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
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.
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