If you have a child who is newly diagnosed with leukemia, we are sorry. It is such an overwhelming concept to think about your child having cancer but stay strong and believe your child will be cured. For chances are he or she will be! When my son was first diagnosed, I called every and any friend or acquaintance who had a child who had been treated for cancer. I had the same question for each parent: “What can you tell me that will help my child and me endure this nightmare?” I want to thank each of those parents for their honest, caring answers. Their experiences proved so helpful to my Andrew and our family. Since my son’s diagnosis, I’ve had several similar calls from other parents. Below I’ve listed some helpful hints. Please note not all of these will be beneficial to everyone. Remember that you know your child better than anyone else so please select what makes sense to you for your child. Stay strong and God Bless!
If you and your family have faith that there is a greater Power than yourselves, you will handle this leukemia diagnosis better than if don’t have any faith or religion in your life. We are Catholic and called upon our dear priest, Fr. Ed, for support. We felt Christ was by our side every step of the way during Andrew’s treatment. We prayed often and called upon Jesus for continued healing. We carried a rosary and water from Lourdes, France with us at all times. Andrew was very fond of his “Mary Water” which is what he called the Holy water from Lourdes.
Second, gather the best support system you can for your other children and yourself and spouse. Your child who is battling leukemia will need you by his or her side. Battling this disease will take precedence over everything else yet all your “normal” daily activities and responsibilities will continue to exist. It can be very overwhelming. Friends, family, school and parish communities will ask what they can do to help. Let them! Besides helping you, you are helping them. Those that love you will feel so helpless so anything you allow them to do will benefit all. I suggest making a written list with your spouse of what would really help your family. For example, who will take your other child to scouts or sports so that child can keep their routine. Or dinners provided the weeks that you may have several trips to the oncologist.