Christine's children were adults when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but sharing the news with them was still difficult.
I felt stunned and confused
When I was first diagnosed, I felt stunned with irrational thoughts of death. I wondered how I was going to tell my children.
The one positive thing was that my breast care nurse gave me the best advice I’ve had, which was: ‘this is your cancer and is unique to you, don’t google or compare it to anyone else’.
My husband was with me at the diagnosis, he was also shocked. We just went and had a coffee and sat in silence. We were on autopilot.
Telling my children was difficult
My children Sarah and Daniel were, at the time, aged 33 and 29. Although adults, to me they are my children - and to them I am their mum, with whom they share thoughts and worries.
My son was coming home for Christmas from London with his girlfriend and my daughter lives locally. I wanted to tell them both at the same time and face to face. When I told them, the day after my diagnosis, they were shocked and upset. However, not once did they look on the dark side. In fact my daughter said that if I lost my hair then I would ‘rock the bald look’, which helped ease the situation!
My family helped me through
My family all played a great part in helping me through my treatment.
At first, my son was in denial and couldn’t bring himself to talk to me about it. My daughter talked to him about his feelings and that helped a lot – they are very close and this made them even more so.
My granddaughter was five at the time and she was great with the situation. I explained to her that I had cancer and that I was having ‘magic put into my body which would make my hair fall out but would make cancer go away’. As with all children, she took it at face value and when she had a question I would give her an honest answer.
My advice to other mothers in this situation is to try to be honest and open and discuss it with your children. If they are young, then get help and advice on how to talk to them.
Need to talk to someone? Our breast care nurses and highly trained staff on our free and confidential Helpline are here for you, your family and friends. So, whether you have been diagnosed with breast cancer yourself, or have questions about a loved one- we’re ready to listen. Call 0808 800 6000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org