when do you tell children about grandparent's illness?

(10 Posts)
numberonedad Tue 12-Jan-16 19:19:32

My mother has been diagnosed with cancer - we don't know the full extent or the prognosis - though there is a chance it has spread to her liver - we are awaiting further tests.

My daughter is in her last year at school working to get the grades for university. Mum doesn't want us tell her yet, she doesn't want our daughter to be distracted.

When and how do you break such news to sons and daughters? Does what's going on at school influence that choice?

Curiousflannel Tue 12-Jan-16 19:53:29

I'm sorry to hear that number one. Hope you are holding up yourself.

Its a tricky one. I would maybe wait until you get the results of the tests and then decide. Is your dd likely to go to pieces? I know if it was my mum she would be the same and wouldnt want dd to know if it was going to affect her results.

Hang on then discuss it with your mumwhen you know what's happening.

Fingers crossed it is not as bad as you fear flowers

Ticktacktock Tue 12-Jan-16 19:55:36

I think that a critical time in education coupled with serious illness in the family isn't the best recipe for success. Is your daughter very close to her grandmother? I think it would depend on how your Dd would deal with it. Is she likely to be very upset or would she be able to cope with exams and the illness?

My dd carried on as normal through her grandads illness, and that was not what I expected at all.

Ticktacktock Tue 12-Jan-16 19:57:14

Sorry to hear about your mum BTW, hope the test results are favourable flowers

Husbanddoestheironing Tue 12-Jan-16 20:00:50

If your daughter isn't told it would be worse if she suddenly and unexpectedly died. It does occasionally happen as prognoses aren't necessarily accurate. Personally I would tell a limited amount, but be light on detail unless she specifically asks. But not until you have test results. Hope they are better than you fear.

Bubbletree4 Tue 12-Jan-16 20:05:48

I would also wait for the further tests so that you are able to answer questions. If possible to wait (exams etc) then I agree with your mum. But (sorry to be blunt) if the prognosis is poor, make sure your dd has the opportunity to spend time with her grandma.

I have had to tell my dc that my mum got diagnosed with cancer, but my dc were younger (junior sch age) and so I told them in stages. bit of info at a time. But as your dd is older, it will be different.

Not sure where the primary tumour is, but you can start by saying grandma has a problem with her [stomach] and needs some surgery to remove a lump which the doctor believes is cancerous. Rather than saying "grandmas got cancer" so suddenly and directly. (?) just my thoughts. Very sorry to hear your mum's diagnosis.

PingPongBat Tue 12-Jan-16 20:29:59

So sorry to hear about your mother numberonedad.

How long will the test results take to come back? If it's only a week or so then perhaps wait until you know more, but if it might be longer then I would probably tell her what you know now.

My teens both appreciated us being up front about my mum & father in law, who both had cancer & died last year. DD said to me recently that she was glad we hadn't tried to hide anything. We didn't give them too many details, just that mum had blood cancer, how that affected her day to day health, & that others in her condition lived on average 12 months from diagnosis, We found this all out via the MacMillan nurses. In the end she only had a month. In contrast my father in law lived with cancer for nearly 2 years, and all the tests seemed to go on for months and months with no clear answers. It's so hard to decide these things.

Peebles1 Tue 12-Jan-16 21:08:53

My DD must be the same age as yours. My Dad has prostate cancer and is about to start radiotherapy. It's a very good prognosis, but I did worry that DCs would freak out at the word 'cancer'. I made the decision to tell them because really it's difficult to hide when he's undergoing treatment. Also my parents told me, eventually, then my sister a bit later, but for some reason held back for ages from telling our brother. Didn't want to worry us. It wasn't nice being on the receiving end of info being withheld so as not to worry us, so that also made me decide not to withhold from my DCs. I did wait until she wasn't going through one of her many 'bad times' though. She was fine. I kept it basic and as light as I could, not always possible I know. Also maybe sooner rather than later so your DD has time to get used to it before exams get really really close. I hope things go ok for your mum and your family.

numberonedad Tue 12-Jan-16 22:23:33

Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

My mum has been advised not to have surgery - given her general health, they suggest she may end up in a worse state, so they will "manage" the bowel cancer, though as I said we don't know what that means for my mum, e.g. how long has she got.

We are waiting for further tests (ultrasound) to see if it is a tumour on her liver. We have been told that if it is a tumour that it is inoperable. Equally I understand if it has spread to the liver then that is bad news.

Radiotherapy is not an option apparently. Dont know if the excludes chemotherapy.

So we have a lot to learn yet.

I'm not sure how our daughter will react - she has a soft spot for her grandmother.

BackforGood Sat 16-Jan-16 00:04:48

I would wait until you have all the results and the consultant, along with your Mother has decided on the course of treatment, so you can answer questions, but then I would be honest with her. There's never a 'good' time to tell them, but honesty is the best policy in my opinion.

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