If you’ve received a diagnosis of cancer, your family will serve as the anchors of your support system. But should that include the younger members? Here are some helpful suggestions for sharing the news with grandchildren.
What Do I Tell Them?
• Before any decisions are made, consult with your children and their spouses. They have the ultimate responsibility of raising their kids, so they should have the ultimate approval over what they are told along with when and where.
• Formulate the content of your discussion based on the child’s point of view. Depending on age, he or she may not even know what cancer is, let alone have any frame of reference for it.
• Children are naturally self-centered, but not in a bad way. They simply don’t have the life experience to think outside of themselves. While they will be concerned for you, be prepared to assure them that their life will go on as normal.
Do I HAVE to Tell Them?
Children are more intuitive than most people think. If they sense that something’s wrong, lack of knowledge will frighten them more than the truth. It’s also better that they learn from you rather than from an outside source which may be misinformed.
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Cancer has been called a family disease because a cancer diagnosis affects not just the patient, but the entire family. If your spouse has been diagnosed with cancer, his or her journey with cancer will also have a profound effect on your own life and the lives of your children. As your spouse’s leading supporter and primary caregiver, your cancer journey will be different from your spouse’s but is likely to be equally challenging.
What You Should Know
Here are three things you should know as you and your spouse cope with cancer:
1. Keep communicating. Share with each other your feelings and fears about cancer. The more openly you and your spouse can discuss the challenges that occur during the cancer journey, the better you can support each other.
2. Respect your spouse’s decisions. Be an information gatherer and sounding board for your spouse, but respect his or her right to make treatment decisions. You can help your spouse by researching alternative cancer treatments, cancer vaccines and other treatment options and sharing that information with your spouse. Share your thoughts and discuss your fears, but respect your spouse’s right to determine the path of his/her cancer journey.
3. There is more to life than cancer. Life does not stop just because your spouse is diagnosed with cancer. When possible, continue your normal family routine. Make time to talk and cuddle as a couple. Continue to parent as a team. Ask friends and family for help when you need it, and join a cancer support community.
It’s difficult to find anyone whose life hasn’t been touched by cancer. The person in front of you at the grocery store or sitting next to you in the movie theater could tell you about a family member or co-worker diagnosed with the disease. Inspired by their courage, these friends and family members carry on a message of hope by working to find a cure.
At the age of 31, Detroit-area attorney Jacqueline Bailey was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer. Her two-year battle led her caring friends to create a legacy for her by founding the Jacqueline E. Bailey Foundation. Ms. Bailey’s wish was that no other 31-year-old woman would have to receive similar news. The foundation has partnered with the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute to fund an early detection test for ovarian cancer.
Cyclist Maria Parker’s motivation came from her sister Jenny Mulligan, diagnosed with stage four brain cancer in 2012. Maria entered the 2013 Race Across America to raise money and awareness for cancer research. When mid-race problems caused her to consider quitting, a conversation with her sister spurred her on. Her inspiration led Maria to finish first in the women’s group while setting a record in her 50+ age range. Jenny’s son Timothy filmed a documentary of the experience with which he and Maria hope to raise $1 million for ABC2, a brain cancer reorganization.
The love and support of friends and family is an important source of strength when receiving a diagnosis of stage four cancer. Our alternative cancer therapy uses a personal approach to ensure that we address your specific needs.
Most of us think about leaving our loved ones a legacy. We want the people we love to have something tangible to remember us by when we’re gone. Cancer simply truncates the time line, compelling us to face end-of-life thoughts today rather than several decades in the future. Many cancer patients find comfort and satisfaction in creating a lasting family legacy. Focusing on the people and events that have touched your life also promotes a positive attitude that enhances the healing effects of Issels advanced alternative cancer treatments.
As we noted in our last post, family legacies can take many different forms, here is another idea:
Create a family cookbook. Collect favorite family recipes. You can include recipes from other family members, but be sure to include the recipes for all of your children’s favorite foods, even if they came from cookbooks. Your children may not know that mom’s fabulous sugar cookies came from a Betty Crocker cookbook or that the recipe for their favorite chocolate chip cookies is printed on the chocolate chip package.
And don’t forget to write down recipes for foods you whip up without thinking. That you add cinnamon and vanilla to the milk and eggs when you make French toast or that sour cream is the magic ingredient in your smooth-as-silk mashed potatoes are tricks that will allow your children to recreate for their families the favorite foods of their youth.
Consider personalizing your cookbook by adding recollections and photos. Have your cookbook printed and bound at a local copy service like Staples or Kinko’s or through an online publisher like Blurb.