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What to do when your child has cancer

By Edited Apr 6, 2016 4 8

When we were told that our then 10 year-old son had cancer, it was like being slapped in the face. You don't know what to do or say or how to react. You sit there stunned while everything the doctor says from that point on sounds like static on the TV. Then you are overwhelmed with doctor's appointments, medicine, health risks, immunity issues, concerned family, and so many other things that it's a miracle you get through each day. I want to share with you some of the things that got me through this terrible journey…

1.)Turn to God. My relationship with the Lord became my anchor while the rest of the world became the stormy seas. I could turn to Him in prayer whenever I didn't feel like I could talk to anyone else in my life. I knew I could do it if I let Him take control.

2.) Use every resource you can find. I got on the internet right away and found a great Osteosarcoma Handbook. It had forms where I could keep a record of doctors and their phone numbers and other contact information. There was also a handy section where I could keep a summary of phone conversations and who I talked to in case I needed to refer to it later.

3.) Utilize every financial help you can find. There are so many assistance programs out there for those in need such as Children's Miracle Network, Realtor's For Kids, Shriner's Hospital, and so many other organizations that are there for your use. Don't be afraid to use them or ashamed to take their help. This process is a very expensive one and you don't need to worry about money when there's more important things to think about.

4.) Get a binder set up. I know this sounds a little strange, but get a binder with a notebook and some page protectors in it. You will be handed so many pieces of paper it will make your head spin and they are all important so having them in one place is vital! Also keep an index card with your child's full name, social security number and date of birth on it so that when you are really tired and stressed and a nurse asks you one of these questions, you will have a cheat sheet!

5.) Set up a Caring Bridge page. I can't stress this enough. This will become a source of release and support over the months to come. You will be amazed at the number of people that genuinely care about what is happening with your child each and every day! On this site you post as often as you want to update people on what is happening. DO NOT encourage people to call you because you will need your phone lines open for doctor's phone calls and other important calls.

6.) Keep life as normal as possible for your child. Still give them extra love and attention, but don't spoil them! Once this ordeal is over your child will have to return to the real world and if you have kept them in a bubble during treatment it will be much harder for them to deal with life after cancer.

Whatever you do, don't get too discouraged, this is a marathon and NOT a sprint. My now 12 year old son is cancer free and healthy. We're still dealing with doctors appointments and physical therapy daily but we've come out stronger on the other side. God Bless and stay positive!



Oct 21, 2010 4:43pm
My heart goes out to you. God bless you, your son and your entire family.
Oct 21, 2010 4:48pm
Thank you so much, we really are blessed!
Oct 21, 2010 6:36pm
Hello cyberchica702; You are so right to put God number 1 on your list!! Thank you for sharing something that is sure to help a number of people. I am so happy to read that your 10 year old son is now cancer free, thank God!!!
Oct 21, 2010 6:46pm
We are having an unbelievably blessed year with our son's good health, a new daughter who is now 6 months old and many, many other blessings!
Oct 21, 2010 9:52pm
Yes, G-d bless your family. Caring Bridge is one of the best uses of the internet that I have ever seen. Family and friends can be updated without inundating you with phone calls.
Oct 22, 2010 9:46pm
So glad your son is cancer free. You have some fantastic practical tips here. I used a notebook when I had some health issues, because I didn't always understand what the docs were talking about. If I wrote it down I could figure it out later.
Oct 24, 2010 12:49pm
The tip about the 3X5 card is excellent. My wife and I get so frustrated with the same 3 or 5 questions you get asked any time you go to the hospital. The frustration is that every provider that walks into the room asks you the same information over and over. Can't they coordinate and read what the person before them wrote down?

Glad to hear your son is better. Keep up the encouraging attitude.
Oct 24, 2010 11:29pm
I felt the same way, but we had to get used to it, especially with 3 different teams of doctors and literally, months, in the hospital at a time. Then before they would give him ANY medications or even an ibuprophen, he had to verify his birthdate - it was almost reflex for him to say it whenever someone came into his room!
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