When a Parent Has Cancer: A Guide to Caring for Your Children

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9780060187095: When a Parent Has Cancer: A Guide to Caring for Your Children

At some point in our lives, many of us will face the crisis of an unexpected illness. For parents, the fear, anxiety, and confusion resulting from a cancer diagnosis can be particularly devastating. How can you care responsibly for a child when you are in special need of care? How much should you tell your child? How can life go on -- for everyone in the family -- when you are faced with months, even years, of treatment?

When a Parent Has Cancer. A Guide to Caring for Your Children is a book for families written from the heart of experience. A mother, physician, and cancer survivor, Dr. Wendy Harpham offers dear, direct, and sympathetic advice for parents challenged with the task of raising normal, healthy children while they struggle with a potentially life-threatening disease.

Dr. Harpham lays the groundwork of her book with specific plans for helping children through the upheaval of your diagnosis and treatment, remission and recovery, and, if necessary, confronting the possibility of death. With full understanding of the difficulty of achieving balance in the midst of change, she emphasizes the importance of being honest with your children about the gravity of the illness, whileassuring them that their basic needs will always be met. She encourages families to create a "new normal," in which cancer becomes a manageable part of daily life, and suggests concrete, creative ways for all familymembers to work together to achieve this equilibrium. Dr. Harpham also addresses the special needs of single parents, as well as teenagers and the well spouse, who are learning to cope with a loved one's illness.

Included with When a Parent Has Cancer is Becky and the Worry Cup, an illustrated children's book that tells the story of a seven-year-old girl's experiences with her mother's cancer. Becky and the Worry Cup, which can be read by the child alone or together with a parent, poignantly touches on the fears, anger, guilt, and uncertainty that children feel when their mother or father is sick.

Dr. Harpham has given us two important and invaluable books. When a Parent Has Cancer: A Guide to Caring for Your Children and Becky and the Worry Cup are written with the honesty and clear-sightedness that can come only from lived experience. She offers comfort, encouragement, and reasonable hope at the exact moment you might fear none is to be found. Most important, these books provide a plan of action for you and your children to live meaningfully and well when life is at its most uncertain.

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About the Author:

Wendy Schlessel Harpham, is an internist in Dallas, Texas, where she lives with her husband and three children. She is the author of After Cancer: A Guide to Your New Life and Diagnosis Cancer: Your Guide Through the First Few Months.

From Library Journal:

Harpham (After Cancer, LJ 8/94) deals here with "the difficulties of raising children when a parent has cancer and proposes approaches for preventing and responding to common problems in a healthy way." Harpham, a parent with cancer, is also a physician, and the last 47 pages of this title is a children's book, Becky and the Worry Cup, drawn from the experience of her own children. In discussing parenting issues, Harpham includes examples for handling specific problems, with especially important points set in boldface. Although most of the book deals with caring for children under the age of ten, there is a chapter on teenagers. Appendixes include a glossary that children can understand, a list of resources and support groups, and a bibliography for children and parents. A similar offering is Pat Brack's Moms Don't Get Sick (LJ 8/90). Recommended for consumer health/patient education collections.?Mary J. Jarvis, Methodist Hosp. Medical Lib., Lubbock, Tex.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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