An adult woman pointing at herself and talking to teddy bear toys.

Explaining Your Illness

How do we go about explaining our situation? Everyone is different in how they dissect the information provided on blood cancer, but what happens when we have to share the details of our illness with other people? What are the best and effective ways to share the news and have an open conversation?

Sharing the news with children

Whether young or old, sharing a life-changing challenge usually affects the whole family. How do we do it with grace, while being very scared? It is not an easy task of sharing the news of cancer. When telling children under the age of 10 it may take some creativity.

There’s no need to speak to a child as though they are a college scholar. They don’t need to be slapped with a dissection of your diagnosis, however, alerting them that mommy and/or daddy are ill and may need to rest or lay down a few times a day, is a step. This is also the time to continuously tell your child how much you love them, and no matter how weak you get, you love them regardless.

Again, it can be a challenge but stressing to a young child that this is scary for mommy and daddy too, will help them not feel alone. Take a time out with them to marinate everything and allow them to ask the most important questions they have while remembering to filter your answers, based on their age.

Older children can typically handle more, but conversations like these prove that age as just a number, as despite their age, it doesn’t make the conversation less daunting. The only difference with speaking with an older child is that they can digest some of the information a little easier. The filter of how specific you need to be on your care and prognosis does not need as high of a filter as that of a younger child.

Don't do it alone!

Of course, the influx of questions is to be expected, but do you need to do this all by yourself? Absolutely not.

Whether it’s your spouse or a close friend that knows more of your circumstance, you can feel free to ask them to assist you in breaking the news. This is not an easy task as most of the time, our loved ones want us to share the information from our own mouths; however, sharing news such as this takes a lot of manpower because the news is like no other. Using your caregiver as a backup for more trying questions is to be considered.

In many cases, you may see a patient bring the whole family to an appointment, not only to show moral support but to get answers from the doctors themselves.

Take a breather

It’s also okay to not get too deep with your conversation and telling your loved ones that you need time to process and relay the information. When you’re mentally ready to speak a bit more about the situation, then you can use that time to do so when you’re ready. It’s also about feeling comfortable in giving this news, as everyone doesn’t process this at the same level, which is understandable because nothing about the “C” word ever leads to a happy-go-lucky experience. All we can do is breathe and let the cards play as they will and take it from there.

The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile….when you feel like it

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