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When would you tell your child(ren) that you are seriously ill

(8 Posts)
IntotheNittyGritty Mon 13-Jun-11 07:56:19

Do we wait and see and tell them now? Prognosis not good. I am still in shock myself and finding it really difficult to comprehend. Dont know what to do.

CMOTdibbler Mon 13-Jun-11 08:04:22

I think you tell them now. You don't have to tell them the prognosis bit, just that you are ill, the doctors will be trying to make you better, but you'll have to take lots of medicine/some of the medicine will make you ill /you might find it harder to walk or whatever, but you'll always tell them the truth

I'm so sorry you are going through this

topsyturner Mon 13-Jun-11 08:17:30

I am really sorry to hear you are going through this .
I have the same concerns as you . I have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and have already had my mastectomy .
Am seeing my surgeon on Wednesday to get my patholgy results and see what my next course of treatment is .

What the Breast Care Nurses have suggested to me re my children (aged 11 and 8) is that I keep them one stage behind me .
IE - they know I have been into hospital for surgery . I told them I was having a lump removed , they were surprisingly accepting and asked very few questions .
Once I have seen the surgeon this week , and I know and have accepted what my next course of treatment is , I will sit down with them and tell them everything .

It's hard to tell your children things though . And you need to have accepted your diagnosis yourself first .
It sounds like you are still very much in shock yourself .

I hope some of this has helped , and if you need to chat feel free to ask anything .

Northernlurker Mon 13-Jun-11 08:23:23

I think you need to tell them as much as you can as soon as you can but you do need to be in a place where you yourself have come to terms with it a bit.
I have a friend who had to tell her dcs she had breast cancer. She told them a week or so after diagnosis and before surgery. The first question one of them asked was 'but you're not going to die are you?' To which she could only answer 'hopefully not'. I suspect this is a pretty common question and the reason I'm mentioning it is that you need to work out your answer to it beforehand. In your shoes I reckon it would take me quite a long time to do this tbh.
Are you starting any treatment - will they notice any differences in routine or in you?

smee Mon 13-Jun-11 16:25:07

I think a lot depends on what you know and how old the children are, but I agree with the others, honesty's got to be at the heart of it all. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer last year, and we told our five year old. Helped all of us to be honest. There's a lot of advice out there in terms of telling children. If it's Cancer, Macmillan are fantastic and have a free advice line. Take your time to think it through though. HTH x

BreastmilkDoesAFabLatte Tue 14-Jun-11 11:04:58

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I really hope that you can find the real-life support you need.

I would consider not just what you're going to tell your children about your own illness, but how you set what you tell them in a wider context of how you talk to them about life and death. In cultures where normal life expectancies are in the 30s or 40s, and where AIDS, malaria, sickle cell disease or similar illness are prevalent, children grow up with the knowledge that any of their parents could become seriously ill or die at any time. But in Britain too, none of us know how long we or our loved ones are going to stay healthy or to live. Before you prepare the children for your own serious illness or death, it might be worth trying to teach them how life is fundamentally uncertain, and that there are many, many children in Britain and around the world going through what they are.

IntotheNittyGritty Sun 19-Jun-11 00:29:04

We have tried to explain what is wrong and what the doctors plan to do, but I don't think they have absorbed the seriousness of the situation. We have decided to take each stage at a time. Children are so accepting so we haven't pushed it too much

Elibean Sun 19-Jun-11 11:51:07

I'm so sorry, Into. Sounds like a nightmarish time for you, to put it mildly. FWIW, I think the way you are handling telling your children, one step at a time, makes total sense - its the only way to keep things simple and honest, too, because it leaves room for unpredictability. They will absorb what they need to, and what they can cope with. If you should need it, I am sure there are professionals who can help them deal with your illness - perhaps someone else can provide more info on that, if you want it.
Meantime, just wishing you the absolute best with treatment and hope you have as much support for yourself as you clearly wish for your children.

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