Web Exclusive: LIVESTRONG Goes Global
September 16, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Web Exclusive: Hot Flashes: Q & A with Debra Barton, PhD
September 14, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Web Exclusive: When is Multidisciplinary Care Really Needed?
September 21, 2009 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Web Exclusive: Quiz: Do You Know the Recommended Screening Guidelines?
September 22, 2009 – Lindsay Ray
Treatment Snapshot
September 16, 2009
Web Exclusive: How Are You DOING?
September 16, 2009 – Erik Ness
Web Exclusive: Itís Not Just Cancer
September 16, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Web Exclusive: Sexuality and Intimacy Resources
September 16, 2009 – Anna Sobering
Web Exclusive: Guidance on Guidelines
September 16, 2009 – Lindsay Ray
Web Exclusive: Fighting for Their Countrywomen
September 16, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: With Humor and Openness
September 16, 2009 – Charlcie Steuble
CYP2D6 Inhibitors
September 16, 2009
A Child's Grief
September 16, 2009 – Erik Ness
Connecting the World
September 16, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Positively Speaking
September 16, 2009 – Nicole LeBrasseur, PhD
Tapping Broader Expertise
September 16, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
Sounds Like Teen Spirit
September 16, 2009
Screen Savers
September 16, 2009 – Laura Beil
Jumping into the Spirit
September 16, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
The Complete Eldercare Planner
September 16, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
www.cancerfac.org
September 16, 2009 – Anna Sobering
Donna Karan Changes the Design of Cancer Care
September 16, 2009 – Lindsay Ray
Kids Kick Cancer With Martial Arts and Karate Program
September 16, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Q & A: Tamoxifen and Antidepressants
September 16, 2009 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
Effective Strategy Found to Prevent Rash
September 16, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
News You Can Use: The Future of Breast Cancer Care
September 16, 2009
A Lion, An Angel, and a Pioneer
September 16, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Big Tobacco, Meet the FDA
September 16, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Deconstructing Grief
September 16, 2009 – Erik Ness
Breast Cancer Around the World
September 16, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Prince & the Gun Oil
September 15, 2009 – Debra Jarvis
Teen Tribulations
September 16, 2009 – Marc Silver
Life Preserver?
September 16, 2009 – Laura Beil
Cancer Screening
September 16, 2009 – Barnett S. Kramer, MD
Kidney Cancer & Lung Cancer
September 16, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
I Laughed
September 16, 2009 – Krissy Dietrich Gallagher
Intestinal Insight
September 15, 2009 – Katy Human
How Should Ovarian Cancer Survivors Be Monitored for Relapse?
September 14, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Overheated
September 16, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Letters from Our Readers
September 16, 2009
Message from the Editor
September 16, 2009 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Targeting the Triple Threat
September 10, 2009 – Nicole LeBrasseur, PhD
Meetings of the Minds
September 15, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
The Internal Flame
September 16, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Web Exclusive: LIVESTRONG Goes Global
September 16, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Web Exclusive: Hot Flashes: Q & A with Debra Barton, PhD
September 14, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Web Exclusive: When is Multidisciplinary Care Really Needed?
September 21, 2009 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Web Exclusive: Quiz: Do You Know the Recommended Screening Guidelines?
September 22, 2009 – Lindsay Ray
Treatment Snapshot
September 16, 2009
Web Exclusive: How Are You DOING?
September 16, 2009 – Erik Ness
Web Exclusive: Itís Not Just Cancer
September 16, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Web Exclusive: Sexuality and Intimacy Resources
September 16, 2009 – Anna Sobering
Web Exclusive: Guidance on Guidelines
September 16, 2009 – Lindsay Ray
Web Exclusive: Fighting for Their Countrywomen
September 16, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Currently Viewing
Web Exclusive: With Humor and Openness
September 16, 2009 – Charlcie Steuble
A Child's Grief
September 16, 2009 – Erik Ness
Connecting the World
September 16, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Positively Speaking
September 16, 2009 – Nicole LeBrasseur, PhD
Tapping Broader Expertise
September 16, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
Sounds Like Teen Spirit
September 16, 2009
Screen Savers
September 16, 2009 – Laura Beil
Jumping into the Spirit
September 16, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
The Complete Eldercare Planner
September 16, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
www.cancerfac.org
September 16, 2009 – Anna Sobering
Donna Karan Changes the Design of Cancer Care
September 16, 2009 – Lindsay Ray
Kids Kick Cancer With Martial Arts and Karate Program
September 16, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Q & A: Tamoxifen and Antidepressants
September 16, 2009 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
Effective Strategy Found to Prevent Rash
September 16, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
News You Can Use: The Future of Breast Cancer Care
September 16, 2009
A Lion, An Angel, and a Pioneer
September 16, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Big Tobacco, Meet the FDA
September 16, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Deconstructing Grief
September 16, 2009 – Erik Ness
Breast Cancer Around the World
September 16, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Prince & the Gun Oil
September 15, 2009 – Debra Jarvis
Teen Tribulations
September 16, 2009 – Marc Silver
Life Preserver?
September 16, 2009 – Laura Beil
Cancer Screening
September 16, 2009 – Barnett S. Kramer, MD
Kidney Cancer & Lung Cancer
September 16, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
I Laughed
September 16, 2009 – Krissy Dietrich Gallagher
Intestinal Insight
September 15, 2009 – Katy Human
How Should Ovarian Cancer Survivors Be Monitored for Relapse?
September 14, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Overheated
September 16, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Letters from Our Readers
September 16, 2009
Message from the Editor
September 16, 2009 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Targeting the Triple Threat
September 10, 2009 – Nicole LeBrasseur, PhD
Meetings of the Minds
September 15, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
The Internal Flame
September 16, 2009 – Karen Patterson

Web Exclusive: With Humor and Openness

One parent survivor tells how humor and openness helped her teenagers and her preteen to accept her diagnosis of thyroid cancer. 

BY Charlcie Steuble
PUBLISHED September 16, 2009

“I know what you are going to say,” my 15-year-old daughter said when I sat our three kids down in the living room to tell them I had been diagnosed with papillary carcinoma, a type of thyroid cancer. 

“You do?” I asked rather surprised. Apparently she and her brother had heard a message from a physician’s office on our answering machine mentioning results from an ultrasound. To them, ultrasound meant baby. Two of our three kids thought they would have a new sibling soon.

Not only did I have to squash their excitement over a new sibling, but I had to deliver the news that I had cancer.

“No, we’re not having a baby. I have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.”

Nobody knew what to expect moving forward with my diagnosis with cancer, including our 11-year-old daughter and two 15-year-olds. My husband and I, at least, were able to calm certain fears—papillary carcinoma has a very high cure rate. What I didn’t know at the time was I had a challenging road ahead of me with unexpected complications and a recurrence six months later.

Humor and openness were the basis for our children dealing with this diagnosis. The day after we told the kids of my diagnosis, our daughters asked if this was something we could joke about. At that point, I knew I had a choice to make. They were asking if they could use humor to deal with it.

“Sure,” I said. “We laugh at most everything—why not this?” From then on, when appropriate, we all made light of it. One night our youngest said, “Don’t make Mommy do the dishes! She has cancer!” It helped—it really did.

We were also very honest with our kids, family, and friends about what was happening. I e-mailed my kids’ coaches, friends, counselors, and teachers—not to drum up any sort of excuse or sympathy, but to help them understand what was going on with our family.

Not long after my recurrence, I received a phone call from my oldest daughter’s school counselor. She wanted to share that she had appreciated how open we had been about my diagnosis. As a result, she had asked my daughter to assist her with another student whose parent had been diagnosed with cancer. The student was struggling a bit with the diagnosis and lack of communication within her family, and the counselor thought my daughter could help. It was a proud moment for me.

Telling our kids that I had cancer was one of the hardest parenting moments to date, but a year later, I know now that we all grew as a result of it. Good things can come from tough situations.

 

Charlcie Steuble is a 41-year-old mom of three living in Northern Virginia and a thyroid cancer survivor. You can learn more about Charlcie at www.charlcie.blogspot.com

Continue the conversation on CURE’s forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the CURE discussion group.

Related Articles

1
×

Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!
×

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In