Pre-School

DH has cancer... Telling kids: What? When? How?

I am a firm believer in being honest with kids and not sheltering them from bad things. I also don't want to scare my kids or create terrible memories. I don't know how to handle this news myself, and definitely don't know how to even begin to discuss DH having cancer with the kids. DD1 is wise beyond her years, so I know I need to be extremely thoughtful with this. Any advice?
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Re: DH has cancer... Telling kids: What? When? How?

  • I'm so sorry.  I can't imagine going through that and being brave for three little ones and worrying about day-to-day life all the while.  I hope you build yourself a strong support network.

    There have got to be books for this for kids.  I would personally describe to her the stages he will go through to get better.  So first he will be tired, and have to take special medicine.  Then _____... And be positive that this is a stage expected, and it is a positive step, one step closer to daddy being better. 

    I don't know what kind, or what kind of treatment will be required.  My daughter's preschool teacher has been undergoing an oral treatment for cancer and never missed a day of school.  Someone else I knew had to undergo the full blown chemo/radiation treatment and was so sick.  I would say shelter her from the worst case and give her only the info she needs specific to her dad.  

     I hope he has a speedy recovery and you all stay strong.

     

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  • I ditto the book advice, and just wanted to say how sorry I am you all are going through this. : (
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  • jc&catjc&cat
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    image LoveEeyore:

    I'm so sorry.  I can't imagine going through that and being brave for three little ones and worrying about day-to-day life all the while.  I hope you build yourself a strong support network.

    There have got to be books for this for kids.  I would personally describe to her the stages he will go through to get better.  So first he will be tired, and have to take special medicine.  Then _____... And be positive that this is a stage expected, and it is a positive step, one step closer to daddy being better. 

    I don't know what kind, or what kind of treatment will be required.  My daughter's preschool teacher has been undergoing an oral treatment for cancer and never missed a day of school.  Someone else I knew had to undergo the full blown chemo/radiation treatment and was so sick.  I would say shelter her from the worst case and give her only the info she needs specific to her dad.  

     I hope he has a speedy recovery and you all stay strong.

     

    This is all very good advice. I hope you have an extended family that can also support emotionally at this time. I hope it is an early stage and treatable situation. You may want to speak with your pedi as well as look at the cancer.org (amer cancer society) site on how to handle communication with young children . Please do keep us posted. Thoughts and prayers for your family.
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  • Honesty is best, and I wish I had better advice for you, but I am so sorry to hear that news.
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  • I am so sorry that you are dealing with this. Wow. My kids are close in age to yours and my DD1 is also very sensitive/perceptive/smart. I have no "real" advice but if it were me I think I would try to wait until we had a good handle on the exact diagnosis and treatment plan, so that I could be specific as needed if the kids had questions. I would also be honest and up front, but keep it simple (unless they have questions). I.e. "I have something I have to tell you. Daddy has a sickness called cancer and will need to go to the doctor a lot. They are going to give him special medicine, but the medicine might make him feel more sick for a while. It has to do that to fight the cancer sickness that's hiding inside. Cancer isn't a sickness that you can catch, so you don't have to worry about hugging Daddy or giving him kisses. He will need lots of love when he's not feeling good." I also agree that some of the national cancer websites may have information for you. 

    Again, I'm so sorry and I hope your DH does well. 

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  • Thank you all so much. I usually use books for everything, and it didn't even cross my mind. DH has kidney cancer in what we believe to be early stage. Luckily this means no chemo or radiation, but he will require surgery soon to have part or all of his kidney removed. We're still waiting for our exact plan of care, etc. Your thoughts and prayers are extremely appreciated.
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  • image saturdaynightdoubletree:
    Thank you all so much. I usually use books for everything, and it didn't even cross my mind. DH has kidney cancer in what we believe to be early stage. Luckily this means no chemo or radiation, but he will require surgery soon to have part or all of his kidney removed. We're still waiting for our exact plan of care, etc. Your thoughts and prayers are extremely appreciated.

    I am so sorry for everything your family is going through...  Based on this, if right now the only plan is surgery, then I would explain that daddy is sick and has to go to the hospital to try to make him better and he will have to be there for a little bit and might not feel better right away but like pp said, kids can give gentle hugs and kisses in the hospital and we're going to visit him and draw him pictures, etc when he is there. Since chemo & radiation are still unknown & hopefully wont be needed, I don't think I'd go there w/ kids your kids age (my twins are just under 4 and I know they wouldn't really get  a lot of it). Cross that bridge when you come to it I think.    Books are a great idea and also reaching out to your local cancer society or ask the oncologist or hospital if they have some good resources for talking to kids also.

    Good luck & many thoughts with you & your H and your family!!!!

  • I agree with other people about looking for a book on the subject.  I am also very sorry to hear you are going through this.  I hope you have a good support system.  I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.  Stay strong!
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  • I am so sorry.  Hugs to you and your family.
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  • LoCarbLoCarb
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    I'm very sorry to hear this news. Your family will definitely be in my thoughts. I agree honesty is a great approach and ditto the book suggestion. :::hugs:::
    Mommy of two girls: DD1 4/14/9 DD2 4/15/11
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  • I am pretty new to the board and wanted to say that I am really sorry. 

    Also, by looking at the age of your kids, you need to give them an age appropriate answer for it.  They don't know what cancer is and most likely they don't know the difference between that or a stomach flu. So I would simply tell them that daddy is sick and has to go to the Dr a lot. For your DD, tell her that daddy will need help and a lot of love from them. Maybe have her help out with little things, like putting together some flowers for DH or make a card or something to that extent. 

    My mom's cancer has come up several times with DD (she had a mastectomy in 2007) and that is somewhat the answer I give her but I am sure this situation is very different from what you are going through.

    Lots of T&P for your family.  


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  • I'm so sorry you're going through this.  MIL was diagnosed with Nonhodchkins lymphoma a few months ago and I was told not to give too many details, sometimetimes the short answer is the best.  You can talk abotu how cancer is something that your body is trying to fight off, but you can't catch it and they've got to go to the doctor a lot and may be weak or tired and we may not be able to play the same way again for a while, etc. 

    There are a bunch  of books specifically written to address cancer in parents and grandparents.  You might want to check them out.  Maybe even the hospital or doctor can give you some ideas too.

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  • WipzWipz
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    saturdaynightdoubletree,  I sent you a PM. 
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