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Life-limiting illness

Daughters Granny has cancer...

5 replies

Purplerain067 · 17/02/2017 11:18


I have a 5 year old daughter from a previous relationship, her father isn't great, but her Granny (his Mum) is wonderful. She has been there for my daughter from the day she was born, they have a lovely relationship and she spends time with her EOW and in the school holidays.

However she rang me a few weeks ago and told me she has cancer. I couldn't quite believe it and didn't know what to say. The cancer is advanced and has spread to her lungs. I'm not sure what the options are for her in terms of treatment? (I know she is due to start chemo soon) Or if this advanced type of cancer is curable? Both are questions I did not feel I could ask as she is obviously very upset. I have been looking online at cancer research uk etc. and statistics don't look very positive.

I'm so very upset by all of this, but feel I am just carrying on as usual and not being very helpful. She is a very strong woman and has told me she feels well and wants to continue the arrangement of my daughter staying there EOW. I send her photos inbetween this and wish her well for appointments etc. I just dont really mention it- not sure whether this is right or wrong.

My worry is that once she starts chemo in a few weeks is that she is not going to feel up to this and that my daughter is going to notice that theres something wrong? Do I tell her that Granny is poorly or keep it from her and hope her Granny stays well? Im so worried that my DD is so young and won't remember her Granny if the worst was to happen. I also worry about the relationship between my DD and her Dad and extended family, as Granny is the one who deals with this.

I don't really know what to do for the best or how to support my DD and her Granny.

Any advice is appreciated!

OP posts:
Chasingsquirrels · 17/02/2017 14:38

@Purplerain067 sorry to read this.

Can you talk more to Granny?
If she is near enough can you go round, without dd, to talk rather than over the phone?
Are their other family members you could talk to?
Get an idea of the prognosis and time scales plus treatment etc?
That will put you in a better position to then talk to your dd.

If it advanced and had spread it's less likely to be curable. But Granny will have more information.

My DH has cancer and had chemo last summer, everyone responds differently - but he wouldn't have been in a position to look after a small child at certain points in the chemo cycle.
His has now spread to his lungs and he's been given a 3-6 month prognosis and at the moment is in no position to look after himself never mind a small child.

Lweji · 17/02/2017 14:41

So sorry. :(

I think I'd tell her that granny is ill (it could be anything), but you don't have to tell her yet how serious it is.

Even if she won't be for weekend visits, could you take your DD to visit her, so that she keeps her memories and in contact?
And ask her what she suggests in relation to the other family members. She knows them and may have good ideas.

Purplerain067 · 17/02/2017 21:19

Thank you both for your replies.

Chasingsquirrels- So sorry to hear of your husband Sad
There are no other family members to talk to, I don't have a brilliant relationship with DD's DF. I did go round a few days later and tried to ask more whilst my DD was with her Grandad but she really didn't say much and what she did say was very broad. She did say the doctor said majority of patients with the type and stage of cancer she has come in very poorly, whereas she feels "well". I am going over during half term so will try and get some more information then. Its so hard to know whether to talk to my DD about it when I don't know much myself.

Lweji- Its a good idea to visit with my DD, because things weren't great between me and her DF I tended to drop her off and leave, but it doesnt have to stay like that (he is rarely there anyway). I will definitely continue to visit and keep the memories going.

I don't feel I can ask about other family members or what she wants me to tell DD as I don't want her to think that she won't survive as I haven't been told any different, if that makes sense?

Such a horrible situation.

OP posts:
junebirthdaygirl · 17/02/2017 21:27

She sounds like a lovely supportive lady so all you can do now is offer her the same love and support. Just take it a step at a time. Tell your dd she is not well and get her to make her little cards and continue to send her pictures and messages.

NoSquirrels · 21/02/2017 09:30

My Mum has stage 4 cancer. We've been very lucky and it's been 3 years since diagnosis. She has been very poorly at points, and very well at others. My DC and their cousins are pretty young, and we haven't told them anything other than basic facts to explain certain issues e.g. "Grandma's got a bad back/hips so she has to use the crutches/wheelchair", - they have been very accepting.

My FIL has advanced end-stage lung cancer. He is now in hospice. Again, we have just told the DC "Grandad isn't very well at the moment so he's in hospital", "The doctors are trying to make him feel better." Again, so far, very accepting.

My mum would HATE the idea of her DGC knowing she had a life-limiting/terminal disease. She wouldn't want them to worry, and she wants life to go on as normally as possible, with adjustments obviously for tiredness levels or activities. My FIL is a bit more, - I can't word this without it sounding mean, and I don't wish it to but truthfully he is more self-centred and it has definitely been more about his diagnosis/hospital appts/prognosis and hard to get him to remember not to talk about it in front of the DC. But they are still sheltered from the reality, even now they have visited him in hospice and he is clearly quite confused and poorly.

If I were to be asked a direct question about him dying, I would answer truthfully. But in my experience, the direct question hasn't come yet, and we have been on this road for a while. We've avoided any mention of the word cancer.

Be guided by how much your DD's GM wishes to share. It sounds like she's more like my mum, and would prefer life to go on as normal with adjustments. Keep her involved in DD's life, but I should think EOW is a lot and perhaps best to be a bit more flexible with arrangements. Be guided by her, but keep your DD's best interests in the forefront.

Flowers for you all.

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