Terminal cancer with a young child

  • Hi, I’m new to these groups today. My partner went into hospital at the start of April with suspected kidney stones. After a a cancer diagnosis and 2 rounds of chemo, we got told today that he probably only has months left. While his family fall apart I have to stay strong for our 7yr old. Yet all I want to do I breakdown. When I get all tearful I have to hide and compose myself. I’ve got help around me but bedtimes etc are really hard. Our son is the youngest in the family who is at a stage of understanding. I was 39 on Monday, my partner is 48. 
  • Hello Tash 1980

    I don't have any words of wisdom unfortunately, only to say I feel your pain.

    I have twin boys aged 11 and we have just today been told my husband's cancer (chich we have only known about for 2 weeks0 is not treatable or cureable!

    We are broken.

    Sending you hugs and love at this time.

    Cancer sucks!!!!!

  • Cancer is a ‘insert swear word here’. 

    So many people have told me that kids are more resilient than adults. They probably are. They have Pokemon or mario or Gumball to think about. It breaks them too. As adults we understand cancer (to a degree). Treatment, side effects, prognosis. Months to live? We can process that to an extent How do you explain to a 7yr old his dad has months to live? 

  • I agree.

    I have told my boys that Dad has Cancer, but as he has had it 4 times before the uderstanding is that he will get better.

    There is no way on this earth I can envisage telling them that Dad’s cancer is incurable!

    simply devastating"...........

  • Hi, I wonder if Mcmillan can give you any advice on this subject. Sometimes it's difficult for those closest to have that discussion. Maybe they will understand better as time goes on, they are quite astute. When my first husband died suddenly I was left with 4 children, the youngest being eight years old. I just told them the truth, without dressing it up. I don't know if it was the best way, only you know your family. We survived, as will you, take one day at a time. I wish you well at this difficult time, we are all thinking of you . Lots of love, xxxxxx

  • Thank you so much to everyone who commented on this. Times are crappy for all ages.

  • Hi Tash1980, I'm so sorry to read of your partner's situation. It is so hard for us mums when we find ourselves in this sort of situation. Whilst we have our loved ones care needs to meet, trying to hold everything together for our young children and the house also, It's overwhelming at times. When sometimes you just feel like hiding under your duvet and you just can't because you have not only your loved one relying on you but also your little ones. My husband was given the incurable diagnosis over 2 years ago when he was initially diagnosed with cancer. We have three children together an adult child and a 10 and 8 year old. All children are aware of their dad's cancer and the incurable diagnosis. Initially they were told incurable cancer but the treatment is managing it, then it's growing again we are trying another treatment to keep it managed, then they have stopped the treatment because he was hospitalised due to some serious life threatening side effects in dec. They are aware that when the cancer starts growing again there may not be any treatment options offered - we were told this in January. Miraculously he's been stable since Dec. I so feel for you, take care x

  • As a parent you never think you’ll have to deal with stuff like this. Kids are more resilient than we think and in a way they deal with it all better than adults. At the end of the day it’s my 7ry old who keeps me going, keeps me smiling and making me believe there’s a way through this and a life after, even as horrible as that seems. X

  • All I can think about is the life my child is going to be robbed of. A life without her wonderful wonderful dad. I am eaten up inside with the worry that I won’t be enough, on my own, that I can never give her the happy life she has had so far, again. Sometimes at night, when everyone is sleeping, I go down into the garage and cry (such a small word) so no one can hear me. I very desperately want this not to happen to her. As a parent protecting your child is everything, and I can’t protect her from this. And it’s just the most terrible awful thing that she is going to have to go through. So sometimes I watch her laughing and I want to throw up with the dread in my stomach of how will I ever make things ok so she will be happy again.

  • Hi 

    I'm  sorry that I've come late into this conversation but I would like to belatedly welcome you to the online community I know how hard it must have been for you to start this discussion but hopefully you will have seen that your fellow members are very supportive towards you and that is something we excel at being a help and support to each other.

    I am sorry to hear about your partner and the devastating news you've received and if it helps you can come on here at any time for a chat, to rant and rave or just to let off steam (we all do it) and as this is a very safe place to come, you will know that you're in company of people who understand you and your feelings.

    Telling young children is never easy but no matter the age of the children one thing they appreciate is honesty and they can pick up on situations that are not normal, picking the time and place is important to set the mood, when talking to young son you should try and answer any question he may have so it's best for you to be prepared (you need to be in the correct frame of mind before you start) if you don't know the answer just say I don't know but I'll get back to you. 

    I have put together some information that might help you

    Cancer Research - Talking to Children 

    Macmillans - Advice on talking to children 

    Maggie's- Talking to Children 

    You may have a Maggies Centre near to you, these centres offer a tremendous amount of support to young children and adults and are there for anyone diagnosed with cancer AND their families - check to see if they have a centre near you by entering your post code.

    You can download a Macmillans booklet on Talking to children here 

    If you would like to speak to a someone our telephone support team are available to help you in a number of ways including emotions, benefits, work, financial and a lot more and you can call them at anytime between 8 am and 8 pm every day of the week and the number to call is freephone

    0808 808 0000

    The friendly advisers are there to listen to you and offer you support, please give them a ring

    I hope that you find the above of interest please remember that the door to the online community is always open for you come straight in, there is always someone around to listen to you and give you support  help and advice at anytime you need us

    Would you please keep in touch with us and let us know how you are getting on.

    Best wishes


  • Hi there,  please, have faith in yourself that you are enough for your daughter and she will be happy. Sounds too simple, I know, but you will come together, your bonds will be strong. Love never dies. One day at a time, xxxxx

  • Hello Tash1980

    I know you posted the message while ago but it’s so relevant to me... our son is also 7 and our  daughter  is 2.

    Back in February my husband( he is 45)  went to hospital with pain in his arm after a fall at work. We thought he pulled a muscle or something like that  but we were told it’s cancer. Month later the tests revealed that  the primary cancer is in his kidney and it had  spread to his arm. He also has small nodules in his his lungs... we were told it’s not curable but they can try and manage it...

     Our world has collapsed over night... self employed builder with no arm - you can imagine...

    he had an operation in May - they removed almost the whole bone in his left arm and put a metal bone instead( amazing what they can do) and he is now on a third round of Cabozantinib.

    I would like to ask you though how is your husband dealing with all the news, diagnosis and treatment etc.

  • Hi, I'm so sorry to read your message. I hope you guys are coping ok.

    He's dealing with it ok, on the outside. However, he was in the military and suffered with PTSD and I have seen elements of this showing again. Some days he's really positive, others you can tell he's got the weight of the world on his shoulders.

    He suffered really badly with the side effects of chemo. The pain worsened, was completely knackered all the time etc. We were told over the summer that the chemo has done nothing and the prognosis was that he only has months left. Like you said, it feels like our world has collapsed. We've got to try and live everyday as best we can and make the best memories we can.

    How are you all getting on with it all?

  • Hi Tash

    I am so sorry to hear about your situation... 

    It’s  up and down here - luckily  my husband is much better than he was. The first three months between his  diagnosis and the  operation he literally spent flat on the sofa, he’d lost 3 stones and was in complete denial. It was the hardest time in my life...my son was all over the place, he was angry because he didn’t know what is going on...

    when he got home from hospital he started talking about it and it was a massive breakthrough for us and really helped to cope with it all. 

    We are on a third round of Cabozantinib at the moment and he is really struggling with the side effects so it’s tough... 

    i am having a bit of crisis myself ( this is why I joined the community, I needed to talk to someone who would understand. I am just so fed up with everyone telling me to stay strong and positive) 

    I just wish he was a bit more positive about it all... I’ve found a really good book - “the cancer whisperer” by Sophie Sabbage - it really helped me to look at the situation in a completely different way... I wish he wanted to read it and make some changes....

    it’s going to be a new day tomorrow... kids will make me smile again

    i hope you have a good day too. 

  • My son keeps me smiling. Without him I think I’d be a mess! 

    We were back at the hospital today, they think e may have an infection but don’t know where.  He was sent home but if there is any hint of cold/flu etc then it’s straight to A+E. It’s just so relentless. 

  • I know, it is never ending...

    hang in there and if you can try the book i’ve mentioned before( if you haven’t already). 

    I hope your husband is feeling better tomorrow so you can all enjoy the day.