Childhood Cancer: How to Deal with a Shocking Diagnosis

Childhood Cancer

The truth is kids get cancer.  It’s really sad that children have to deal with a disease that even the strongest adult has trouble with.

Here are some thoughts to help you get through the shocking diagnosis of childhood cancer.

Always Be a Team

Your first emotion could well be anger.  And sometimes the easiest person to give that anger to is your spouse or partner because you know they will eventually forgive you.

But it’s important to remember to keep working as a team.  If you have other children in the family, enlist their help as a team member for your sick child.

If that means or reading a book to your kid while some painful medication is being administered, then that’s what you do.

Try to stay as positive as you can and always carry hope for the best.  It may feel like that’s impossible but hope and faith can go a long way.

Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask the questions that have scared you since you heard about the diagnosis.  Ask if any child survives that particular form of cancer.

You will need to be a team with those physicians and it’s far easier to do that if you feel you’re able to ask the hard questions.

And let friends and family ask their questions as well.  It may not be very comfortable but transparency will be your friend.

Staying Positive

This is, perhaps, the hardest part of the diagnosis of childhood cancer.  You may hear platitudes from caregivers like, “Everything is going to be just fine.” While your heart may not want believe it, it will be helpful if your head remembers it.

Take every day as a blessing.

Let People Help You

Friends and family may want to reach out and help.  Telling them exactly what you need – even down to preparing a list of tasks that folks can do for you – will help them give you exactly what you need when you need it.

Communicate With Your Child

Kids are so astute and they know when something’s wrong.  Be honest with them about the diagnosis as well as their chances for survival.

Let them see how you feel.  Instead of trying to be artificially strong, it’s perfectly fine to let your child see you cry.  That’s how they know how much you care.

Behavior Changes

As the diagnosis and treatment progresses, expect your child’s behavior to change.  Young kids may cling to you when, before the diagnosis, they wouldn’t.  Teenagers could become angry or distant and even withdraw from the family.

Encourage your kids to ask questions and let them know that it’s okay to be afraid.  If you can keep a daily schedule that is as normal as possible it will help your child feel as though they’re not being left out.

Don’t Forget Your Needs

Try not to exhaust yourself in dealing with your child’s cancer.  Reconsider your schedule and get help to get things done.

A cancer diagnosis is frightening but can bring a family together as they fight the battle as a unit.

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