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Stacey
  • Stacey
  • 9th May. 2018

CANCER HIT OUR FAMILY TWICE

My Mum was diagnosed with cancer when I was 12. I didn’t know what cancer was.

No one explained what was happening and whenever I tried to ask about Mum’s sickness, my family either got angry at me or didn’t have the time to talk to me about it. They were trying to protect me, but I felt like a burden and had no-one to turn to.  I felt very alone and anxious.

The atmosphere at home changed.

Mum was away from home for treatment and Dad was busy working and travelling to care for her.  Suddenly my brother and I had to look after ourselves.

Mum was eventually well enough to come home, and things slowly went back to normal. Just when it seemed cancer was a thing of the past, Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I couldn’t believe it!  Our family was hit with cancer not once, but twice. I felt so angry.

Unlike Mum, Dad received his surgery and treatment closer to home. It was good to have Dad at home, but home was now where Dad was sick. I just wanted to escape.

My friends just didn’t get it

My friends were supportive, but they just didn’t get it. I ended up just pushing them away. I couldn’t even take my mind off things by doing what my friends were, like dance classes or going out, because we couldn’t afford it.

CanTeen offered me a safe space

When my Dad was diagnosed I was excited to find out CanTeen now supported young people like me, whose parents had cancer.

CanTeen Youth Support Coordinator, Brooke has helped me so much and been the support I’d been looking for. She gives me a safe space to be myself, whether that means asking questions, venting, sharing, laughing or crying.

CanTeen helped me feel normal again

Activities like pizza night, ten pin bowling and movies are my chance to do what normal teenagers do, away from cancer.

I attended a CanTeen therapeutic programme to help young people deal with grief and loss. I was nervous at first and didn’t feel like I belonged amongst cancer patients and their siblings, but we had so much in common! We learnt coping skills to help us control and address our emotions, and strategies on how to communicate better.

I don’t have to face cancer alone

CanTeen also arranged for me to see a counsellor so I can deal with the issues I had around my parents’ cancer. It’s been empowering and I’ve become a more outgoing and open person.

There’s a possibility that my Dad’s cancer is back, but now I know, whatever happens, I won’t have to face it alone. CanTeen was there when no one else was. They’re the best organisation that I never wanted to be a part of, but I am so glad to be.

Group Stacey