- Question from JCH: My young kids, 5 and 8, did fine with my first two lumpectomies. Now that I need a mastectomy, I am considering sending them to Grandma's for the first few days to have fun while I deal with drains. Does this sound wise?
- Answers - Tamara Shulman, Ph.D., FAACP It sounds as if you shared the information about your lumpectomies with your children and they handled the information well. It's important to maintain the same open approach with your mastectomy and present it in an optimistic and positive way as something you do to take care of yourself at this point. However, while it's very important that they be informed and know what to expect, it may also be helpful for them to be in the most comfortable secure environment that you can provide if you're going to be in hospital for a few days. A visit to the grandparents may well be a realistic and helpful solution for the entire family. I would really separate the issue of what to communicate about the situation because I think letting children know what's going on is important, so give them permission to enjoy a visit with their grandparents while you recuperate. Doing fun things may work well for everyone depending on your particular family situation.
- Paula K. Rauch, M.D. It sounds like you and your children have had good preparation for this surgery by having experienced your two prior smaller surgeries. That may make it easier for your children and you to anticipate a good setting for your recuperation. Let your children know why you think it's a good idea, then be open to reconsider the plan if you're surprised by one of your children being upset by the plan or even after you explore what that concern might be about. But my guess is that your children will be happy with the plan you have in mind.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Talking With Kids about Breast Cancer featured Paula Rauch, M.D. and Tamara Shulman, Ph.D., F.A.A.C.P. answering your questions about specific ways to support your kids while you undergo treatment, and different communication strategies for helping your kids to feel secure during a time of uncertainty.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in May 2006.
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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