Hi friends -
I have a daughter who will be 5 in about a month. I am currently trying to figure out how/what I will tell her. I'm pretty sure I know most of what I'm going to say, but I'm really stuck about using the word cancer. I believe I have gotten super lucky, and unless my oncotype comes back high, I will not need chemotherapy. However, I do need more surgery, and it is likely that it will be a mastectomy. For the lumpectomy, I just told her that my breast was hurting and the doctors were going to go in and fix it, and it will all be fine. Although this will be a big surgery, I will then be done (as far as she will know); she will not have to see me going through chemo.
She's very smart, and I know kids are very perceptive, so I want to be as honest as possible (we are a very open and honest family anyway). I will be pretty detailed (age-appropriate) with the surgery and what I'll be like afterwards, but do I have to say "cancer"? I know the word is loaded for me/adults, and not necessarily for her, but I do know that going forward, she will passively hear about cancer - through people's conversations, ads on the radio, etc. She will pick up on the associations that we adults have for that word, and I just don't know if she, as 5 year old, needs to be that worried and scared about it yet.
My family and close friends are split on the decision, and I'm conflicted. I am trying to protect her. I don't want this to be more scary than it will already be. I would rather be the one to manage when she fully understands it, but I am just not convinced that it has to be at her age.
What do you think? What did you say to your young child?
Thank you. :)
LX did not get clean margins on DCIS. MX showed DCIS scattered throughout and also LCIS.
5/26/2017, DCIS, Left, 3cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+
5/26/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
7/11/2017 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap
Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
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