Any parent can tell you that being a Mom or Dad while healthy is hard enough. Add a cancer diagnosis, and it can be overwhelming and scary. Fortunately, there are many parents that have experienced living with cancer while trying to maintain a normal sense of life at home. Below are four tips for how to cope with cancer while raising children.
Communicate With Your Doctors
Your care team understands that life doesn’t stop for cancer. We know there are important dates and can’t miss events for your family. Communicate with your doctors about things such as school performances or family vacations, and they can work with you to choose the best possible treatment plan and schedule. Keeping as normal of a schedule as possible can help your family process a diagnosis with less issues.
Find a Community Support Groups
There are several community resources for families with cancer, including overnight camps for kids whose parents are fighting cancer. These groups, especially for younger children, can be a great way to ease fears and conquer uncertainty.
Use Age Appropriate Language and Phrases
You’ll know best how to speak with your children and what they’re able to understand about your cancer diagnosis. Offer to let them ask questions, and answer as truthfully as possible given their age. If necessary, draw pictures or play pretend to explain any symptoms, hair loss or side effects.
Learn to Lean on Others
While support from the community and others who have experienced cancer is important, so is support from your inner circle of friends and family. They say it “takes a village” to raise a family, and that’s especially true in times of sickness. When facing treatment, accept assistance when offered and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re tired or in need of some personal time.