A woman holds a cell phone with a gloomy and sad expression.

The Worst Phone Call I Ever Made

So many aspects of the initial part of my cancer journey are blurry. There was too much pain, too much confusion, and way too much medication to remember things fully. But there is one moment I remember with absolute clarity, and it was just a few hours after my admission to the ER.

It's not the moment you might think

You may think it is when the doctor told me I had cancer, but actually, it is about 15 minutes after. July 25th, 2019 at 9:43 AM. My husband had called my mom at around 6 AM to let her know I was in the ER, and she was already driving up from Tallahassee, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia to me with me. At that time we knew nothing other than I was in the ER in severe pain. But at 9:43, I asked my husband to hand me my phone and let me call her.

Calling my mom to deliver the news

She answered on the first ring. I managed to say, “Mom...they said it's cancer.” There was silence on the other end. I heard her start to cry, but then stop herself and say “It's okay, it's going to be okay, I’ll be there in 2 hours”. The rest of my stint in the ER was rapid-fire tests, needle pokes, and just an overwhelming feeling of being numb to everything. I’m pretty sure my mind just shut everything out in an act of self-preservation.

Telling our loved ones we have cancer almost harder than hearing it ourselves

On my darkest days, that is the moment my brain conjures up. All the surgical pain, all of the things I experienced, and that one phone call still remains the hardest and most painful thing I’ve ever voluntarily done. I think we all have that one phone call or conversation that is burned in our memory. Telling your family and friends that you have cancer is sometimes harder than hearing it yourself.

We're in this together

I don’t have advice on how to make these kinds of conversations easier, or even how to go about it in the first place. My heart goes out to each cancer fighter who has needed to make these calls. It is unfortunately an experience we all share no matter our staging or diagnosis.

Read more

Looking for help telling loved ones about your bladder cancer? Read some of the links below going over when and how to share, preparing for the emotions, remembering to put your needs first, and the importance of having people support you through this experience.

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