One of the hardest thing that a person may have to face is the diagnosis of cancer. Your life is changed forever as are the lives of those of your family and friends. The adults will decide among themselves how they can best deal with the situation and what will be necessary for them in order to continue with their lives and the lives of the family members. Each adult then moves into their personal coping mechanism in order to deal with this crisis. But, what happens to the children whose parent has been diagnosed with cancer? Well, just ask Maya Silver and her father Marc Silver who authored the book “My Parent Has Cancer And It Really Sucks“.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate what these two have done to help other kids and teens who found themselves in a similar situation. The young ones are often told that their parent has cancer and how it will affect their life from the aspect of having to do more to help at home and perhaps having to cut back on the activities in which they participate. If the parent with cancer is a financial contributor to the household income, they may also be told that they will have to give up a lot more when it comes to many other things in their life. They are told what is going on, what it will be like going forward and what they will have to do but that is it. The adults return to deal with the situation overall and whatever they can do on a personal basis to handle things and the children are left to obey without anyone understanding how this cancer diagnosis is affecting them on an individual basis.
This book contains real life advice from real life young people. These contribution from young ones starting at about the age of 10 through the teens are how these children felt and with what they had to deal. They talk about how their lives changed at home including being forced to grow up very quickly in some cases or how they pretty much were ignored in the flurry of what was happening to the cancer patient. But, also, they are having to deal with their peers and heaven knows what that can be like with kids that age. If I was a 13 year old and some of those around me were laughing at my mom because she had no hair, I know how badly I would feel and I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of how to handle that. And the last thing that I would do would be to tell my mom or anyone else because I would feel that they have more than enough to handle with the cancer itself.
After having read the words of Maya and the other young people, I believe that not only should the children of those diagnosed with cancer have a copy of this book at their disposal but also the parents of these young people should read it, too. For the children, they find out that they are not alone, that others their age have had to deal with cancer, too, and they are offered ideas about how they can deal with a lot of the new situations that they will face. For the parents, they will understand what those young ones are facing, how they are feeling and what they will be needing in order to make it through these trying times, too.
There is no way to know how every single child will react to being given the news that a parent has cancer. The fear that their parent may die may be one of the primary reactions and what they do in response to that feeling alone can vary from moment to moment and day to day and that is only the beginning. But, having a reference written by one of their peers which includes stories of how others of their age have reacted when given some of these same types of situations will give everyone a place to start their conversations.
This book also brings an awareness to the adults that there is more work that needs to be done with and for the children when they are presenting them with the information about the cancer. In addition, once the initial conversation is done, that does not mean that the children can be pushed aside to do as they are told and ignored in the light of dealing with the disease. Children need to be able to talk to their parents about how they are feeling, with regard to dealing with the feedback received from others, how to deal with those in charge at school, what the different treatments are (if they care to know) and how best to deal with how they are feeling.
I believe that every household with children should have access to this book. It answers more questions than I would have ever considered myself and it puts a perspective on the importance of how this disease changes everyone’s life. But, most importantly, it focuses on the need for everyone to come together to help each other and support each other in order to make it through the tough times. It also reminds us that if we always consider each other and respect each other and work together, we can get through anything that life brings our way – including cancer.