Talking to children about cancer


My daughter was 2 ½ years old when I had my first surgery and I was very honest with her. I used the words that you must use with a two and a half years old, and in her two and a half years old mind she understood what she wanted to understand. Also, I involved her a lot in my care. I had… I didn’t hide my dressings, I didn’t hide my medications. I was explaining to her; she was asking questions and I was explaining to her the best way that I could. I didn’t want my daughter to be afraid of the sickness. So to me, it is important to demystify for the kids that we still can live with cancer. When I was young, cancer for me meant death, but now for me it doesn’t mean that. It is a sickness that I have; I don’t know when I will die. But nobody knows when they will die. Yes, I have medications, I have treatments, I am tired, I have side effects and all that. I have symptoms… And my daughter understands that her mommy lives with that, it is part of our daily life. Mommy is tired and must rest, she respects that. I brought my daughter to radiotherapy treatments to see what it was like. Because I had some in 2010 and also in 2012, and in 2013, so she progressed in all that.  She also learned that her mother could also live with that. It doesn’t prevent me from doing things with her, she understands that. She also understands that her mommy cannot work and that… it may be… it is because of the sickness, so… But I am saying to myself that I am there at least when she comes back from school. I am at home and I am present. I am lucky to have a child that is very autonomous, she is very curious, very lively. I know that it is not the same for everybody. I believe that my daughter also helped me a lot in all that. If I didn’t have a kid to take care of, maybe I would have had a bigger depression. To have to get up in the morning for a child, make breakfast; the child is depending on you. So somewhere the choice is: “I am going through the day with my child or I have to call someone.” And that someone is not available or… So I decided that first I was going to take care of my daughter. I take care of myself too. She understands that it is important that her mother takes care of herself. So we set out our priorities.

View profile