How to Juggle Cancer and Parenting Series: Stephanie’s Story

by | How to Juggle Cancer and Parenting, Parenting with Cancer, Your Kids' Emotional Needs

Age at diagnosis: 38
Type of Cancer: Breast cancer Stage at Diagnosis: Stage 2
Treatment Plan: Surgery-bilateral mast w/expanders,
Chemo -6 cycles tac, Radiation, Delayed diep
Current Status: NED


How did you tell your kids about the cancer diagnosis?

We used the local Gilda’s club

How did your kids respond?

It was a very positive experience

What are some things you did that worked really well for your family with regards to dealing with the cancer, and treatment, while raising children?

  • I kept their routine as normal as possible
  • Did not give them too much information
  • Let them asked questions if they wanted to know more
  • Kept very open lines of communication
  • Used a lot of professional help- Gilda’s club and local help from my hospital with this

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?


Do you have concerns about the long term impact of your cancer on your children?


What advice would you give to other moms who are diagnosed with cancer?

  • Don’t give your children too much info
  • Cancer is very scary for children.
  • Children process info VERY different than adults. Let them ask questions (if they have any) and follow their lead

What concerns or fears troubled you the most?

How did my diagnosis and treatment impact my children

How did you deal with those fears?

Time will tell

Have those fears and concerns changed over time?

Yes, As more time passes-I think about this less

What was your darkest moment?

Mental breakdown and depression 18 months after diagnosis

What was your best moment?

Every day (including today)

I love my life and my family and still think I am a very lucky person!!!
I am blessed

What did you do to take care of you? How did you splurge on yourself?

My husband put me first. Everything just fell into place: Whatever I needed – I got – whenever I needed it.

Were you able to get help from friends and family members while you were going through treatment?

Yes- I have an amazing group of friends

You know the statement-it takes a village. I have a village.

Was it difficult to ask for help? Do you have any suggestions around the topic of asking for help?

Very difficult. It is very humbling. Especially when you are used to doing and not needing.

Did cancer/treatment impact your relationship with your spouse/partner?

Yes, Not in a negative way. I fully understand how much my husband loves me. As I said- I am a very lucky person

Do you have any relationship advice for young moms dealing with cancer?

Be honest.

What is something you wish your friends and family members understood about your cancer and its impact on your life? What would you tell the friends and family members of other mom’s diagnosed with cancer? What would you want them to know about what she’s about to go through, and how best they can support her?

Just because you look ok on the outside- it doesn’t mean you are ok on the inside.
Cancer is not like strep. You are not better in 5 days. It can take awhile (even years) until you are ok.

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You can find more on the How to Juggle Cancer and Parenting Series here:

manage cancer and parenting

Judy Schwartz Haley


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