Oncologist Theodora Ross was on NPR’s Fresh Air to talk about cancer, genetics, and how it directly affected her. Her husband sent an email to his coworkers:
You may have noticed I’ve been unusually busy and stressed lately. And I thought it important to share with you some personal information… The medical issues are complex and distressing. As a result, Theo and I are quite preoccupied as we work to resolve them. I am sure you can understand this is personal. And know that you will respect our privacy by keeping this information confidential.
I realize you may be concerned. But please do not ask for updates or additional information from me or Theo as we are trying to figure this stuff out ourselves.
As a teen, when I was in a cast, people at school had to ask about how I was coping and how it happened. Constantly. Everyone had to know. I hate being the center of attention, so dealing with people was harder than dealing with the actual injury.
Subsequent medical things have not had obvious physical manifestations, so I have been able to keep mostly quiet about them. The gossip machine still spreads the word about them making me uncomfortable. Obviously I need to be better about asking people to respect my privacy.