CLL Support Association
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Telling the kids

When I first joined early this year, I started a Post on whether and what to tell kids (mine are now 13 and 11). There was a good response of well thought out responses, ranging across the spectrum of yes to no (and all manors of info to say).

In the end I decided to not tell them. But there was one way of telling that hit me as brilliant and I stored it away for future reference: it was to say my blood has some bad bits in for some reason, but not to use the L word or the big C word.

Well I finally told them a few days ago along these lines. They are very concerned, but seem to have reacted very well. I still have the odd 'white' lie in that I answer the 'why is it bad' question with 'the docs don't know'...but I feel very relieved they now know something and have not gone over a cliff.

I can not remember who come out with this strategy, but it is brilliant. So whoever it was, THANK YOU!

3 Replies

Glad you were able to tell them and all went well. It certainly helped me telling the family but they were older.


Hi Quarry

When we realised treatment was need for my husband we knew that we had to tell the children (ours are 15 & 12). We decided to not keep anything back so did include the 'C' word, they were naturally devastated initially but we had an honest discussion between the four of us and we even discussed that if they wanted to we could pick another word to use instead of cancer, my daughter (15) initially wanted to call it 'it' but my son (12) was comfortable with the 'C' word and over time we have grown to accept and use the word. We left the decision to them about if they wanted to tell their friends, my daughter has told a handful of close friends but my son has confided just in his cousin (also 12) but not the rest of his friends although that said I am convinced some of them know as I know their parents know so either the Mums & Dads have respected our wishes or the boys are being very discreet!

I felt like a weight had been lifted once we told them even though as the child of a cancer sufferer in the 80's and knowing how I felt at that time I never ever wanted anything like this to touch their lives, but it has and we are facing it together, my daughter and I had a chat in the car the other day and we likened my husbands cancer to a relative that no one likes but who keeps turning up and we have to deal with them because they are family and whether you like them or not you cant ignore them!

I'm glad you've told your children and they like mine appear to have dealt with it really well.... I remember initially reading things from people saying how they had seen some positives from the situation and I must confess we as a family are stronger as a result of this, we were close anyway but this seems to have bonded us even more.

Lisa x


My daughter was 11 at the time of my diagnosis. I had had a series of tests and appointments so she was aware something was up. She herself asked for honesty - she knew that people do get unwell and that is part of life, and wanted to know what was going on for her mum.

I am very glad we told her. After 18 months of watch and wait my condition escalated quite suddenly, with large nodes in my neck and I quickly went from watch and wait to treatment, even though my blood count was low. The fact that she too had been living with and accepting the diagnosis for 18 months prior to my FCR helped her through what was a difficult time for us all.

I think it is always painful to watch your child cope and come to terms with these life changing events but they are valuable lessons for us as parents too.


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