The day you discover your
child has cancer, your whole life changes. No matter
what the outcome may be, you are now living on an
emotional roller coaster.
When my son was first
diagnosed, he was scared and angry, and he was
embarrassed to lose his hair. The fact remained that
although he was now a cancer patient, he was still a
14-year-old teenager with all the typical emotions,
feelings and concerns. For me, becoming a caregiver
and being a single mother at the same time, meant I
had to find new skills to cope with this dreadful
disease. I have included some of them here:
Choose a doctor, who is not only qualified, but one
who is able to speak comfortably with you and your
child. Make sure she takes the time to answer your
questions and those of your child.
Be open and honest with your child and, as much as
possible, include him in discussions concerning the
treatment. Listen with your heart.
Know that your child may take out most of her anger
towards you. After all, you are the one who will
continue to love her no matter what. Be firm, but
Find a support group for parents where you can
discuss your fears and concerns. It is very hard for
family and friends to really understand what you are
going through. Talk to the psychologist at the
hospital and vent your anger.
You will be asked to make many decisions during the
course of treatment. Read and learn as much as you
can about your child's type of illness. The more you
understand, the better prepared you will be to cope.
hard as it may seem, keep a good sense of humor. Do
fun things with your child and laugh. Remember he
stills wants to be treated as the person you knew
before he became ill.
Friends & Family:
Don't expect them to know how to react or what to
say. Be specific in seeking their support, such as
baby-sitting, carpooling, a cooked meal, etc.
Remember their lives have changed too. They are also
scared, and they may resent the lack of attention.
Do spend quality time with them and listen to their
Chain Lifeline is another
organization that gives support to families with
children who have a life threatening disease. They
can be reached at (305) 956-9990..
Although my son did not
survive his battle with cancer, I hope, through my
experience, to help other parents cope with
being a caregiver.
Subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter