This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo.
The moment you find something wrong, to the second you find yourself sitting in a doctors room being told you have cancer, your head is full of a thousand thoughts and so many questions it’s hard to decide which ones you need to ask today and which can wait. Cancer is something most of us have experience of and if we don’t, we sadly will by the later years in our lives. Be it our own health affected or that of friends or family. When Cancer affects your life, it can be confusing and lonely. It is the beginning of a very long and hard journey.
Thankfully there has been many breakthroughs in cancer treatment and whilst it is still the biggest killer in the world, there has been a huge rise in survival rates with many cancers now being very curable. We are more educated, know our bodies and what to look for too, which means we are able to catch cancer in the early stages.
Many of us have children and it is important to manage their understanding and emotions through the process once a diagnosis has been made. Especially if it is a mother, father or sibling that are going through the treatment stages of this disease.
Children often quietly contemplate, with their own fears and misconceptions brewing in their heads. Whilst we may think they don’t understand or that it may be too soon to discuss what is going on, this can sometimes be a mistake. Children pick up on changes in our emotional state, sometimes more efficiently than we do, they know when something worries us and notice very quickly if there is more attention or moments of fear shared between their parents. Whilst you will have a lot going on if you are supporting someone with a diagnosis, or you are the person with a diagnosis, seek advice very quickly from your support team on how to keep your children a part of the process and how to ensure they understand and especially how to help them express their concerns.
A great way of helping your children feel a part of the journey is to set their young minds to task. While their parent or sibling is in the hospital, perhaps they could take photos of life at home, days out and other family members. You could even talk to the school and ask if your child can take photos of their daily routine or special events. Take advantage of the snapfish promo code and have these made into a photobook so your partner can share in what is happening at home.
When your partner or their sibling comes home, allow them to help with tasks around the house and make sure you allow them to have time on their own too. Children can be deeply affected if they feel shut out or they suspect something is being hidden from them. While it is incredibly hard, be as honest as you can.