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SueD
SueD Member Posts: 22
edited October 2023 in Newly diagnosed
Hi all,

I have already posted my recent diagnosis story. Still going through the very early stages and I see my breast surgeon for the first time tomorrow. Today has been a bit tough. My son (15) was already suffering from anxiety prior to this diagnosis (although through meds and psychologist he was starting to get better), but it has really sent him in a spiral. He didn't want to attend school today and that was a real battle to get him there. I feel guilty that he is going through this and the problem is that things for me will certainly get worse before they get better (not to be negative, but I don't think the treatment will be a walk in the park) and this will all impact him. He says that when he is at school he cannot focus and I feel so bad for him. He is in Yr 10, but doing accelerated maths (so has started the year 12 component there). With all the anxiety he has had recently his work had already started to go downhill and now with this it is really suffering. My sister is incredibly supportive and positive, but I feel that I am ringing her constantly with my issues and didn't want to share this with her. I know that they want to be there for you, but I don't want to impact other's mental health. This doesn't only affect us, it also affects everyone around us. Does everyone feel like this when first diagnosed? I am sure it gets easier to navigate down the track. Yesterday my son asked if I was dying. It is difficult to answer this, since I don't know whether it has spread or not myself. Obviously, I do not say this to him, but how do others talk to their kids about this?

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  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,801
    edited October 2023
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    @SueD - I am so sorry that your son is having anxiety issues ..... maybe ring our help line today or tomorrow - they may be able to advise you xx ... 1800 500 258 .... 

    Have you contacted the school & let his teachers/headmaster know that he is having anxiety issues .... I am sure they'd have a school counsellor nearby to assist/keep an eye on him xx

    There ARE groups who you can contact who may also be able to help guide you thru this emotional time ... Canteen and Camp Quality are 2 of them ..... your son still fits in the age group for Camp Quality .... and can involve a weekend away at a camp with other young teens who's parent may have cancer ...
    https://www.canteen.org.au/young-people/parent-carer-cancer

    https://www.campquality.org.au/how-we-help/services-and-programs/kids-impacted-by-a-carers-cancer-kicc/

    https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/when-your-parent-has-cancer.pdf

    Some great services mentioned here .... Redkite, Youthbeyondblue, kids helpline and more:
    https://www.cancervic.org.au/cancer-information/children-teens-and-young-adults/talking-to-kids-about-cancer/finding-support-and-information.html

    take care & all the best for meeting with your surgeon tomorrow xx. Don't forget - Take a good buddy with you (as an extra set of ears) and consider recording the appt on your phone, to go over later, if you need to.  It is easy to 'miss bits' at the time xx
  • SueD
    SueD Member Posts: 22
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    Thanks @iserbrown and @arpie. There is some great advice there. I have done some reading today on the suggestions and I think I will point him towards canteen. They have some great articles and support groups. I think talking to other kids in the same boat would certainly be beneficial. I will certainly take someone to my appointment. I am sure it will be a bit overwhelming at first and you do really need another set of ears. The recording is good advice as well. x
  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 94
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    Hi @SueD, I told my teenagers that I have early breast cancer, that I am going to be fine, and then that I was having surgery (thankfully they didn't ask the extent of the surgery as I had a double mastectomy) and now chemotherapy.  They are a bit on the anxious side, but they're doing ok, apart from niggles.  I've been open with them and told them all the basics, but not told them any more detail than necessary if that makes sense.  

    The nurses told me to keep up routine as much as possible.  One daughter is travelling for six weeks on a scholarship and they said to go ahead with that as well, even though when it was offered I was waiting on my staging scans and a bit worried (they came back clear).

    I don't know if anyone mentioned it, but Cancer Council have a booklet 'Talking to Kids about Cancer.'  It recommended letting the school know, but also to check with the kids about doing that.  My daughters asked me to tell selected teachers so that's what I did, and the teachers are going to keep an eye out for them.

    I know it can be hard to get counselling for kids at the moment, but an educational psychologist might be good for your son - we found a lovely one for my daughter a while back, because she was having perfectionist issues with her schoolwork and that got sorted.  Just a thought that there might be overlap with your son being very bright and also anxious.  That is often the case, smart kids think a lot.

    Big hugs and yes you can do this. xo
  • HelenlovesSnoopy
    HelenlovesSnoopy Member Posts: 94
    edited October 2023
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    PS: Sorry I just saw your son already has seen a psychologist etc - I've got chemo brain before even starting it!    H xxx
  • SueD
    SueD Member Posts: 22
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    Thanks Helen, I will certainly get my hands on the cancer cancer pamphlet. You are right about them overthinking. 
    Your comment about the chemo brain cracked me up!! I do feel a bit like that as well, my head is all over the place. 😂