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5 Bumps

How do you tell your kids?

I just found out (well last Friday) that my mom has breast cancer. DH and I decided that we wouldn't tell the kids until we knew more about size, stage, treatment, etc… And that appointment was today.

My children are 7, 13 and 14. I think I am most worried about the younger 2. My middle child is very closed and doesn't like to discuss anything. She is already having a very rough year at school and I'm afraid that she will nose dive.

My youngest is very sensitive, and well, 7. He is the kind to really worry. He woke up today with a tummy ache because a friend was very mean to him at school yesterday and DH and I were asking about it. (Other kid's mom got a note home and then called me.)

If you have been through this, any advice? It's not enough that I'm worried for my own sanity, but theirs as well. I think they need to know, but…

Answer Question

Asked by balagan_imma at 2:55 PM on Nov. 8, 2012 in General Parenting

Level 35 (77,648 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • I don't have much advice, but reassure them this type of cancer has a very high recovery rate when found early. Maybe get them interested in the next Walk for a Cure, either participating or sponsoring.

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 3:05 PM on Nov. 8, 2012

  • First, I'm really sorry about your mom :(

    Second, I don't have a ton of experience with this but I have found that kids are more resilient than we remember. That said, it always seemed to work better for me to give them the least amount of information necessary in order for them to get the gist of the situation and then let them ask questions from there. Then, they aren't overwhelmed with the knowledge but, rather, as their questions come up. I would also reassure them that you know it's a scary thing for them to hear this and that they can come to you anytime they are feeling sad/worried (which I know you would say anyway)

    Good luck and, again, I'm sorry

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 3:08 PM on Nov. 8, 2012

  • My son was 8 when we found out about my mom's melenoma. We went ahead and told him and just kept him in the loop of everything. He was very close to her, I guess that was the main reason we told him all of it upfront. In your case and how the kids are I would wait and see exactly where everything stands before I would say anything. So sorry about your mom. (Hugs)

    Answer by RelaxedMom2-3 at 3:22 PM on Nov. 8, 2012

  • It's all up to you, but if the kids are already sensitive about other things right now it may be best to not tell them at all until you know more. Hard to understand at that age.

    Answer by staciandababy at 3:24 PM on Nov. 8, 2012

  • My mom has been battling breast cancer for 5 years, my son is unaware of it, if she is having a bad day, we just say granny isn't feeling well. If she gets to the point of hospice we wll address it then, too soon for them to know Imo.

    Answer by shhitisawig at 4:01 PM on Nov. 8, 2012

  • I'm sorry about your mom, shhitisawig.

    I know that my kids wouldn't buy the "grandma isn't feeling well thing." For one, she lives up the street and they are used to just popping up to her place. And because my family often kept things from me, even when I was a young adult, I refuse to keep things from my kids. We are very transparent around here.

    What I do know is that she will have to have surgery and I will have to help her decide lumpechtomy or mastechtomy. And she is a lousy decision maker in the best of circumstances. The good news is that the way things look now she won't need chemo, just tamoxofen and radiation.

    Comment by balagan_imma (original poster) at 4:13 PM on Nov. 8, 2012

  • I still think you should wait until you have more info, my mom lives 2 hours away, so it is a bit easier, our son is a worrywart, and my mom asked us not to tell him. Maybe ask your mom what she thinks? I would at least wait until you have more info, and encourage your mom to get a 2nd opinion. My mom should have. huggs!

    Answer by shhitisawig at 4:27 PM on Nov. 8, 2012

  • having gone through this, I think that you tell them grandma is sick - we told the kids in our family there were alien cells in hre body and she woudl be getting some really good juice through her port and showed them where the port was, and that some times she will be very very tired from the juice and others she may not be. Then as she goes through more if she starts losing hair etc, they got to buy her a hat etc. It wasnt as bad as we thought. The worriers would lay in bed with her somedays adn read with her whe she didnt feel up to getting out of bed. Hang in there, deal with it a little a a time. Sorry she is going through all of that.

    Answer by luvmygrandbaby at 4:37 PM on Nov. 8, 2012

  • I certainly would get all the facts first. What does your mother feel about "everyone" knwing. Some people are fine with it and others are not. That would be my first thoughts.
    My father had MS I knew something was terribly wrong by the age of about 7 By 9 I knew and was the one dealing with meals , by 14 I was handling everything including driving my father to the Dr. Each person handles things differently. I was majorly pissed that they kept the information from me.
    BTW at 9 (before they had told me) I had my first period, and like them all it was a gusher. I had no idea what was happening but went into my room and laid down on my bed to die quietly. I know way dramatic but i was very serious to me that I not burden them with my "death" What you keep from your children, they sense, and it just mkes them unsteady. I would tell them, but you know your children better than anyone else.

    Answer by Dardenella at 4:54 PM on Nov. 8, 2012

  • Sounds like the point was you were waiting until today's appointment, when you learned more about the situation (not just the diagnosis) & now you have that information. (Surgery, those followups, no chemo recommended at this point.)
    I think that is pretty much what you tell.
    I think I would let them know the situation--their grandma is sick, she found out that it is breast cancer. They'll want to know more, so tell them she is going to need surgery to remove the tumor, she's got some things to decide after talking to doctors & weighing the information they share (lumpectomy or mastectomy) but either way it will be surgery, and the doctors expect to follow up with radiation & medication that will block estrogen so more cancer will not grow. Let them know it's really upsetting news for you, and scary, and that you're sad to have to tell them such a serious thing, but it's true and it's what you have to face with your mom.

    Answer by girlwithC at 5:22 PM on Nov. 8, 2012

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