Alleviate sons' fears of recurrence/death?


Question from sabra: I have 12- and 15-year-old boys. I was done with my treatment last January for a very aggressive breast cancer. What is the best way to alleviate their fears of a recurrence of my cancer and possibly leaving them without a mother?
Answers - Joan Hermann There isn't a good way to take away all of your children's worries about that. Mothers need to acknowledge it's possible their cancer will come back, and if that happens, "We'll deal with it, just like we've dealt with all we've been through. If the cancer comes back, I'll be treated again, but I'm fine now. As far as we can tell, the treatment looks like it has stopped the cancer. What we need to focus on right now is that I'm feeling OK. Our life is getting back to normal. If it comes back, we'll deal with it."

I'd like to recommend to all of the parents in this situation to get a copy of Dr. Wendy Harpham's book, When a Parent Has Cancer: A Guide To Caring for your Children New York: Harper Collins, 1997. She has a nice way of dealing with this issue of recurrence. The way she puts it is that she can't buy a ticket until she gets on the train, or I can't put a cast on an arm until it breaks. We can only deal with the present. We will deal with the future when it happens, if it happens.

On Wednesday, August 16, 2000, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Kids and Mom's Breast Cancer. Joan Hermann, L.S.W. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about talking to your kids about breast cancer.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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