People often ask me how the kids are doing. That answer is simple. They are doing fine. They all know varying degrees of Dave’s story. It is not our intent to stress them out unduly nor is it our goal to hide things from them. We find ourselves seeking the right balance of honesty and keeping them protected. So two years, five months and eleven days in that looks something like this:
The Truth: Dave has stage IV metastatic colon cancer with mets in his liver and both lungs.
Parker’s Truth: Dad has cancer.
Grant’s Truth: Dad has cancer in his liver and his lungs.
Samantha’s Truth: Dad has stage IV metastatic cancer – this means that it has spread outside of the colon to his liver and lungs.
The Truth: The last treatment stopped working. The choice was to go onto a third line standard chemotherapy or pursue a clinical trial.
Parker’s Truth: Dad is still being treated for his cancer.
Grant’s Truth: Dad’s last treatment stopped working. He is participating in a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins.
Samantha’s Truth: Dad’s last treatment stopped working. He is participating in a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins.
The Truth: It is likely that Dave will live with colon cancer for the rest of his life.
Parker’s Truth: Dad has to keep having treatment because the cancer is still there.
Grant’s Truth: Dad has to keep having treatment because the cancer is still there.
Samantha’s Truth: It is likely that Dad will live with colon cancer for the rest of his life.
We try to meet the kids where they are. We let them know when treatment plans change. We DO NOT inform them of every new growth or development that occurs. Most of all, we give them opportunities to talk to us and ask questions. It usually happens in an organic way. While talking to the kids about the importance of washing their hands as soon as they get home since Dave is susceptible to germs right now, allows conversations to occur about the current situation. Sometimes they have questions, sometimes the questions pop up much later after they have a chance to mull things over. I believe that the kids are fine because they feel loved and protected and they trust that we are not hiding anything from them.
Here’s where we were on this topic 18 months ago… https://embracingtherollercoaster.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/the-kids-are-all-right