Together We Can -- Newsletter of the Joan Karnell Cancer Center
 

Winter 2003

Sarcoma Researchers Search for Answers
Parent to Parent
Making a Difference
 
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Parent to Parent, Heart to Heart

As parents you protect, provide and cherish your children. But when parents and children are challenged by a diagnosis of sarcoma, this family equilibrium is disrupted. Parents often experience an array of emotions including guilt and fear. Some parents even feel that they have in some sense failed to keep their children safe; that having a child diagnosed with cancer somehow suggests they are inadequate guardians and caretakers.

It is this loss of control that accompanies a cancer diagnosis that can be most difficult for parents and often results in a crisis atmosphere at home. Parental response to this crisis is often a balancing act. None of the old coping mechanisms work and new coping strategies have not yet been developed.

Who better to help parents during this time of crisis than other parents who have experienced the same struggles? In order to help them overcome the anxiety and fear associated with their children’s sarcoma, the Joan Karnell Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital offers a program to join parents whose children have completed treatment with those parents who are new to the experience.

Through this network, parents offer emotional support and encouragement on a one-on-one basis. Talking to someone who can relate to your experience helps to normalize the situation and helps parents feel that they are not alone.

The network also includes sarcoma patients who are matched with newly diagnosed children. They keep in touch via the Internet and offer support and advice to one another about school issues, chemotherapy issues, and of course hair loss. Sometimes they are silly, sometimes they are serious, but the bottom line is that they are always caring and they are there when they are needed. For more information, call 1-800-789-PENN (7366).

 


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