One of our longtime regulars sent me a note with some sad news: She has just been told she has breast cancer. She is still waiting to learn what stage it is in so she doesn’t have all the information yet. She wants your thoughts and experiences about how to tell her children (she has a teen and preteen) that she has cancer.
She also wants advice about how to deal with the cancer within the family.
I personally think she needs to wait to tell the kids until she has all the details. I think she needs to know what stage it is in and what the treatment will be so she can comfort the kids by having a plan. (I think this is true for moving, divorce, any big changes. I think they need to know there is a plan.)
I tend to want to tell my kids everything and be very scientific about it. For example, when my brother needed his heart transplant, I told my kids all the details about what was happening to his body and what would happen when he got the new heart. I think my sister-in-law gave their kids far less detail. Maybe that’s because it was their father and not their uncle?
Do you think she should give the kids all logical, scientific information that you have or just hit it sort of simply: Mom has cancer and I’m going to do X,Y and Z treatment.
Should she tell her older child something different that the younger child? Should she tell them together or separate?
I tried to encourage her that I don’t think breast cancer is a death sentence. Breast cancer is beatable, and she has to stay positive.
Please share your thoughts, advice and experiences with our blog friend.