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Dealing with young children

dwb67
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2006

I am recovering from kidney cancer. It has been 2 years since it was first discovered and 18 months since it was treated by having my kidney removed. Everything has been going well until my last visit. Something might be in my lungs. I am wrestling with a delima and am looking for input.

I have two wonderful daughters. They are 9 and 7. I sometimes feel as if I should find some way to discuss that Dad has cancer. To this point I have not discussed anything with them and my wife doesn't even want the word mentioned around them. The other day, my oldest daughter asked about what cancer was. It was hard to try to explain to her. She was asking in general (i am pretty sure). Are there any other parents of young children that are in the early stages (1 or 2 years) of recovery? I am interested to know how you are dealing with the illness and recovery in your family.

Please, understand that I want to not hurt my kids, but on the other hand I don't want them to feel like I was not being honest. I hope that there is someone out there that understands and can contribute.

CarolynR
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2006

dwb67,
First of all, let me say that I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this. I, too, had kidney cancer and had a kidney removed. This was several years ago and at the same time I had 3 malignant breast tumors, a benign brain tumor, a spinal tumor which was benign and a scalp tumor which was malignant and benign liver granulomas. Our children were 13, 10 and 5 at the time. My husband had to sit down with them and discuss our situation 3 different times during the 18 months I was sick. The first time he took them all out to a fun place and then tried to talk about it. Needless to say, now he says that was a really bad idea. From then on, he would sit down with the two older ones and try to explain it on their level as best as possible that I was sick again and the doctors would be doing all they could to make me well as soon as possible. I will say that our two girls, the older ones, matured very quickly because of what we went through, but they are now 26 and 23 and are wonderful young women. My son, who is almost 18 does not have a lot of memories of that time and I think that is best. My husband did let him know that I was sick, but did not go into any real details because of his age.

I hope and pray the problem in your lungs turns out to be nothing or if it is something, it can be taken care of quickly.

CarolynR

carolinafans
Posts: 8
Joined: Dec 2004

HI,

My husband had his kidney removed 3 years ago for stage 2 renal cell carcinoma. Our son and daughter were 10 and 7 at the time and we told them pretty much everything as it happened. I read an article (in a magazine in the urologist office that fateful day) about how children handle serious illnesses in the family. The article was saying that it becomes obvious to the kids that something serious is going on and the kids will imagine dangers that are worse than the actual illness. We had one scare about 6 months after surgery when a lymph node in his neck was swolen but all turned out well. We did not tell the kids about the scan on the lymph node. We decided not to have them worry when it would probably be nothing. We are currently in the midst of the 3 year tests and blood work was good, and he will have the scan tomorrow. The kids know when he has his test once a year and are able to celebrate with us.

It is hard with the kids to decide if/what to tell them. We found our daughter at 7 was a great comfort by reassuring us all would be fine. Our son (who would like to be a doctor someday) asked many questions- even if he could see the kidney! They did have tears with us but were able to laugh with us as well. I think today that if he were to have a test because of a suspicion, we would not tell them until we knew the definite answer. I myself find the waiting for the unknown hard to deal with. Kids are resilient but I would let my heart and prayers be my guide. Hope all is well and our prayers are with you.

lisa37
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2004

I was diagnosed in May of 2004. I was stage 2 renal cell carcinoma. They did a partial nephrectomy of my right kidney on June 7, 2004. My kids at the time were 17 and 14. I talked to them and told them I would be honest with them about everything. I would not keep anything from them. We had previously lost other members of our family to cancer. For us, it was the right decision. My kids are wonderful. Now, they were scared, but my being honest with them and telling them everything every step of the way was the best thing I did. They are now 21 and 18. From day one they took care of me and were my protectors. We are so close. I know it's a hard decision, but think it through. You know your children. And you will decide the right thing to do. Good luck. My prayers are with all of you. I am now 3 years and 7 months cancer free. One more year to make my 5 years, seems like yesterday I was being told the news of the caner. Keep the Faith, you'll know what to do.

lisa37
Posts: 4
Joined: Dec 2004

I was diagnosed in May of 2004. I was stage 2 renal cell carcinoma. They did a partial nephrectomy of my right kidney on June 7, 2004. My kids at the time were 17 and 14. I talked to them and told them I would be honest with them about everything. I would not keep anything from them. We had previously lost other members of our family to cancer. For us, it was the right decision. My kids are wonderful. Now, they were scared, but my being honest with them and telling them everything every step of the way was the best thing I did. They are now 21 and 18. From day one they took care of me and were my protectors. We are so close. I know it's a hard decision, but think it through. You know your children. And you will decide the right thing to do. Good luck. My prayers are with all of you. I am now 3 years and 7 months cancer free. One more year to make my 5 years, seems like yesterday I was being told the news of the caner. Keep the Faith, you'll know what to do.

AndrewDer's picture
AndrewDer
Posts: 10
Joined: Feb 2007

For whatever it is worth, my children were 11 and 13 when I had my kidney out (July 2006 - see my more recent posts) and told them only that I am having the kidney out becasue it is not uncommon for adults to need extra uneeded things removed as they get older and they act up - made it sound like appendicitus. Since the prognosis is very good, I felt there is no reason to worry them with the C word. Especially since my daughter was in the phase of wondering about mortality issues and needing re-assurance I will be around. My son is a typical guy - doesn't discuss feelings if he doesn't have to but we are still very close and I know him intimately.

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