Learning your child has cancer creates an emotional rollercoaster for you and other family members. As treatment continues, it's common for emotions to stabilize. While life is never quite the same, a "new normal" will develop.
Some effective ways to deal with your emotions during this difficult time are as follows:
- Give yourself permission to experience both positive and negative feelings and remember they are normal.
- Educate yourself about your child’s diagnosis and treatment.
- Since no one knows your child better than you do, become an active member of his/her treatment team.
- Recognize which areas of your child’s life can be controlled and which cannot.
- Understand that some questions may not have answers.
- Find ways to express your feelings.
- Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep, eat properly, and exercise.
- Learn to accept help and support from others.
- Find a relaxing hobby like crocheting, knitting or woodworking.
- Spend time with your other children.
- Learn relaxation techniques, how to pace yourself and set priorities.
- Join a support group or talk with a friend, counselor or clergy member.
- Keep a journal. Record special moments, both happy and sad.
If you are having continued difficulty coping with your child’s diagnosis and/or treatment, speak with the healthcare professionals at your child’s hospital. Seeing a counselors is always helpful and can be located through professional organizations, such as the National Association of Social Workers at naswdc.org or the American Counseling Association or 1-800-347-6647. In addition, The National Children's Cancer Society offers emotional support at: 1-800-532-6459.