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Telling the Children
4 Posts

How do you tell your child about your breast cancer diagnosis if they suffer from depression and anxiety and it could throw them into a spiral. The anxiety I'm feeling myself is overwhelming but I am so scared to have to tell them. Ideally I would like to get through this without having to do so but unfortunately if and when my physical appearance changes what can I say or do. This is causing me such anxiety and fearfulness that I can barely get through every day.

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5 Posts

Hi Mia, I understand your concern and even though my situation is different, I thought it may help if I shared my thinking: I have a similar hesitation about telling my ageing parents, who live abroad.

Frankly I thought about it more than my own health situation, as I felt it would break my already frail dad, so I haven't told them about my diagnosis and surgery yet. I am still waiting for my biopsy results after the surgery, and once I know more about my prognosis, I may share the news with them - if the info I get is relatively reassuring, I may wait until I next travel to see them and tell them in person - all “done” and ready to move on. If more challenging, I may tell them sooner, but only when I can also provide some answers and be confident about my treatment plan.

There is no easy way to break bad news, but if you can take some of the anxiety and uncertainty out of the equation, it should be easier for them to process. Hopefully you will also feel more confident about overcoming your cancer, and reflect this in your interactions with your kids. One more thing, though: if you feel that, for whatever reason, their reaction will burden you emotionally, rather than support you, you are entitled to keeping the news to yourself for as long as you wish. Most important for all is that you get well!

124 Posts

@Mia2429 Katerina‘s comments are really good!
At the moment you don’t have a complete diagnosis and you don’t have a treatment plan. The waiting is stressful enough let alone telling someone else who will be more stressed than you. Try to remind yourself that there are lots of very good outcomes with breast cancer. There are lots of us here on this website that have been where you are right now and have made it through and are doing well years later. The waiting is the worst part. Soon you will have some answers and start a treatment plan and you will feel more in control. In the meantime remember to take a deep breath to help calm yourself.

1569 Posts

@Mia2429 you know your children better than anyone, and it’s definitely easier to have a conversation once you know what you are dealing with.

I delayed talking to my parents until I had my biopsy results, although one sister knew I was having a biopsy.

I would just ask yourself if they would be hurt that you didn’t trust them with the knowledge and you were dealing with and didn’t let them help you with each step…

we have a lot of preconceived ideas about breast cancer and treatment - I did. It turned out not to be as bad as I thought.

How are you doing today? best wishes, Essjay

15 Posts

@Mia2429 I can relate to that feeling of anxiety. I had to have that conversation with my 3 kids (14,12,8) a few months ago. I waited until I had a treatment plan and was a few days from starting it. I had chemo first so my appearance was about to change. It’s not easy, but they handled it great. I answer any questions, made a few jokes and reassured that it’s only a short phase.

Good Luck, you got this.

31 Posts

I have been in a similar situation a few times now, but the first time was the hardest. My Kids were 10 and 12 and I was dreading it especially as I got the news 2 weeks before Christmas. I waited till after new year. I explained very clearly that as They know I was not feeling great as I had been complaining about that sore throat but now we knew what it was, which meant the doctors could start working on it. I explained what would happen: radiation and chemo, which meant I would not be working etc…

Recently, when it came back, they were more prepared and of course, older, but they admitted that they needed to know and wanted to know exactly what was happening.

Children are so resilient and adapt very quickly to all kinds of situation if they know that there is someone to talk to or if they are not left behind. They will figure out that they is something going on. I also made a point of talking to the teachers so that they knew the reason why if something was different at school and reach out to us. It was very helpful!

But again, you know your children's best. All I can say is they are smart and will know and have the right to know. They will thank you later.

And as it was said already, they have made so much progress.

All the best. Thinking of you.

86 Posts

I was also afraid about telling my children. Their dad died from cancer when they were 9 and 11 and the thought of it happening to me was too much. Or so I thought. They are older now but still my babies and I waited until I was about to start treatment to tell them. I told my eldest and he told my youngest.

I am not proud of how I did it but like you I was so worried about how they would react. I casually told my son I had been at the hospital and said there's something wrong with my breast. He was not thrilled with that approach.

But they both handled it and although they were sad and still have their moments it is what it is. I am doing great now so that makes them happy.

Good luck I so understand how you are feeling. Let us know how it goes.

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