CureSearch for Children's Cancer funds and supportstargeted and innovative children's cancer research with measurableresults, and is the authoritative source of information and resourcesfor all those affected by children's cancer.
Sleep problems in a child undergoing treatment for cancer may result from:
If your child doesn’t sleep:
If you don’t sleep:
Signs to look for:
Getting to know other patients and families in the hospital or clinic can be a very gratifying and relieving experience. You can learn a lot about managing the cancer experience this way; however, there can be times when it feels like this backfires. If a child you are close to gets very sick, relapses, or dies, it can be tremendously upsetting to you, your child, and the rest of your family.
It may be hard to know how to help your child and how to keep your own worries and sadness from making things worse for your child. It is OK to try to differentiate your child’s situation from that of the other child. If they are more similar than different, you may need to acknowledge that sometimes we don’t know why things go badly for one person and not for another. In this case, it is helpful to reinforce that many children with cancer do well.
When another child is sick or dies, it may bring up questions for your child, including ones that can be difficult to hear and respond to. Get support from your partner, the medical staff, and the mental health staff if you are finding it hard to answer your child’s questions on your own.
It is also possible that your child will shut down a bit and withdraw for a while. This is normal, too. It is important to give your child some space to adjust to this scary news and to tell him or her you will be there when he or she wants to talk – or that they could talk with others if they prefer. If they are still not willing to talk about it a few days later, you might want to talk over your concerns with the mental health or nursing staff.
It may also be difficult to know how to talk to the parent of a child who is not doing well. Parents, even of children who die, are often reassured by seeing children who do well since it makes them feel that they did the right thing in following the treatments. Usually, just saying something simple or writing a note saying you are sorry for whatever has occurred and you are thinking about them is enough. If you are in the hospital together, you might ask if they need anything or want to go for a cup of coffee together. Talking about how hard this is to other parents on the floor or to the mental health professional you know can be helpful, too, at this difficult time.