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Talking to little kids

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Hi, my mother in law has been diagnosed with Stage IIIA non-small cell adenocarcinoma and is starting her chemo/radiation treatment tomorrow.  We are wondering how to communicate to our son, who is a little over 3yrs old and is close to her.  We don't see the point at this stage to discuss anything in too much depth but wonder how others have talked to little kids.

Thanks so much!

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I can't speak from experience, but I don't know that you need to tell him a whole lot, except that grandma is going to be seeing a doctor who will be giving her some medicine to make her better, but that sometimes the medicine might make her feel a little bit tired or sick for a while.  And that the medicine can also make it easier for her to catch colds, so there might be times when it's best that she not be around too many people.  Just keep reassuring him that she loves him and will talk to him on the phone if she isn't feeling good enough to have company.


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I have a 4 year old and the kids just let her know I’d been sick. We only told her when they had to stay away because of colds. My granddaughter didn’t handle me losing my hair to well. I think it scared her but thankfully she got use to that. 

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Hi, afeldman43,

I'm glad that you received some helpful advice from a few of our members.

Here's a blog by a caregiver named Gary, about he and his wife talk to their young daughters about Amanda's lung cancer. Their girls are a little older than your son, but this might give you some helpful ideas: https://lungevity.org/for-patients-caregivers/blogs/voices-from-the-community/our-new-normal

With gratitude,

Digital Community Manager
LUNGevity Foundation

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