Friday 16 August 2019

My Breast Cancer Journey - Telling the kids I have cancer

I'm sure that I've gone through many of the same stages that anyone diagnosed with cancer has, including denial, anger, grief and acceptance.

But telling the kids I have Breast Cancer is by far one of the hardest things I have had to do on this journey so far. The feeling of actual pain I felt when I told the kids really hurt me it, it was worse than any physical pain I have felt it was heartbreaking to know it was going to hurt them and this was something I couldn't protect them from.

When I have told people that the kids know that I have Breast cancer most are surprised, a lot of people think I didn't have to tell them or that I shouldn't have told them, nothing is ever that black and white, Kids have a radar they know when something is going on, they know when people are telling them to leave rooms or whispering in corners, which causes them to be anxious and they begin second-guessing which is natural and is exactly what happened with my children, this is also the reason I decided to be as open and as honest as I possibly could with them.

flowers breast cancer my journey

I found Adam sat at the bottom of the stairs tears rolling down his little cheeks I had to ask him several times what was the matter before he managed to mutter, I don't want you to have an operation mummy, it broke me at that point I didn't know what to say, I hadn't prepared to have to explain myself to a seven-year-old, that although mummy looked very well, mummy was very sick, for a moment time stood still, I put my arms around him and picked him up, sat him on my knee I cuddled him, while I composed myself trying not to let him see that I was going to cry. I held him for a while and told him that I would talk to him and Liam (my 9 year old) later and for now to try not to worry, mummy would talk to them both when the babies had gone to bed, maybe I should have spoken to him then, but I needed to prepare and think about exactly what and how I was going to tell them both I just needed a bit more time.

later that evening I sat them both down, I made them put down there games consoles and listen I told them I had cancer, I told them I had cancer in my boobie - this they could understand there was a little giggle between them - of course, the word boobie and boys of seven and nine are bound to have a giggle, Liam looked at me and said I know what cancer is mummy its a rogue cell isn't it mummy and if it spreads somewhere else you will die, Adam said are you going to die, mummy,?

I told them that I was going to try my hardest to get better, I wish I could have promised them I was going to get better I am 90% positive I am of course going to get better and Cancer isn't going to beat me, but I can't promise them because I don't know.

I explained to them that most importantly they couldn't catch it and if they wanted to ask me any questions they could, I also explained I would have to go to the hospital, maybe stay for a few days whilst they took my boobie away to get rid of cancer which is a nasty bug. I also might have to have more medicine after my operation because cancer sometimes takes more than just an operation to get rid of, I also told them we could talk more about once I knew what medicine (if any fingers crossed) that I would have to have.

They both seemed to take in what I was telling them well the boys were as alright as they would ever be about the situation and you know I felt a sense of relief, relief that it was out in the open, relief that they could openly talk about it.

I wasn't prepared for the next day - I wasn't prepared for the four-year-old Jack to ask me mummy do you have cancer? the boys had been talking and he had overheard.

When I had told the older two boys the night before I had just got it into my head that the twins and Jack were too young to understand and there was absolutely no point in me telling them - now here I was looking into the big green eyes of my baby boy wondering what I was going to say - I nodded and said yes Jack mummy has got cancer.

I wasn't prepared for the question nor his reaction he burst into tears I couldn't stop myself before I knew it I was crying with him, I said to him its a really nasty bug Jack but the hospital and doctors are going to look after mummy he pointed at me and said which one has the nasty bug mummy and I pointed to my left side, he then said I thought cancer would make you dead - now I don't think he quite understands the concept of dead but I explained again mummy was going to try her very bestest to get better so we could keep having lots of fun. He nodded and said don't worry mummy I will look after you and with that he was gone playing with his cars.

I should never have underestimated Jack but honestly I thought when I told the oldest two boys he was just too little to understand and take any of it in - I was wrong but I'm glad now we can deal with things as a family if one of the boys are feeling sad or I'm feeling sad and unwell we can talk things through.

If they're scared or need to tell me how they're feeling at least they don't feel like they can't or they are not allowed to talk about Cancer, they know that its not their fault, children often think if they listen to something that they shouldn't have they will be in trouble and hold onto their thoughts and feelings and of course I don't want them to feel guilty or feel like they carry a burden of keeping a secret.

It is the best decision that I have made to get it all out in the open but not an easy conversation to have and Jack now tells complete strangers in the street my mummy has cancer but kids will be kids, I'm glad, I'm glad I decided to be honest with them.

Something I have already come to realise, is that a lot of people don't like to talk about cancer, but it is a subject that needs to be talked about, people, unfortunately, need to be aware that this shitty disease it is a part of life, the more we talk about it the more people have a chance, a chance at life.

The more awareness we have the more people can be treated early and their lives can be saved. So keep talking and keep sharing! #BreastCancerAwareness   

Musings Of A Tired Mummy



  1. Sending love and hugs.
    I think you did the right thing telling the kids. It is better to be honest then them finding out from someone else. It sounds like they have taken it well, well as well they can take it. xx

  2. Sending all the positive vibes to you and your family x I think you did the right thing and I hope you and your family can all stand together and kick cancer's ass! x

  3. You are an amazing mum! I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to tell the children, but it absolutely the best thing for you all. I wish you all the best on this journey and sending lots of virtual strength to fight cancer, you can do this!


  4. I'm surprised people thought you shouldn't have told them. They were going to notice the treatment. Kids aren't stupid. But good post on an often neglected part of the journey. Thanks for sharing.

  5. #StayClassyMama - here's to good luck and great doctors! Kick it's butt and get well soon!

  6. You are wonderful, I cannot imagine how hard that must be, heartbreaking for you, but you've done great by them now go win this !!!

  7. This is an incredible brave story to share with the world. I'm sending you allt he virtual love and hugs to you. Telling our children something that is so scary and unknown is a frightening thing, we've endured it with my husband's cancer battle. #StayClassyMama

  8. Good luck with your treatment. My mother in law has just got the all clear from breast cancer: we told the kids straight away so that we weren't whispering about it and making them more scared. Children pick up on things so I think it is best to tell them the truth as soon as you are emotionally ready for that (I can't imagine how hard it must have been for you and wish you all the best) Thanks for linking up with #stayclassymama


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