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pirmir
@pirmir

Posts: 4
Joined: May 10, 2016

Talking about hair loss with children

Posted by @pirmir, May 10, 2016

I have had a mastectomy and am about to start chemotherapy. I had breast cancer 14 years ago when I also had chemotherapy. This time I have grandchildren – 6yrs and 3yrs. I would like some input on talking with them about hair loss, etc. Any good children’s books or other resources anyone can suggest?

REPLY

Welcome to Connect @pirmir. What a great question you ask.
I’m tagging my colleague Sheryl M. Ness @smness on this message. Sheryl is a patient educator at the Cancer Education Center, Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Her team always has great resources to share.

You’re wise to start talking with your grandchildren about this now. Hair loss is often a change that help lead to meaningful conversations, especially with young children. One friend told me that beyond talking about it, she also involved her young children in the choices that they could take charge of, like asking them which hat or scarf she should wear to pick them up from school.

I’d also like to invite @lacey @martid @irvkay312 @hopeful33250 to this discussion.

Pirmir, when do you start chemo?

Hi @pirmir, thanks for connecting here and asking your questions. I wrote a couple of blogs about talking with children on the mayoclinic.org site – Living with Cancer, here are the links- http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/expert-blog/support-while-parenting-through-cancer/bgp-20116200

Also, cancer.net has a good article on Talking with Children about Cancer – http://www.cancer.net/coping-with-cancer/talking-with-family-and-friends/talking-about-cancer/talking-with-your-children

Regarding hair loss specifically, here is a great book to help explain to grandchildren – https://www.amazon.com/Nowhere-Hair-Explains-cancer-children-ebook/dp/B004YL645Q?ie=UTF8&btkr=1&redirect=true&ref_=dp-kindle-redirect

Let me know if you need more information. Keep in touch!

BC chemo can be tough. Hang in there. I am doing it a 2nd time myself right now – but for a 2nd primary so different chemo. I had no grandchildren living near me when I went thru mine, so not much help. I had a hard enough time with my boss, who did not like people around who “appeared sick”. I was an admin for a large BC online support group and I know that many people involved their children in the whole process to make them feel more okay with it. Some even had the kids help shaving their hair when it started coming out. I like the idea of having them help pick out hats/scarves etc. My family and I had a running “funny hat pictures” going on Facebook and my grown boys had a great time with it. It is the pits, but you might as well laugh at it when the mood allows.

Best of luck with your chemo!
Marti

Thanks. I did all that stuff with my kids the first time round but my grandkids are a little younger. I was lucky as my employer last time was fine and very supportive of me during my treatment. I’ll just keep looking for ways to approach the grandkids. Thanks anyway and good luck with your treatment.

@colleenyoung

Welcome to Connect @pirmir. What a great question you ask.
I’m tagging my colleague Sheryl M. Ness @smness on this message. Sheryl is a patient educator at the Cancer Education Center, Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Her team always has great resources to share.

You’re wise to start talking with your grandchildren about this now. Hair loss is often a change that help lead to meaningful conversations, especially with young children. One friend told me that beyond talking about it, she also involved her young children in the choices that they could take charge of, like asking them which hat or scarf she should wear to pick them up from school.

I’d also like to invite @lacey @martid @irvkay312 @hopeful33250 to this discussion.

Pirmir, when do you start chemo?

Jump to this post

Thank you for your reply. I don’t have an exact date for chemo but it will be within the next month. I do not know what drugs or how many rounds yet either. I did a pretty good job of involving my children during my last treatment but they were a little older than my grandkids. Both my daughters are RNs so we have great experience for speaking honestly and within the children’s abilities to understand but somehow it seems different for me that it is my grandchildren not my own children. Not sure why that is. Maybe because we are not together everyday I know they will notice the changes in a more drastic way. I often use books as a ‘doorway’ to talk about things with them and this seemed like a less scary way to start the dialogue. I appreciate any resources that are available. I look forward to using this support through my treatment and health recovery process.

@colleenyoung

Welcome to Connect @pirmir. What a great question you ask.
I’m tagging my colleague Sheryl M. Ness @smness on this message. Sheryl is a patient educator at the Cancer Education Center, Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Her team always has great resources to share.

You’re wise to start talking with your grandchildren about this now. Hair loss is often a change that help lead to meaningful conversations, especially with young children. One friend told me that beyond talking about it, she also involved her young children in the choices that they could take charge of, like asking them which hat or scarf she should wear to pick them up from school.

I’d also like to invite @lacey @martid @irvkay312 @hopeful33250 to this discussion.

Pirmir, when do you start chemo?

Jump to this post

Hi,

I didn’t think much about hair loss when I had my chemo, even though I am
male. We learned and saw not only the hair loss that hurts most woemen ,
but. YES, i lost my hair, but learned a lot more and am facing Palliative
care 6 and a half years later. The chemo I had they warned me that “I
might face heart or kidney problems later in my life.” At the present
time, due to the chemo, I have 3rd. stage Chronic Kidney Disease.”

It doesn’t sound like much, since it’s 2 stages away from Dialysis—BUT
what is happening is that as quickly as I ingest food or protein, the
protein is filtered out of my blood and body, so that it can’t do its job
in maintaining my body system and health.”

Kay

Hi @pirmir, just wanted to chime in that the American Cancer Society provides a list of books to help explain cancer and chemotherapy. Hope this helps!
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/bookstore/acs-books-for-children . As does The Children’s Cancer Research Fund. The first one on this list is specifically about explaining hair loss and chemo to kids; http://www.childrenscancer.org/main/books_for_helping_kids_deal_with_cancer/

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