Narrator: How can I keep my cancer diagnosis from devastating my children?
Julie Silver, MD: There's nothing about the process that wasn't devastating, truly it was very, very heartbreaking for me and for my family and for my children.One of the things though that a psychologist who works with us said, and this is really true and the literature bears this out --and parents should really think about this -- is that the better you do, both physically and emotionally, the better your children will do.
Julie Silver, MD (cont.): When a young woman who has little kids and is diagnosed with breast cancer and she's really sick and she can't get out of bed,or she's not taking care of her children, she doesn't feel great about herself probably.At least, I didn't. I certainly didn't feel like the mother I wanted to be and that I had really primed myself to be.
Julie Silver, MD (cont.): And my kids let me know in lots ofdifferent ways that I wasn't the mother they'd had before. And at one point my 3-year-old said to me, she said, "Mommy, you don't look pretty anymore." And what she was saying is,something's different, you're not the same mom I had a few months ago, something's really wrong here.And that was her language for that. But it broke my heart because I understood that, you know, she was right. I didn't look pretty,I wasn't taking care of her the way that I needed to and the way that I wanted to, but I was doing everything that I possibly could.
Julie Silver, MD (cont.): There's nothing about the process that wasn't devastating, truly it was very, very heartbreaking for me and for my family and for my children.One of the things though that a psychologist who works with us said, and this is really true in the literature bears this out,As I began to feel better physically,and as I really worked on it, I felt so much better emotionally and it really impacted my kids.So they'll really follow your recovery. They will start thriving in school, and with their friends, and so on, the better that you do.
Julie Silver, MD (cont.): So what I tell parents is that you owe it to your kids to do as well as you can, you really do, and that means physically and emotionally.It means I have women come in who are very depressed, and they're not getting out of bed and they're not taking care of their kids, and I say you brought these kids here on this earth,I know this is a terrible, terrible diagnosis but you have to get out of bed and start taking care of them, and you have to start really working on recovery.It's not easy and I don't say it lightly, but it's important. It's important for you and it's important for your children and your family.