The secret is out

This entry was written by Tonya Hackney. Tonya admits that when she first received the news of her breast cancer diagnosis she vowed not to share it with anyone but her close family members. But eventually, she decided to share her diagnosis as a way to heal and in return she experienced true blessings that she never expected.

Everything is ALWAYS in divine order.

I say that because when I was asked to blog on a specific topic for LBBC, it was as if the person who assigned me the blog had just listened to a conversation I had with someone less than twenty-four hours ago. I’m almost two years cancer-free and a dear friend of mine just received a diagnosis of breast cancer. Her name is Adrienne and we’ve been friends since she came upstairs to our apartment and baked cakes on my Easy Bake Oven. We were barely out of diapers and our families have been friends since!

I sat recently with her telling her how I handled my breast cancer diagnosis that November day in 2009. Once I received my diagnosis, I swore my sisters, my dad, and my daughter, Tara, to absolute secrecy! This was a covert operation I commanded they all be a part of because this was MY breast cancer and MY business! My daughter, Tara, complained that she felt she was “lying” to her father whenever they spoke because he kept telling her he knew something was wrong – but out of respect for me and my privacy she denied that anything had changed. At work, I kept leaving early and missing days to keep my appointments. That was unusual because I’m a Nurse and I was known for always working over-time. But my mind was still focused on the MY breast cancer, MY diagnosis and MY business syndrome.

For reasons unknown to me at the time, I felt as if breast cancer was something I “caught” because of careless actions I’d done against God in the past. Because of me thinking that I “deserved” such a punishment, I was ashamed to tell others about my diagnosis in fear that they’d think I deserved it too. Eventually, I got tired of pretending. I felt so much additional stress along with the diagnosis because I was holding it all INSIDE. And you know what I did that day?


Something inside me FINALLY said “This has nothing to do with what you may or may not have done. This diagnosis just is!” And after opening up about it to others, I started receiving an abundance of blessings!

I received cards with encouraging words. Every one contained checks, gift cards, and cash. I was off work for over a year and to open up a card with a check for $500 from a nurse that I only knew casually brought me to tears! By that time my savings were depleted and to know someone would do that for me without knowing my circumstances gave me hope. It made me realize you never know who is waiting in the wings but I had to share my story to learn this lesson!

Every day during my journey I had visitors, cards, texts and whatever I was able to eat. To know that people were praying for me, to know that my life mattered to others, to know that YOU have touched a life along the way was only made possible by LETTING GO!

Trust me – this is too big to handle on your own. Allow others in and you’ll be surprised how many are willing to share your load! That old hymn goes…“I feel better, so much better, since I laid my burdens down!”

Were you hesitant to share your diagnosis with others? What were some of the reasons why? Comment here or on our Facebook page.

7 thoughts on “The secret is out

  1. Absolutely – too big to handle on our own. It’s humbling to need so much help. But it is a season. if you accept that you do need the help during this season of your life, you’ll feel not-as-bad about receiving the help. And friends are so critical.

  2. I can relate to that story. I found my lump myself and I knew in my heart that it was cancer. When the results of the biopsy came back my doctor wanted to know how I felt. My response was that “God does not take us before our time.” Being proud and taking care of myself most of my life I was ashamed to ask for help and support. God has humbled me and I am now able to ask for help or call my friends just to talk. Though my journey is not over I have learned to pray and I know that God will put angels in my life to help with my needs.

    • Amen!I’ve finished Chemo/Radiation-just get a monthly injection.This experience Vikki, has been a blessing-u have to see it as that.You can add me to that list of people to call to talk to.I’ve gotten stronger because although my friends are wonderful-I needed someone who is traveling this road with me.I met three great “sistahs” in pink who I talk/hangout with.Respond and if u like I will give you my email/telephone number!There is STRENGTH in numbers!!!BE WELL!

  3. Wow! It’s amazing how our stories are so similar. When I was first diagnosed I already knew I was healed without question before any procedures, treatment etc., were thought of. Simply because that’s the kind of Faith I have in my Lord and Savior. However, even in knowing that I kept a blog that I initially didn’t want to share. It was my 17yo daughter that basically looked me in my face and asked, “what is your purpose of starting this blog Mom?” I said to help someone else, she said “Then push the publish button now!” I have been writing and sharing ever since, and just like you the amount of support and gifts have been tremendous, and everyday I’m thankful with no regrets…Thanks for sharing my sista:)

  4. I love your story. We often do not want to share because of pride. With faith in God we know that He loves us and only have good plans for our lives. Storms come in order for God to be given the glory. What wonderful example you are of that. Once you began to share your journey you became a blessing to others. Continued blessings.

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