Telling Your Children You Have Breast Cancer
By: Courtney Floyd
Are there books to help explain prophylactic mastectomy to children?
Recently, a new children’s book hit the shelves titled “Mommy R Your Boobies Broken.” Written by PRMA Patient Catherine Lutz, the story walks readers through the journey of a child trying to understand what having breast cancer truly means and just how difficult it can be to describe from a parents perspective.
Every year 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This statistic leaves many mothers trying to find a way to explain their diagnosis to their children.
Looking for personal experience and advice to share, I reached out to author and mother Catherine Lutz. Here is what she had to say about telling children about a breast cancer diagnosis:
“When you hear the words “Breast Cancer” you instantly think you have been dealt a death sentence and can see your life flash right before your eyes. The emotional turmoil consumes every bit of energy in your body. Now, somehow you must muster the energy and find the words to tell your kids you have breast cancer.
How do you explain to your precious little angels you have breast cancer and you are scared of all the uncertainties? That’s exactly what I had to do in 2010 when I was diagnosed. I had to tell my 3 year old daughter and 9 year old son. Like many, I researched the topic and tried to find those perfect words to explain this horrible disease to my kids. I realized the perfect words simply did not exist, nor was there a cookie cutter approach. As parents, we know our kids better than anyone else and that’s what we should keep at the forefront when faced with having tough conversations with them.
My hope is that by sharing my story and book it will help others when faced with having a difficult conversation with their kids. When asked for advice I suggest the following: Timing is key. Eliminate all distractions and allow for plenty of time, less is more. There's no need to overwhelm your child with all the possible A to Z’s, especially since things can change from day to day. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Reassure them you’re not alone and there are plenty of resources to help find the answers. Listen, listen, and listen to what your children say and ask. Use their concepts and analogies to help them understand as much as possible and age appropriate. Yes, kids are resilient, but resilience did not make it any easier to tell my kids I had breast cancer. It’s tough- and it’s going to be difficult, but not impossible! Peace- Catherine”
For more information on Catherine’s book please visit www.mommyryourboobiesbroken.com