Through my diagnosis, we have learned many lessons… First and foremost we learned the importance of family and friends. Many people ask how we got through such a difficult time, and our response has always been our amazing support system. People helped in any way they could; gift baskets, homemade meals, cards, and many positive thoughts and prayers.
However, I think one of the most amazing things we learned during this process is the resiliencies that a child possess in the diagnosis of a family member’s cancer diagnosis. As many of you know, Bryce was three years old at the time of my diagnosis. Just as we described in our reasoning for writing the book, one of the first thoughts that crosses your mind is how are we going to tell him? At first, we thought that maybe we don’t say anything at all, but we quickly learned that a child is very perceptive. They soon realize that something doesn’t seem quite right; Why is daddy tired?, where did all of his hair go?, why do we go to the hospital so much now?
When we told Bryce of daddy’s cancer, we expected many questions – which we got, inspired through the book, but what we weren’t expecting was how resilient Bryce was after he learned about my cancer diagnosis.
Bryce understood so much more than we expected, and even after such a heavy-hearted conversation, he continued to be the amazing boy we always knew. Bryce was able to move past the word “cancer” that we were so afraid to tell him.
Through my treatment, it was like he “just knew.” He just knew when daddy was tired and couldn’t play as much. And then on the days that I was feeling well, he would ask to wrestle on the floor and sing and dance before bedtime.
We get asked a lot by families on how they should tell their children of a family member’s diagnosis. We always that tell them that they know their family best and what they are capable of understanding given the situation they are faced with, but as we shared in our experience, you may be amazed with their resilience.