When our 2 year old son was diagnosed with brain cancer, a dear doctor friend, asked how our other children were handling the new diagnosis. When I expressed concern that we were seeing lots of anxiety and some other issues of sadness and anger, our friend uttered a truth that I had never thought about before, “When one member of the family has cancer, you all have cancer.” She went on to say that even though our son was battling cancer physically, we were all battling the emotional aspects of cancer. I had never thought about it until this point. Our normal was no longer normal. Which meant parenting our children would have to adjust to our “new normal.”
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The hours and days that proceed a cancer diagnosis can seem surreal. Many parents go through denial, anger, guilt and grief, just a plethora of emotions. Sometimes the hospital may immediately send a social worker to help you process this time and help with decisions about what to do next. Other times parents may feel like they have no idea what to do next. Below is a list of a few practical things to do when your child is diagnosed with cancer.