Category Archives: Parents

Effects of Childhood Cancer on Parents’ Relationship


Parents who are dealing with caring for a Child with Cancer undergo huge amounts of stress, and generally experience both positive and negative changes in their relationships, communication, stress, and their roles.

Emotions run the gamut; anger, anxiety, guilt, and distress will all ebb and flow during the course of the child’s illness. Childhood cancer is a family affair, and while these emotions will generally all be expressed at one time or another by all family members, expression is generally more overt from mothers and children.

Childhood Cancer affects the family’s needs in a myriad of ways such as self-esteem, social interaction, their need for care, and general functioning. This may cause the parents to have to change or modify their family roles to cope with the demands of their child’s illness.

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Cancer Caregiver Stress, Depression & Burnout


Being a caregiver for a person with cancer takes its toll on one’s health, and even more so when the person with cancer is your child.

Caregivers of Children with Cancer (usually the mother) are faced with far more stress, as they usually have to give up their job, spend endless hours at their child’s bedside in the hospital – sometimes for weeks or even months at a time, make endless trips to doctors, clinics and hospitals, and still try to be there for the rest of the family. Childhood Cancer unfortunately often ends in divorce, which places even more of a burden on the mother and the stress becomes far worse and can often turn into depression or burnout.

While it is natural to want to stay by your sick child’s side and meet the needs of their siblings and other family members – all at once, this is a virtually impossible task, and unless you give both your mind and your body a break once in a while, you could well end up with caregiver-burnout!

When one continuously cares for others while under tremendous stress, one can begin to feel that you’re in over your head and have little control over the situation – this can cause the stress to begin taking a toll on your health, relationships, and state of mind—eventually leading to burnout.

When you are burned out, it’s tough to do anything, let alone look after your ill child, which is  why taking care of yourself is not a luxury; it is a necessity! There are plenty of things you can do to rein in the stress of caregiving and regain a sense of balance, joy, and hope in your life.

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Preparing for the Anniversary of a Loved One’s Death


The 12 months following the death of a loved one is known as “the year of firsts” and for obvious reasons, is extremely difficult to get through. Dealing with the first birthday, Christmas, etc. is painful, and does not necessarily equip one to face that dreaded anniversary of the loss.

Grief is a complicated experience, partially because it never truly resolves itself but rather changes over time and meanders along different paths; some difficult and others not so difficult.

Facing the anniversary of a meaningful loss can completely blindside one, even though we know that it is coming and generally anticipate it with dread. Just as with other “stages” of grief, getting through this time can be immensely difficult and there is no right way or wrong way to approach it; the experience is different for each individual.

Every single person will be faced with losses of those we love and admire throughout our lifetime, and the loss of a child is always the worst.

 

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How do I Prepare for My Child’s Death?


The approaching death of a child is likely to be the most difficult time in any parent’s life. Children are supposed to outlive their parents, not the other way around…

Dealing with your child’s cancer is all-consuming; it drains you and the rest of your family – of strength, of vitality, of joy, of finances, and leaves one feeling helpless and hopeless much of the time.

Many parents feel that, even though they have already been given the prognosis and know that their child is dying, to acknowledge it means that they are giving up… Other families feel that they need to get their affairs in order…

Everyone is different and copes in their own way – there is really no right or wrong way to cope with the impending death of a child – you just need to cope in whichever way feels right for you and your family, no matter what anyone else may think or say.

It is often believed that difficult times can bring a family together and make the family unit stronger, but hardships can also create divisions. This sometimes happens if one parent has been more involved in their child’s care, which could mean that they are further along with the various stages of understanding and preparation than the other parent.

Dealing with the trauma of a child with an incurable disease is difficult, and individuals can go through various stages of disbelief, anger, understanding, acceptance and preparation. It is individual though, and does not always occur in the manner that we would expect.

 

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Helen’s Story – Retinoblastoma Part 1


 

Helen 7 months old

Hi,

my name is Helen and my mommy and I would like to share my story with you so that more people can get to know about Childhood Cancer; in this case specifically Retinoblastoma.

Retinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer that develops in the light-sensitive lining of the eye, called the retina, and can occur at any age but mainly occurs in children younger than 5 years of age and most often in those younger than 2.

Retinoblastoma may occur in one or both eyes, but rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Although it is the most common eye tumour in children, it is a rare childhood cancer and accounts for about 3-4% of childhood cancers.

The main challenge of treating Retinoblastoma is the prevention of blindness, however approximately 98% of children with retinoblastoma are cured.

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Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Children with Cancer


foodiefriday-wp-logoDoctors have yet to find a definitive link between cancer and food. What they have found, however, is a correlation between certain diets — such as the Mediterranean Diet — and the potential for cancer reduction. Doctors call these diets (often specific to a culture or geographical region) anti-angiogenic, which means that they cut off the blood supply of cancerous tumours, starving them of the nutrients they need to grow.

An easy way to ensure that your Child with Cancer gets sufficient vitamins and nutrition when they find it difficult to eat due to cancer treatments is to make them some delicious cancer-beating smoothies to drink using fruit and veg that have cancer-fighting properties in them

Smoothies have gotten a bad rap in the past for being sugar-laden and more closely resembling dessert than anything remotely healthy, but while that might be true for smoothies purchased at juice shops or in restaurants, you can make healthy smoothie recipes right at home for a fraction of the price in just minutes.

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Recipes for High-Calorie Shakes and Drinks


foodiefriday-wp-logoHi Folks, it is Foodie Friday again, and following on yesterday’s post regarding ensuring that your Child with Cancer gets sufficient calories and proteins in their diet to help them fight their cancer and continue to develop and grow naturally at the same time, here are some great drinks recipes.

For parents of Children with Cancer, the challenges of enticing children to eat nutritious, healthy foods are even greater than those faced by parents of healthy children, and require untold levels of patience and creativity to overcome.

Cancer and cancer treatments can also affect the way your child’s body tolerates certain foods and its ability to process, store and appropriately use nutrients at a time when your child’s body needs the energy and nutrients from a healthy diet more than ever.

Some Children with Cancer also find it difficult to eat or swallow as a result of the cancer treatments, son one of the best methods of getting them in ingest nutrition is via smoothies and other healthy drinks.

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High Calorie/High Protein Diet for Children with Cancer


calorie-protein-pyramidNutrition is an important part of the health of all children, but it is especially important for Children with Cancer, who often have poor appetites as a result of the cancer itself, or due to the side-effects of the cancer treatments.

Both cancer and its treatments may affect a child’s appetite, tolerance to foods, and their body’s ability to use nutrients. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after treatment can help a child feel better and stay stronger.

For parents of Children with Cancer, the challenges of enticing children to eat nutritious, healthy foods are even greater than those faced by parents of healthy children, and require untold levels of patience and creativity to overcome.

Cancer and cancer treatments can also affect the way your child’s body tolerates certain foods and its ability to process, store and appropriately use nutrients at a time when your child’s body needs the energy and nutrients from a healthy diet more than ever.

The nutrient needs of Children with Cancer vary from child to child. Your child’s doctor, nurses, and a registered dietitian can help identify nutrition goals and plan ways to help your child meet them.

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Helping Your Child with Cancer Cope


cancer-childA cancer diagnosis brings with it not only pain and treatments, but a complete lifestyle change – there are all the appointments, tests, medications, infusions, scans, special diets, and so on to deal with; time in and out of hospital; fatigue, lethargy, boredom and a change in eating habits…

For children things are worse, because they can often not go to school while under treatment due to their impaired immune systems and possibilities of infection; often they can also not even see their friends and need to keep themselves entertained for days, weeks and even months on end. I mean, adult company is OK, but when you are a child you need to play and need other children around…

The sudden move from health to illness and the unwelcome tests and procedures needed to get a diagnosis can be very frightening for a child, and hospital stays can be a scary and overwhelming experience.

It’s very scary for a child to be told their body is not working right, and that they have cancer and it is completely normal for a child or teen to be afraid of new and often painful experiences.

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Summer Watermelon Gazpacho Recipe for Children with Cancer


watermelon-gazpacho

Continuing with the current trend of posting delicious recipes for children with cancer on a Friday, here is another great recipe from the table of Culinary wizard and author of Happily Hungry: Smart Recipes for Kids with Cancer, Danielle Cook Navidi .

After using nutritious, home-cooked food to help nurse her son back to health when he was suffering from cancer, Danielle Cook Navidi is giving back by teaching other parents the cooking skills and recipes to give their cancer-stricken kids strength.

Danielle shares her culinary wisdom and first-hand knowledge by creating delicious recipes dedicated to children undergoing cancer treatment and recovery. These nutrient-dense recipes combine great taste with powerful immune-building ingredients designed to satisfy young palates, while helping set the stage to more effectively battle cancer.

Regardless where your kids are on their cancer journey you will find something useful and uplifting within the pages of Danielle’s recipe book. This book is a big culinary hug to young cancer patients and their families.

Here is another great free recipe from Danielle that is sure to tickle your child with cancer’s tastebuds.

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