I made the decision to tell my kids the truth after I was diagnosed. It was tough. They of course asked “Mom, are you going to die?”. They knew that people died of cancer.
At the time I’d been told there were no treatment options. I wanted to continue to be honest. I’d read the stats in regards to signet ring appendix cancer. From what I’d read at the time, it appeared long-term survival was only 10%. I didn’t know if I was going to die. It actually seemed rather likely.
I told my kids that yes, some people died of cancer. But I also told them that many people also survived cancer, that many people didn’t die. I told them that I was a very strong person, that I was feeling very well, and that I was going to do my best to find good treatment and to live a very long time.
It was the best answer I had, and it was an honest answer.
I knew what would happen next, that they would go to school and tell their friends over lunch that their mom had cancer. They did, and their friends told them of relatives and people they knew who had died of cancer. Since we were all being honest and open, we were able to talk about those lunchroom conversations at home.
One good thing about having a rare cancer…when my kids said their friend’s family member had died of brain or some other cancer, I could honestly say “Well I don’t have THAT kind of cancer, I have appendix cancer”. Cool thing was that none of their friends knew of anyone who had died of appendix cancer.
I guess there are some good things about having a cancer that is rare. For my kids, it gave them hope. They understood that people died of many kinds of cancer, but they couldn’t find a single person who had died of appendix cancer.
To be continued……