Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - North Mississippi - 26
Are the Kids All Right?
W IN TER 2016
The Silver Lining
Two years after her diagnosis, Perrier finished her surgeries and treatments. Follow-up exams every two years
since have not shown any signs of cancer; she is now 49.
She points to her husband's support as a key factor in coping. "I never felt alone," she says. And friends and family
also made a lasting difference. "Some people reached out
because they wanted to help but couldn't think of a good
way to help. But that counted," she says.
While battling cancer can be overwhelming, survivors
and their families often point to positive outcomes like
better relationships and a new attitude toward life.
"A cancer diagnosis brings into perspective your role
within the family and as a partner," Cannady says. While
stressful, she says, "it's also an opportunity to re-evaluate
your relationships and find ways to grow and bond. A lot
of times people reprioritize, and the illness experience
can be very beneficial for the relationship quality and for
a perspective on life in general." ■
PHOTO BY WESTEND61/GLOW IMAGES
Parents are often unsure about what to tell children
regarding a cancer diagnosis in the family, or how best
Keep your information age-appropriate, but don't shy
away from the word "cancer." Your kids will overhear
it somewhere-from a friend's parent, from neighbors,
when you think they are out of earshot-so it's better that
they hear it from you first. Try to find out what they know
and encourage them to come to you with their questions
Don't forget to talk to your children about their lives
outside of the cancer experience. "When children have
a parent going through serious treatment, they may not
feel as though they can come home and share the normal
struggles of childhood," Cannady says.
On the other hand, giving children age-appropriate
responsibilities can help them feel included. Ask your kids
to do their own laundry or to sit with the family member
who has cancer while you run errands, for example.
From the beginning, be sure to tell your child's school
what's going on. "Teachers are with your kids all day
long," Binda says. "They will see if there are changes or
if kids are acting out."