The countless feelings you may go through when diagnosed with cancer can be overwhelming. You may ask yourself, “How will my family and I get through this?” or “How much do I tell my children about my illness?”
While there are many developments being made in cancer treatment, it is understandable that you and your family may experience difficult feelings during this process. There are many supportive ideas that can be used to help get through the illness.
Don’t Avoid Your Emotions
We all have many emotions. It is normal to go through different emotions when you have received the news of your diagnosis. The first response of fear and feelings of uncertainly are common.
People often avoid these emotions because they think giving in to their feelings will be more difficult than avoiding them. Avoiding emotions can have a negative impact and surface in other ways such as misusing drugs and excessive drinking. So, give yourself the opportunity to react in a healthy way, then you may be able to handle telling your children.
What You Should Share With Your Children
You may be apprehensive to share details about your diagnosis with your children. You may also consider keeping it from them so they will not worry. Children can sense when something is wrong. They most likely will see when you have side effects from treatments and begin to worry more because they don’t know what is happening.
It's better for them to know. Explain it to them so they can understand what is happening and going to happen. Also, be sure your children know that you’re still the same person inside–even if you’ve lost hair, are tired, and sleep more. Let them know that you love them just as much as you ever have.
Find Resources and Support
Most states offer groups for support through the American Cancer Society and private practices and agencies. Maryland has a program called Reach to Recovery, which helps individuals cope with breast cancer.
There are also many books and articles available sharing experiences from others, health advice, and coping tools. You may also want to get individual or family counseling while going through this. Your counselor can support you and help your family to express feelings, verbalize fears and concerns, and process what you are dealing with.
Your local place of worship or community center may offer help as well. There are many resources with people who care and want to help you and your family through your diagnosis and treatment.