable speaking about in each situation.

References:

American Cancer Society. Talking With Friends and Relatives About Your Cancer. Revised May 30, 2013
Accessed May 27, 2014

Cancer.Net. Sharing Your Story
Accessed May 27, 2014