By Paul Trevino
If you have a child with a terminal disease, then you probably think that life isn’t fair. And you’re right. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that your child’s condition can’t be treated. Things have changed a lot over the years, and today’s tech advances can help kids with terminal illness live a comfortable life for months – sometimes even years. Most types of cancer treatments are all about keeping things under control by managing the symptoms.
Your behaviour as a parent is crucial. You have to help your kid keep living a fulfilling life, while at the same time prepare for a dignified and peaceful death. Have an honest and open conversation with their doctor, and talk about your feelings. It won’t be easy, but it is important to acknowledge that there are things in life you can’t control.
Symptoms, health-care, and side-effects
Caring for a child with a terminal illness is excruciating, especially if that child is your flesh and blood. The best thing that you can do is know everything there is related to the condition. Know about the symptoms, best treatment available, and side-effects. Palliative care is all about helping the child live a comfortable life. It involves the social, psychological, and spiritual needs of the whole family. Note that we’re not talking about a treatment, but about care.
Hospice care can be included in this category. It is a form of palliative care for patients with less than six-months to live. The services are focused on offering support, and can be provided both at home and in an assisted living facility. Most families don’t want their child to be looked after in a hospital. They want them to live at home, and be surrounded by their loved ones.
Communication is fundamental
When caring for a sick child, it’s very hard to talk about death. But you have to do it so that you can assure them that everything will be alright. Find the right time to have a conversation. If the cancer is in the early stages, you can have time to find the right approach. You’re the judge, and you can choose to tell your child whenever you want. But do it properly and make them feel safe.
A lot of parents choose to keep their kids in the dark but they don’t realise that this approach can do them more harm than good. Since your child is sick, and their body may feel pain, they will have to deal with lots of changes, and will naturally start asking questions. At some point, you’ll run out of options and you won’t be able to explain why their pain won’t stop.
Be open and honest
Why is it so important to be open and honest with you child? First, because you will make them feel a lot less anxious. Second, because you’ll make them understand what’s happening. This will enable you to have closure. Share memories, express your love and adoration, and make them feel safe and protected. Your child will probably have a lot of questions. Knowing what’s on their mind, and doing everything you can to clear the air is a great way to make them feel at peace.
However, you may not want to talk about death with your child if they are a pre-schooler. They won’t be able to understand the concept, and you might scare them. In school, kids begin to understand what death is. Their understanding often depends on cultural norms, the things they see on TV, and religious beliefs.
The great power of reassurance
When bringing the topic of death into discussion, it might be a good idea to reassure your child that they won’t be alone, and that they will go to a better place where others will look after them. Parental love matters just as much as support. Be there for them, and convince them that after death all their pain will go away forever.
In some circumstances, your child’s physician may recommend some supplements and vitamins to help maintain their strength for as long as possible. Even in the late stages of a terminal disease, such as cancer, no parent wants their kid to suffer. To know more about what suits your child, consult with the best professionals.
Bottom line is, the best treatment for a child who suffers from an incurable disease is love. Care for them and make them happy, so that they can die happy and at peace.