Carol has four children (between 6 and 11 years old). But it was her oldest daughter who was most aware of the possibility of dying.
They had a lot of pamphlets, a lot of books; one of them was how to help my children through this which was a big thing for me. I didn’t want them to be too scarred by all of this. But in the end, I didn’t even… There was a book that I could read to them, but the kids are very resilient and very okay. They were okay, my oldest one probably understood more the implications of breast cancer and the fact that in theory I could die. So she was probably the most affected by it and the younger ones just wanted to know about my hair and how I was going to lose my hair and then they said “Okay, can I have lunch now?” And that was really the end of it.
I think my husband and I both tried to just tell them that I’m sick and I won’t feel well sometimes but everything’s okay. That’s just the way it is and it’s going to be like this for a little while but there’s nothing to worry about. And for the most part they haven’t worried.
Interviewer: And did you give them all the same message because they have this age range or how did you manage that?
You can’t give them the same message because they don’t understand it in the same way. So my older one I really I told her the truth and all of it. That I had to do chemo and what the chemicals were going to do to me and in my body. But I just tried to reassure her that I wasn’t going to die. I was going to get very sick but it would be okay. And then my younger ones, I just said mommy was sick and sometimes I wasn’t going to feel good but that it would be okay afterwards. That they just had to be patient with mommy when she wasn’t feeling well. And they’ve been okay, they’ve been good with it. They’ve been good with it, I think sometimes they kind of forget and I have to say “I’m really not feeling well and I can’t do that.” And they go “Oh! Okay.”
- Chemotherapy – CarolCarol felt very sick after the first chemotherapy, so the nurses advised her to take the anti-nausea medication for the next round.
- Chimiothérapie – CarolCarol a été très malade après son premier traitement de chimiothérapie. Les infirmières lui ont alors conseillé de prendre les médicaments contre la nausée pour le second traitement.
- Finding and sharing information – CarolCarol stopped searching on the Internet as she found the range of information too wide.
- Understanding the diagnosis – CarolCarol describes how medical breast cancer knowledge has increased but she is not fully reassured; there is still this knowing in her head that it could possible come back.
- Talking to children about cancer – CarolCarol has four children (between 6 and 11 years old). But it was her oldest daughter who was most aware of the possibility of dying.
- Physical activity and diet changes – CarolCarol sometimes found it hard to maintain a healthy diet, especially with kids and while feeling tired.
- Follow-up care and the risk of recurrence – CarolCarol had been told that she would be closely watched for 10 years. She felt this was a long time to live in a state of fearfulness.
- How it affects family and friends – CarolIt is not a big deal for Carol to go out in her local community.