• My granddaughter's best friend's mother lost her battle after 5 years. I (Nana) got diagnosed weeks before)

    Asked by digger6218 on Monday, November 21, 2011

    My granddaughter's best friend's mother lost her battle after 5 years. I (Nana) got diagnosed weeks before)

    My daughter felt it best not to tell my granddaughters that Nana has breast cancer. I visited Fl the Day this women passed and my daughter thought the girls would assume Nana's dying too. I live in AZ. After treatment I plan to move there to be closer.
    How long should we wait to tell them?/

    4 Answers from the Community

    4 answers
    • digger6218's Avatar

      I forgot to mention my 4 granddaughters are 13 ,9,7 and almost 3. My daughter and others know . We are just concerned because they were close to this friend and her mother. So I guess because of their age we were concerned of association with the breast cancer even tho mine is Stage 0

      almost 5 years ago
    • PetraW's Avatar

      Dear digger6218, I just wrote a post for danellsar about children I just wanted to copy certain section to you as well, as it cover some of the same aspects.

      I have been through breast cancer over the last year and have a 7 year-old daughter and a 9-year old son. I know what you are going through in regards to your child. For us it was very important to involve the kids from the very beginning on. They were included in every step of this cancer journey and we openly talked about everything to prepare them and not leave them to deal with their own fears. It worked very well. They were and are still afraid, but the open communication allows them to let things out. There were also many moments when things were very funny and the humor was something we all needed badly. I had a mastectomy in January. During the same procedure I started reconstructive surgery. We are very open in our family and so we take baths together and run around the house naked at times in the morning or before we go to bed. So at first for the kids it was a shock to see me without my breast or the little hubble of the beginning of the breast recon process. But even that was important for the kids. They did not have the feeling that we were hiding anything from them. When I went through chemo, they knew that my hair was going to fall out and so when it started to come out in bunches, they helped me to comb it out that day. I leaned over the sink and they brushed out my hair. It was bitter sweet, but a real catharsis for all of us. It made it real for the kids and they felt like that they helped me in this process. They hated the fact that I did not have hair and when I shaved off whatever I had left, my son cried. Even now, that my hair is starting to grow back, my son begs me to let it grow long again, because he says that the short hair reminds him of the cancer. I ordered several books that really helped us with the children to process things. Some of them are specific to moms with breast cancer, but here are a couple that I really liked: "When someone has a very serious Illness - Children can learn to cope with loss and change", written by Marqe Heegaard to be illustrated by children. This is a workbook, where you as a parent would lead your child through the book exploring things like change, self image, "it's not your fault that your Dad is ill", etc. I received this booklet from the social worker at our local Hospice. The contact was through another friend whose husband had just passed away from cancer. I am thinking that this might be a good source for you possibly as well. The Hospice staff is obviously used to these topics and it is part of their mission to not just support the patient but especially also the families. The other book I really liked was "How to help children through a parent's serious Illness by Kathleen McCue, M.A., C.C.L.S. We also did things where we made a Cancer Survivor list. It is a big poster in our living room, that we decorated very nicely and it has all the people listed that we know, that had cancer and are still alive. It is a daily reminder that people survive this illness. I found it most helpful to find hands-on things for the kids to do to process their fears and feelings. We planted a garden, my mom gave all of us crystals that we would lay in the sunlight to fill them with good energy and then everytime I would go in the hospital or to treatment I would take my crystal and they would have their crystals with them at school or next to their beds and we knew, that by touching them we would all be connected and could send good energy, thoughts and love to each other. We all wrote little cards with wishes that we send out to the universe, the cards are still unfolded for each of us, but this year on Thanksgiving we will open the cards and look at what happened over the course of the last year. Part of my journey was also to talk to my children's schools and teachers to have them on board. I did a little talk at my son's class, so the kids could understand, why I didn't have hair on my head and Christopher wouldn't get teased. I also started an e-mail list of friends. There are many people on it, some of them far away, but also many close by. I would up-date them regularly on what was going on not just with me, but also with the children and my husband. Oftentimes friends would come and do things with the kids or engage with them on different levels. It was helpful and helped to share the responsibility of supporting the kids. I also started to write a blog. It is not a public blog, it is by invitation only. One of the main reasons for this blog was to create a documentation of the things going on for my children. Who knows what will happen, it will give them a great source to read about all the little details of their lives. I blog every day about each day and I have been doing it for the last 8 months. It has been great for me and I will continue. I up-load pictures and document all the little events or what the children say and think and do. It is also extremely helpful for myself to keep track of things and myself sane. With chemo you loose track of time and events. Your mind is in a fog. The blog keeps me clear and it is a challenge to think things through to be able to put them into words. While I am writing, I am processing my own fears and thoughts. I keep it positive and constructive and don't allow myself to fall into deep holes of self pity or the feeling of "being a victim" of the situation. We are never victims. My friend whose husband passed away also blogs. She blogged through her husband's entire cancer journey of over 4 years. Her daughter was 2 when her husband was first diagnosed. Her daughter has all the records of all of that has happened with her dad, many things she will not be able to remember. I find that a very comforting idea. My heart goes out to you.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Suzi's Avatar

      I told my children right away that I was sick... but was going to get better! I think it's important that children know that having cancer does NOT mean that you're going to die. Even as adults, we often shy away from those who are ill if we do not understand their illness. I work in a school (middle/high school) and have been very open and honest with my colleagues and my students about my illness and my treatment (even told them today that I wasn't feeling well because of my first chemo treatment). Children tend to automatically assume the worst (ie. that having cancer means that you're "going to die") if we don't talk to them!

      almost 5 years ago
    • hikerchick's Avatar

      My kids were 12 and 16 when I was diagnosed a year ago. I feel it's very important to be honest with them, and very important to choose your wording wisely and reinforce the positive.

      I grew up with what I call "sneak attacks." Being the youngest of 4, I was often the only one not to be told about something until after-the-fact. I felt betrayed. It hurt worse, adding secrecy to the bad news, and didn't allow me to prepare myself. Finding out "by mistake" by a family member, neighbor or friend would decrease trust further. This is just what my personal experience has been and I wanted to voice it.

      It's a tough job. Good luck to you.

      almost 5 years ago

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