Talking with Children about Your Diagnosis

When I was going through cancer and its treatments, I didn’t think to share my feelings or open up space for my children to share their feelings about my cancer. I was too busy being “strong” for my kids and trying to survive day-to-day, I was a single parent and I was busy trying to provide and protect them.

We finally talked about it when I did a digital story about chemotherapy. I was so proud of making one that I shared it with my son, his reaction and that story made me appreciate, and fully understand, that my son was going through cancer with me.

In hindsight (hindsight is such a kicker ain’t it?), it would have been helpful if we talked about the cancer sooner so that we could have faced it together. It may have helped them with their fears and questions. Trust me on this one folks; your kids are affected by your diagnosis. They have fears of losing their parent. They don’t understand what this means to them and they may not understand your side effects.

I suggest talking to the oncology social worker and get resources, and talk a trusted friend. Practice what you’re going to say. Be as factual as possible, assure them that they didn’t (or you didn’t) cause it. Have some resources available including someone they can talk to about it besides you.

Have someone with you if it’ll help. It can be an emotional conversation, but if you think of it like if you were sending your children out to fish or hunt, you’d share all the knowledge you have so that they would be prepared. Talking about cancer is helping them to be prepared. <3

Here are two good resources on how to talk with your children:

Here is a digital story of one mom and her daughter, and how they dealt with her mom’s diagnosis. I also put in the comments, a couple of resources of how to talk with your child about cancer. I wish you peace, strength and wellness.

Charlene’s story from Alaskan Storyteller on Vimeo.

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