An ipad showing a social media account and the ipad cord making a heart around it

How Oversharing on Facebook Helped Me After My Diagnosis

My friends joke that there's nothing too personal for me not to share on Facebook, and I have to agree. For some reason I don't understand, things just feel more real when I'm able to share them with other people.

So unsurprisingly, when I got my cancer diagnosis, I blasted the details on Facebook a few days after I told my family. Even for me, it wasn't the most comfortable news to share – talking about your urogenital system is a bit of an overshare, even for me -- but looking back, I'm glad I did it. Here's why.

1. It helped me process the information

When I first heard the words “bladder cancer,” my mind started spinning. In retrospect, I realize that I hardly heard what the doctor told me after my cystoscopy because I was reeling from all the emotions that come along with hearing you almost certainly have cancer. For me, my education came in the days after, when I started to piece together the information I found online about different types of bladder cancer, how they grew, and what they looked like. I learned my cancer – based on how it looked on the cystoscopy screen – was likely superficial. I learned that bladder cancer had a high rate of remission and survival. I learned what the treatment would look like, and that if the cancer turned out to be low-grade, it might never return. Sharing what I learned with others allowed me to own what was happening and mentally prepare for the weeks to come. It also gave me hope that I wouldn't immediately die, like I worried I might.

2. It let others know what to expect

One of the things that made my cancer diagnosis so shocking is that I only had one symptom – hematuria, or the presence of blood in my urine. Twice in the six months leading up to diagnosis, I noticed that my pee had a rosy-pink tinge, so light that I thought I might be imagining it. And because I have a history of passing kidney stones, seeing a slight amount of blood in my urine wasn't an unusual occurrence – cancer was the last thing I thought could have caused it. After the diagnosis, I wanted to tell everyone I could so that if anyone else noticed they had hematuria, they could get screened as well.

3. It allowed other people to support me when I needed it most

I'm a big believer in prayer, and maybe selfishly, I wanted as many prayers as I could get. As I updated my Facebook with the news that I had cancer, I begged for prayers and good vibes from anyone who was generous enough to offer. I asked them to pray that the cancer was low-grade and low-stage and that it could be easily treated and never return. To my delight, I got a ton of prayers – and then some. Blessedly, dozens of people reached out to me and let me know they were praying for my healing. One friend's husband let me know that his men's group was praying, which meant more to me than gold. But the best moment was when a friend got in touch after my Facebook post and let me know that her husband had battled bladder cancer as well. My friend was able to describe his experience and let me know generally what I could expect. I wept with gratitude when she told me she knew my urologist and that I was in good hands.

Oversharing might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I can say for certain that it helped me survive.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.