Keeping a Cancer Diagnosis Private

Choosing to keep her cancer diagnosis from friends and family, Anita and her husband found the support they needed at Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center

Cancer
Couple looking out window

Anita was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, but her family and friends still don’t know about her diagnosis. She and her husband, Oliver, told their children, but no one else.

“We never disclosed our problems,” Oliver says. “I don’t think we’re ever going to tell friends and family.”  

Oliver and Anita (not their real names) didn’t want a “barrage of questions” from well-meaning family and friends, so they chose not to tell them about her diagnosis. The pandemic made it easy for them to keep the diagnosis private. They kept up with phone calls to family and friends when Anita was feeling well, but they never spoke about her health.

“We kept positive by talking with them about other things,” Oliver says. “We made our life smooth and joyous.”

Staying positive

Oliver became his wife’s caregiver and took over the cooking while she was going through treatment. They tried different recipes, exercised, read religious books and watched uplifting programs on TV. They even went on a cruise.

They got involved at Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center, a not-for-profit that offers services, support and programming, free of charge, to anyone affected by a cancer diagnosis. At Waterford Place, they participated in a variety of programs and received the support they needed from the staff and other participants. 

“The staff is beyond exceptional,” Oliver says. “They go out of their way to help people. They are very, very nice people.”  

The couple got involved with a support group at Waterford Place. “We shared everything with our support group,” he says, including ideas, thoughts and feelings. 

Learning to provide care

Waterford Place helped provide the couple with stress relief and peace of mind, Oliver says. Anita benefited from skin care and hair treatment services as well as yoga classes. She experienced numerous side effects from her treatment, including neuropathy. Reflexology helped her tingling feet. She went for body massage and reiki. 

Oliver accompanied his wife to the programs and learned to provide reiki and the other services at home. 

“Waterford Place helped me to provide her better care,” he says. “I learned from watching reflexology, reiki and even facials. In our critical time, Waterford Place provided very useful programs that had a positive impact on her and our entire family.” 

Waterford Place also provided them with useful items at no charge, including pillows, blankets and skin care products. 

“They are a blessing, not only to us, but to all other cancer patients,” Oliver says. “Waterford Place changed her life and her attitude in a positive way. She is thankful, and we will never forget all the care and help they provided.”

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