The Cancer Talk
It was summer before I was to go into the sixth grade when my mother went into the hospital for a simply procedure. My brother, David, and I was never told the reason as to why. We would go to the hospital, stand outside, and she would come to the window, waving. After she came home, it was months later that I was told she had cancer.
My mother, just like any parent, wanted to protect her children from the harsh reality of what cancer really is. And being so young, I didn’t know the cruelty that cancer was and still is. The chemo therapy, the loss of hair, the difference in apperance, the exhaustion, the pain, the mood swings all of this still doesn’t compare to the loss that she felt in being just human, the loss of human dignity.
And for a daughter or a son to see their parent in this nightmare, the memories don’t go away. However, there are was to talk to him or her about cancer (depending on their age).
1) Be honest and truthful about what cancer is, allowing reality in
2) Let him or her know from the beginning that cancer has come. The change in that person may be hard for a child to deal with. So be there for them. And let them know that cancer doesn’t take away love.
3) Sooner the better- It may be easier for them to deal with any kind of change that may occur or any kind of fears her or he may have.
4) Tell she or he, they don’t have to be a Florence Nightingale. But do let them help and be involved in what is going on.
5) Let them be the boss- When it comes to their feelings, let them know that you are for them anytime they need/ want to talk. But don’t push. She or he has to work this out on their own.
6) Go to the child’s doctor or the interenet. The more knowledge that you have on how to tell your child, the better the outcome.
No parent can imagine telling their child about cancer, especially their own. And with technology along with prayer, one day cancer will be cured or no longer heard of. I hope this not for myself, but for my daughter.