Coming Out

So, last night I added that Facebook page for my blog. (Please like me! Facebook then gave me the chance to invite my friends to “like” me. As I went down the list of friends, checking off people to invite, I started thinking, “Wait, I don’t think that person even knows about the cancer. Neither does that person. Does that person know?”

I suddenly realized that tons of people I know don’t even know that I have cancer. Hmm.

The day I was diagnosed in 2005, of course, I sent out a big, freaked-out e-mail to everyone I knew. Then I started the blog, and I told that same big group of people. I wasn’t trying to keep it secret or anything. As the years went by, though, it just seemed like kind of an awkward thing to bring up to people I’d just meet. When is a good point to mention it? It seems like it would be easier if I were 30 or 40 years older and everyone in my peer group had some kind of medical issue to discuss. (“Do you want to hear about my gall bladder?” “Oh, don’t even get me started about my gout!”) I’m guessing that’s how old people bond when they’re getting to know each other, sort of like how 30-somethings bond by discussing all of the different ways their little kids drive them insane. But when you’re in your 30s and you’re the only mom at playgroup who has a fatal disease, you sort of keep it to yourself so you don’t bring everybody down.

Plus, I’m always scared of being viewed as the “Cancer Girl.” I don’t know why, since 99.99 percent of people don’t treat me that way, but it sometimes sneaks up on me. I was once at a gathering where people I hadn’t seen in a while kept coming up to me, cocking their heads sympathetically and saying things like, “Oh, how are you? Are you OK?” I was confused at first, and then I remembered. Oh, yeah. The cancer.

Since I’ve never, ever been visibly sick — and I’ve never felt sick, except off and on during the year that I was on the steriods, bleh! — it’s really easy for me to blend into society as a completely healthy person. And I kinda like it that way.

Anyway. I sent out a mass announcement to all of my Facebook friends, finally coming out of the closet about the cancer and the blog. Then I started having some moments of complete panic. Now all of these people I know from the real world who thought I was somewhat normal are finally going to read my blog and find out I’m completely nuts. I’m picturing all of the Nice Catholic Moms at WCK’s school:

Nice Catholic Mom #1: And she seemed like such a quiet, mild-mannered lady when she volunteered for the field trip, and then I found out that she writes a blog about Jon Bon Jovi taking his clothes off!

Nice Catholic Mom #2: HAVE MERCY!!!

Nice Catholic Mom #3: (dies of shock)

Wow, I feel so awful for the family of Nice Catholic Mom #3. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.

I finally settled down, and then I had another panic attack in the middle of the night. I was trying to remember every single person I’m friends with on Facebook. Have I ever secretly made fun of any of them on the blog? I don’t think I have, but … crap! Have I? Are the parents of WCK’s friends going to tell their kids that WCK licks Dr Pepper off of the driveway? Is she going to need therapy now? Do any of them know my doctor? Are they going to tell him that I’ve been calling him “Great and Powerful Oz” since 2006? Is he going to find that funny? Is Jon Bon Jovi going to sue me?