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What to tell the kids

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2012

It isn't my place, since I am only the grandmother. My daughter is the one with the cancer, and she is understandably protective of her kids, ages 12 and 14. I want to tell them they can talk to me about it, and let them know I value them enough to include them in the discussion, but I don't want to go against my daughter's wishes or take away her chance to tell them in her own way. They obviously know that she is doing chemo every 3 weeks, and that she has side effects from that, plus she has lost weight and vitality. But I don't think they really understand that this is not a winnable fight.

In lieu of the frank discussion, I am trying my best to bring joy into their lives, all the while letting them know that I am there for them for anything, trivial or not. Is that enough?

Posts: 1607
Joined: Aug 2012

We are in a similar situation....my husband is 46 and diagnosed stage 4 in August and given that horrible timeline too. Kids are 15 12 and 1! We told them it was stage 4 and the doctors are doing the best they can and my husband is fighting as hard as he can....but it would be life shortening. Only God knows how life shortening. I don't want them stressing about it everyday....if things get bad they'll see it and well decide what to say then.

I hope your daughter does well and proves those doctors wrong. Just be there for her and the kids....they arent stupid...they will know if things worsen but let them be kids and enjoy mom now.

geotina's picture
Posts: 2123
Joined: Oct 2009

Has the doctor said it is not a winnable fight? You never know what the future holds so personally I would leave that part out. Your daughter will tell her children what she wants them to know.

It is wonderful that you are there for your grandchildren. Your daughter will have days when she just doesn't have the energy to run around with the kids and thats where you as a grandma can step in, drive them where they need to go, pick up some groceries, help with the laundry, get some meals together that you know they like, in other words try to keep their lives as normal as possible allowing them to do all the things that 12 and 14 year olds do. This will take a lot of pressure off your daughter and a lot of stress off the kids.

Leave any frank discussions up to your daughter. She will take care of that in her own way and in her own timeframe.

Take care - Tina

Brenda Bricco
Posts: 579
Joined: Aug 2011

Yes, I think you are doing a wonderful job of being there for the children.
I would let the parents handle it how ever they handle it... their way may not be the way you or I would choose but I just think you should let them be the parents while you continue to be the wonderful Grandma you are. If you step in, you could end up straining your relationship with your daughter (sounds like time may be limited) so I would hate to think that you put a wedge between you two costing you precious time with your family. You can bet that the kids know something serious is going on but maybe they are taking their cues from the parents-not worrying about something they can't control and enjoying life as normal as possible.
GOD bless you and your family.

herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

and not expected to make it, and the doc's have done all they can (which I'm assuming hasn't happened since she's doing CHEMO, which means they think they can HELP give her more time, perhaps, months, or perhaps like in my case so far, two extra years and counting)then it's premature to give the kids the idea that's it's not winnable.
I'm pretty sure your daughter in fighting with chemo and giving it all she's got to survive, isn't thinking that this isn't winnable. I'm pretty sure she'll give it her all for her children, to stay with them as long as possible, to try and beat this terrible disease.
I think the frank discussion may be pretty premature and inappropriate at this time.
So please, bring joy into their lives, and don't smother your daughter too much that she can't still bring joy into their lives as well.
And be there encouraging your daughter and giving HOPE for her future with her children. Not all of us die from this, quite a few get to live for years and years and years. Perhaps your daughter will be one of them.
Winter Marie

joemetz's picture
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2011

thanks for your post... this is a difficult topic and equally difficult to read the older posts from such a long time ago.

personally speaking, those kids are 12 and 14... my question would be pretty simple... do they have access to the internet?

if the answer is YES, then i guarantee they have already done some research and they know a whole lot more than anyone thinks.

have the kids gone to Chemo treatments with her?
that would be the first step.

its time to be super open with those kids.

again... that's my opinion.

as a Dad of 4 kids ages 21, 19, 16 and 12... they were all a year younger when i was dx'd and within hours of my news... they had already read up on the topic.

your thinking is correct. Help them any way you can.

Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3372
Joined: Jan 2010

If by "not winnable" you mean there is not a cure, then yes you are right...at least for today.

I can understand that you, and even your daughter, may feel this is not a winnable fight, but don't give up hope. There are many folks who have been dealing with a cancer diagnosis and the worst it has to offer and are still here years later being treated as if they have a chronic disease.

If the kids know she has chemo, then they probably also understand that she has cancer without being told. There is no reason to tell them how bad the odds seem.

If there comes a time when the end seems to be approaching, then stand with your daughter as she tells them.

Right now, keep doing what you are doing to help make life as normal as possible for the kids and to help ease the burden from your daughter.

My best wishes for you all,

Marie who loves kitties

Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

Agree that the kids add Another difficult dimension to manage. Have a five and eight year old myself and our approach is to tell them what we a solute lay know and what they need to now to allay doubts and questions they inevitably have but to rotect them from the more unpleasant uncertainties such as length of time, death etc. those we felt we would face with them when they became certainties.

Your grand kids are older and undoubtably more aware and knowledgable. It is up to the parents though but perhaps talking to your daughter about how she wants to play ESP if they raise questions may be an idea.ultimatley your role is more for support to family and it sounds like you are doing that well,


WinneyPooh's picture
Posts: 318
Joined: Jul 2009

The kid are old enough to be told everything, my kids were 3 and 6 when i had NHL ( non hodgekins lymphoma ) and even at three my girl understood mommy may not make it, rectal cancer they were 15 and 17 and I told them it all and they get mad when I don't tell them. Kid want to know, they need to know and understand, if they are kept in the dark, they feel left out like maybe some one does not love them enough to tell them the truth. This is how my kid feel and they have let me know I am not allowed to keep secrets or candy caot anything. So my advice is ask them not this board and they will tell you how much they can handle.
Living the dream ( of Cancer) time is no guarentee but I am here 3 years longer than anyone said i would be. and you will be to.


Kathleen808's picture
Posts: 2361
Joined: Jan 2009

It sounds like you are a wonderful grandmother. I think others have guided you correctly in encouraging you to continue in the love and support role. Our parents have been incredible during the past 4 years. They have been here for my husband and I and also for our kids.

I agree that it is 100% up to the parents what they tell the kids. You respecting this and continuing to love on everyone will do so much for your daughter's family.

Our daughter was 14 when Dick was diagnosed with stage 3. She knows he has been battling cancer for most of the past 4 years but she has not feared him dieing in the short term. We told her that we would let her know if things start looking like time may be getting short. The truth is we have no idea how long Dick will be with us but he is planning on it being a long time. (He is currently studying for his Master's Degree).

Best to your family.


tachilders's picture
Posts: 313
Joined: Jun 2012

Our approach is similar with our 6 kids (ages 15-4). They know I have colon cancer and that it is serious, but for now we are living a very "normal" life, mainly due to the fact that I am handling chemo well and pretty much do everything like before my diagnosis in June 2012 (including working full time). When that changes, we will have to have another talk with the kids about the future, but for now, we don't dwell on it and live as normal a life as possible.


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