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Resources

Childhood cancer: Feeling out of control

As a parent of a child with cancer, your life changes instantly. The stress and pressure can become all consuming, but it’s normal to feel out of control at times.

Woman being overwhelmed and feeling out of control with everything that is going on

When your child is diagnosed with cancer, managing hospital visits and doctors appointments, medications, finances, work and the needs of other family members means there will be times when you feel stressed and overwhelmed.

Even though there are many challenges, big and small, there are still things you can do to feel more in control. Here are some practical strategies parents have shared with us.

Even short hospital stays can test us, and this is one of the places parents tell us they feel least in control.

Here are some of the small, practical things parents shared that helped them gain a sense of control in hospital:

  • bringing things from home like favourite toys, blankets and pillows
  • keeping a bag packed with essentials by the door, ready for unexpected hospital visits
  • listening to music or podcasts while waiting
  • taking short breaks outside hospital when you can
  • writing down your thoughts and feelings in a notebook
  • connecting with a Redkite Social Worker by phone or email to talk through ways to make your hospital stays easier.

Cancer treatment involves a team of health professionals. Your child’s treatment team may include oncologists, surgeons, nurses, dietitians, physiotherapists and social workers, to name a few. Each of these health professionals will have information about your child’s treatment.

Keeping track of this information is one way to create a sense of control. Alongside pen and paper, here are some online tools you might find useful:

  • CancerAid: Tracks symptoms, side-effects and appointments, provides medical information and connects you with others going through cancer treatment.
  • CanTeen Connect for Parents: An online community where parents of young people with cancer talk with others and receive free professional counselling.
  • LivingWith: Tracks mood, pain levels and sleep, updates family and friends, stores treatment information and allows you to ask for support with daily tasks.
  • Cancer Terms Dictionary: Contains 1,500 common cancer-related terms, expressions and idioms without the unpredictability of Google search results.

At any stage of your child’s treatment, connecting with a Redkite Social Worker can be a way to regain a sense of control. Redkite Social Workers can work with you to find your strengths, sources of support, and strategies to make day-to-day life easier.

Here are some of the ways you can connect during your child’s treatment:

  • By phone or email: Sharing your experiences with a social worker by phone or email means you can connect at a time that works for you. Redkite offers phone support Monday to Friday, 9am – 7pm AEST, along with email support.
  • In person: You may find that talking with a social worker face-to-face is the best way to work through challenges and find sources of strength. Redkite offers face-to-face counselling in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth.

More information

Ideas

Counselling: when you’re ready, we are here

Redkite provides free counselling for adults. You can talk to us once or twice, or more often if you need. It’s up to you.

Counselling: when you’re ready, we are here

Redkite provides free counselling for adults. You can talk to us once or twice, or more often if you need. It’s up to you.

Relationships

A guide for grandparents of children affected by childhood cancer

This booklet answers some of the many questions which grandparents of children with cancer told Redkite they would have liked answered when their grandchild was diagnosed and during their grandchild’s treatment phase.

A guide for grandparents of children affected by childhood cancer

This booklet answers some of the many questions which grandparents of children with cancer told Redkite they would have liked answered when their grandchild was diagnosed and during their grandchild’s treatment phase.

Case Studies

Katie’s story: Music and childhood cancer treatment

Music can promote connection and strengthen relationships within your family. Katie explored the Redkite Music Box and thought it would be helpful for families facing the cancer experience.

Katie’s story: Music and childhood cancer treatment

Music can promote connection and strengthen relationships within your family. Katie explored the Redkite Music Box and thought it would be helpful for families facing the cancer experience.

Relationships

Things to do during the school holidays

These school holidays the kids can have fun and relax after a big term of school and parents can relax the routine and have more time to connect with their family.

Things to do during the school holidays

These school holidays the kids can have fun and relax after a big term of school and parents can relax the routine and have more time to connect with their family.