Getting a cancer diagnosis is scary enough as an adult, but if you’re the parent of a child with a cancer diagnosis, it can be even more frightening. Because children have a weaker immune system in the first place, the side effects of chemotherapy and other cancer drugs can pose an even greater risk to kids. Combine the demands of school with medical costs, and a childhood cancer diagnosis can be both stressful and disruptive to the life you’ve been building for your child. Here are a few strategies for how you can help your child cope with the reality of their cancer diagnosis.
Seek out a licensed therapist
Therapy can be a crucial component of coping with any traumatic event and a cancer diagnosis certainly qualifies as a reason to speak with a therapist. While some families choose to go to therapy sessions as a family unit, it may also be helpful to look into finding a child psychiatrist in New York or wherever you live who’s capable of working one on one with your son or daughter. Many times a dual approach may also make sense since it allows everyone in the family to find some guidance and clarity about the situation. You and your spouse may also want to consider couple’s therapy so that you can work through things without your child in the room. Dealing with the uncertainty of a childhood cancer diagnosis can be anxiety-inducing, and having someone to help you discuss and examine your feelings can be a major boon when it comes to dealing with the stress.
Find treatment options that work for your child
Most children don’t like being in a hospital or doctor’s office in the first place, but for kids facing cancer that discomfort can be even greater. Even routine blood work and MRI scans can feel intrusive and induce stress in your young one, so finding a hospital that offers some comfort can be a big win in your child’s fight against cancer. This could include using a full-body MRI machine from Ezra, which offers a less-invasive way to scan for and detect cancer. It may also mean requesting the nurses who have the best rapport with your child when it’s time to take blood samples. Tailoring the right treatment option for your child can make a world of difference when you consider the emotional and physical weight of battling cancer.
Connect with charities that spread hope
Another way to find hope during such a trying time is by connecting with local and national charities. Institutions like the Make a Wish Foundation are a great resource for sparking joy in the face of traumatic medical diagnoses, and the Dear Jack Foundation specifically focuses on adolescent and young adult cancer. There are a variety of benefits that come from these charities, from providing financial assistance to offering a sense of community. In the midst of such a trying time, these resources can offer a major lifeline to children and families struggling with cancer. Take a look at the local charities in your community to see what opportunities exist for you and your child as you formulate a strategy to cope with cancer together.
Nobody wants to face a cancer diagnosis alone, and by using the above resources, you can get the help you need to find strength even when it’s difficult. Keep in mind that even small changes in hospitals can make a big impact on how your child deals with the reality of battling cancer, and connecting with medical resources and charities will help you maintain hope during a trying time.