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How to Parent While Coping With Cancer

Coping With Cancer

Getting a cancer diagnosis is one of the toughest obstacles a person can face in life. There are the physical demands of undergoing chemotherapy, weight loss, and fatigue. There are the mental and emotional struggles of wondering whether you will live to see your loved ones accomplish big things. 

If you are a parent, there are several things you can do to stay on the top of your parenting game while you fight cancer. Breast cancer and life insurance sound like mutually exclusive terms, but you can actually find decent policies to cover your family, whether you are currently undergoing treatment or have already overcome cancer in the past. 

We’ll talk about the specifics of finances when you have cancer. We’ll also talk about staying positive and being present in your kids’ lives while you are sick, even when it seems impossible to do so. 

Join a Cancer Support Group

Like having any other type of illness, being diagnosed with cancer can leave you feeling isolated and depressed. Nobody knows exactly what you are going through, and having kids to worry about can compound the issues. If you aren’t in the right frame of mind after being diagnosed, your parenting skills may drop off. 

Something you can do to mitigate this part is to talk to others who can empathize with you in a support group. You can even try to find a group that is filled with parents specifically or people who have the same type of cancer as you. 

This type of social interaction is a huge way for you to start to understand that your situation has been experienced by other people and that you can overcome the anxiety you’re feeling. If you want to get professional mental health help along with the social group experience, ask your cancer team if they think this would be helpful. 

Online chat rooms have been associated with the workplace now that the pandemic has altered our lives forever, but Zoom can also be incredibly helpful for patients. Not everybody has the strength to go to an in-person therapy or support group meeting. Doing these things virtually will give you some sort of solace and encouragement. 

Check Into Life Insurance

Other concerns may be involved with your children beyond finances, like who will take care of your child if you pass away. This won't be a problem if you are married or in a relationship. However, if you are a single parent, complications will arise. 

If you have children who are financially dependent on you, getting cancer can be incredibly stressful as a parent. You want to be able to provide for your family, even if you are no longer alive to actually bring in an income. This is where life insurance comes in. 

Getting life insurance with a cancer diagnosis is going to be tricky. You need to be patient and evaluate all of your options.

Many companies are not going to give you a term life insurance policy if you have just been diagnosed or have been cured within the last couple of years. You may be able to get lower rates if you bundle life insurance through your home or auto provider. Look up average insurance bundle costs to get started.

You are too high of a risk to get the same policies without significant lifestyle changes. You need to have been cancer-free for many years before getting rates on par with other non-cancer patients. All you can do is control what you can. 

This means getting all of your chemo treatments, going to the doctor regularly, and participating in healthy lifestyle choices during and after your cancer treatment. 

If you have no other choices, buying a guaranteed life insurance policy is a last resort. These policies do not evaluate your risks before insuring you. They go in blindly. This also means that your policy is going to be incredibly expensive. 

You may be doing more damage to your child than good because they won’t have any money left from you after you have spent it on guaranteed life insurance coverage. 

Many people have a godparent in place, but your child may end up in foster care if you neglect to do so. You need to create a last will if you are diagnosed with cancer. This will tell the state who you want your children to be taken care of after your passing. 

Stay Positive 

Having a positive outlook on life is the most important thing you can do to confront cancer head-on when you are diagnosed. As a parent, try to think of the ways you can absorb yourself in your role with your kids instead of fretting over treatment. 

If you are physically able to, continue to go to the events that you were before being diagnosed. Attend the school play or the soccer practice that you have had for years. If you are feeling too sick to do this, go the virtual route that we talked about for the support group meetings. 

It’s easier to be positive about cancer and its outcomes if you try you best to follow all of your doctor’s directions and get all of your treatments on time. Optimism is easier to use when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and you are actively pursuing it. 

Thinking about the potential negative outcomes of having cancer will only make the experience even more difficult. Lean on your family and your children, and let them know that you are still the same person as you were before getting sick. One of the best positive quotes about cancer ever spoken was by college basketball coach Jim Valvano. 

“Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”

You are going to mean everything in the world to your kids no matter what disease you endure or how long you can survive it. Stay in touch with who you are as a person and as a parent and it should give you a better chance of surviving cancer.

Shawn Laib's picture

Shawn Laib writes and researches for the life insurance comparison site, He wants to help people living with illnesses to understand how to stay positive and find answers to their concerns.