• When did you tell your family about your diagnosis?

    Asked by Cheryl2 on Monday, July 16, 2012

    When did you tell your family about your diagnosis?

    I have an 11 yo at home and two adult children. I will ask DD to care for the 11yo while I go to dr. appts. I'm thinking to tell her when I have the first appt.

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • 1Gr8teacher's Avatar

      I have a 15 yr old daughter and 12 year old son. I struggled with this same question on the way home from my diagnosis. My children's only experience with cancer was our 40 yr old family friend losing her leukemia battle so I was concerned they would be scared. I finally decided that I had to be honest with them. I told my daughter that we don't keep secrets from one another even if it is bad or scary so I was going to be completely honest with her and I wanted her to share her feelings with me. She handled it well. My son was a little confused and was more concerned with whether I was going to be really sick and lose my hair. I told him I didn 't know but whatever came our way we would handle it as a family.
      It helped me to stay in the "mom" role because I felt like I still had control over THAT at a time when I felt like I had such little control over everything else.

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Why would you wait until then? Do it now, not as a "by the way" on the way to an appointment that will and should have your complete attention. Don't make her feel like she was only told because you had no other choice. Don't make her associate being with her older sister as a traumatic event.

      Telling her now, when things are still relatively calm and normal will be so much easier for both of you. It also tell her that she is important enough to be included in this from the beginning rather than being shut out until it becomes obvious. I'm sure she already knows something is going on. Don't make her imagine the worst by not telling her upfront.

      over 4 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar

      We waited to tell our children (then ages 15 and 18) and everyone else (except for a few very close friends who helped keep me standing) until we knew all the facts. Didn't even tell my parents. I had a colonoscopy and they discovered that I had a tumor. But without further testing, we wouldn't know whether it was malignant (although the dr. presumed it was, and it was but that wasn't determined for sure until after the biopsy came back a week later), we didn't know whether it had spread to my liver or lungs. Personally, we didn't want anyone else to worry until we knew the facts.

      Once we told the kids, we explained to them why we hadn't told them. They knew I had gone for the colonoscopy, but we didn't tell them the results at that time. We just told them we were waiting for the results (which was the truth, not the whole truth, but we weren't lying). They told us that they understood why we waited to tell them and they were OK with that.

      It also gave me and my husband time to sit down and draw up our plan. It sounds like you already have a plan, but like nancyjac has suggested, don't wait until the day of or day before. Prepare her. And remember, you have had some time to digest it. It's going to take some time for her and your other children.

      over 4 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar

      My family knew I was having swallowing difficulty and pain and went to the doctor. The ENT said I needed a biopsy right away and 2 days later I got the diagnosis of Cancer. I told my family that they found something they wanted to take a closer look at. Family and close friends know when something is going on. I think it's best to share early, so everyone can support each other rather than being alone and keeping secrets. I would feel hurt if my family/friends didn't share something like this with me. I hate the thought of someone going through this alone. I'm all for support! Good luck to you!

      over 4 years ago
    • Charlieb's Avatar

      In 1973, when I was 17, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. My father came from the doctors office to pick me up from school as he normally did. I knew something was wrong so he told me mom had cancer but WE just don't know anything more. WE all went through the ups and downs together. When I was diagnosed with cancer I told everyone as soon as I could. I don't care what age a person is, I believe it's best they share the same emotions you must be going through: fear; uncertainty etc.

      over 4 years ago
    • cjstokes' Avatar

      I called my parents and my adult son the same night as I was going to be admitted the next day. We raise our lil grandaughter who was 6 at the time and we told her as she and I had never been a part for more than 5 days; I knew a 40 day hospital stay was going to be hard on us both!

      over 4 years ago
    • Beaner54's Avatar

      I told my family immediately. It was difficult to share this with my young grandkids;ages 7 to 10yo but they deserved to know. Trust me, they are more keen than we think and it is best to be truthful so they don't worry or think this is their fault. Assure them to be open and answer their questions age appropriately.

      over 4 years ago
    • Lirasgirl33's Avatar

      I was faced with this very situation earlier this year. I was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer in January. My sister, age 29, went with me to the doctors office when I was given my cancer diagnosis. I told my boyfriend and once home I told my mom and dad. Telling my kids needed to be handled differently. At the time, my kids were the following ages: two 14 year old twin girls, a 12yr old (girl) and a 9 year old (boy). I didn't tell my kids right away. Not until I knew the stage. I guess I figured why worry them, when I myself wasn't yet well informed and I didn't yet have all the details of my diagnosis, stage, treatment plan, etc. I wanted to know all of this first and then have a family meeting to discuss it. My kids knew prior to my diagnosis that I had been having issues with my "period" but nothing else. They also knew I would be going in for surgery to remove my female reproductive organs, but nothing about cancer.

      You see, about two years earlier, my cousin who was in her late 30's, who had a loving husband and 3 kids, passed away from stage 4 cancer. My twin daughters had a good friend, same age as them pass away last year of Leukemia. This was the extent of their cancer experience. I knew the word cancer would strike fear in them and I wanted to try to lessen it as much as humanly possible.

      I finally told them at our family meeting a couple of weeks after being home from surgery, we all sat down, the kids, my boyfriend, my two sisters (ages 14 and 29), grandma and grandpa and myself. I told them the situation. I told them the doctors had found cancer in my cervix and had removed the tumor and all affected lymph nodes during surgery. I also told them that the doctors wanted to make sure all possible cancer cells left behind would be killed, therefore I would need to go through cancer treatment which consisted of chemo, external and internal radiation. I also went over some of the common side effects I might or might not experience. I told them mommy would sometimes not look or feel too good, and that they could help me by making me smile. :) I love my kids, they have helped me so much through all this. I asked my kids if they had any questions and they basically said I had covered pretty much everything. I told them to feel free to speak to any one in the family if they had questions, concerns....to get feelings out, etc. I told them they could even speak with a teacher or their counselor at school if they wanted to. I made sure to let them know that having cancer is not a "Death sentence" and that we would get through this together.

      From the moment I was diagnosed I felt fear, uncertainty, and worry. The unknown was ahead of me and I wanted to be as informed and have as much knowledge about the journey I was about to embark on, with my family and loved ones. I then asked God for strength and peace of mind through this journey. God has always been in my life watching over me and I knew that he was with me now too. That was very comforting for me and gave me a lot of peace of mind. I am also grateful for my family and friends for being so supportive and showering me with their love. Even through this sometimes dark road, I feel blessed and happy.

      over 4 years ago

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