Lucy's story: how to break the cancer news to family & friends
Your doctor tells you that you have cancer. One thing that comes to mind is: how will I tell my loved ones? Lucy Phillips, a wife and mama of four from Missouri, was diagnosed with invasive cervical cancer at only 25. Today, she shares her story and insights.
Weeks after being proposed to by the love of her life, Lucy was diagnosed with Stage 2A squamous cell carcinoma in January 2017.
After attending a routine Pap test that she admits she was behind on, Lucy was referred to a colposcopy 5 days later:
It didn't alarm me since this had happened in the past and I was always told that I had changes in the cells but my body would fight it off. The last Pap smear I had was around 3 years earlier and that one came back normal.
When she heard that her 5 biopsies came back as invasive cancer, she nodded her head and squeezed her fiancé's hand:
I was devastated, scared, and most of all, I was angry with my body. I was so mad that my body was trying to fail me.
Breaking the news to family & friends
As a mother of four, Lucy found it extremely hard to tell her parents:
It hurt me because all I could think about was if it were one of my children coming to me with that kind of news.
With her oldest child aged 8 and her youngest only 4 years old, Lucy tried to explain her diagnosis to her little ones in simple terms so they wouldn't be scared:
I didn’t get to share my bad news with everyone and then cry on their shoulder. It was actually the other way around. And I was ok with that. Even though I wanted to kick, cry and scream, I told my family and children about my diagnosis with confidence. If I was confident then it would give them a little bit of hope that everything would be alright. At the end of the day, it was MY fight that would rely on MY will to survive. There was no time for crying.
When asked how to tell such a difficult news with confidence, Lucy replied:
I think you just have to say it. You can’t sugarcoat it. Now for my kids, I toned it down a little. I told them that Mommy has cancer and I will get really sick before I can get better. This helped them understand all the days that I just couldn’t get out of bed. They knew that I would get better and it wouldn’t always be that way.
Early detection is key
Now in early menopause from treatments, Lucy said she was blessed to have had all 4 children before her diagnosis.
Today, Lucy is doing well and is a Cervivor ambassador for early detection.
I will always push the importance of women getting their yearly exams and their cervical cancer screening. If I hadn't waited 3 years to get my exam, I may not have been in this situation.
Lucy & Mel X