Wolo Foundation

Helping Families Through Cancer #weonlyliveonce

We struggled to tell our children about the cancer diagnosis.

We tried to make the experience as positive as possible for the children.

We’ve always been honest with our children, at the time of diagnosis the twins were 9 and our youngest was 5. As a family, we have been in and out of hospital most of their lives, so for us we wanted to make the visits to the hospital a positive experience for them, as that was what they have ever known from visits and appointments in the past.

I knew they’d be less scared if they understood.
It was only fair to explain things to our children. It’s the way we wanted them to learn and come to terms with the situations they face. When they got home from school, we sat them down and told them about the cancer diagnosis. We explained what cancer was, and that none of us caused it. We also told them that the doctors had said they could treat mum with medicine, surgery and X-rays. We gave them big hugs and answered their many questions. And yes they did say is mummy going to die! We told them we hoped we would be with them for a very long time.

We all need timeout
We all need a break at some point. I remember updating the school with the situation and we randomly booked a few days away in the The Cotswolds. We stayed in a lovely place called Lower Mill Estate Habitat Escapes. Couldn’t recommend the place enough. Loads to do from bike rides, swimming, walks and not to forget the lovely spa. Can’t tell you how important it is to take a break from life and be together as ‘ONE’ a family unit. We all had fun and lots of smiles. The time together made us all feel that can get through anything together.

We were able to celebrate together
When having treatment. Many cycles of chemotherapy, followed by a several operations and lymph node removal. Then did a course of radiotherapy. In the following days, weeks and months, we continued to tell the children about the upcoming treatments – how long they would last, what would be done to Mummy, and how it was going to help. When there were complications, we were honest with our disappointment and anger at the situations we were all in. After a year we had my review, and was told I was ‘cancer free’, and we celebrated together as a family!

Tips for telling children about cancer

Be honest
Make sure that you’re calm as you explain the diagnosis and treatment options, but be honest about how you feel. Children will react to your emotions and they’ll know when you’re hiding things. They may find it harder to trust what you say if they think that you are not telling them the truth.

Tell them early on
We told our children when mum found a lump that she was going to have some tests and that we would tell them the results when we knew them. They knew from experience that we would be honest with them and trusted that we weren’t trying to hide what was happening.

Follow their lead
Our children has always lapped up any medical information that we’ve given them and used it to help them process their feelings.

Keep them informed
We told the children about the diagnosis when we found out and continued to communicate at every stage of the treatment and subsequent check-ups and reviews.

Mini Breaks
Try and book some days away when you all and spend quality time together and make some memories

Positive
It’s so important not get down and worry about the future. Must try and live in the here and now and inspire your children to be brave and inspire there friends. Maybe one day they will say “ my mum had cancer and she’s fine now”


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Family is the greatest gift.
Make some memories the weekend.

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