Taking care of children is a pretty challenging task. Ideally, a parent tends to be a symbol of security and safety. Your children look up to you for guidance, reassurance, and provision. This is why a sudden cancer diagnosis linked to Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) exposure can take a toll on you. It is hard enough parenting while healthy let alone when you are coping with cancer. You will need to maneuver between cancer treatments, childcare, and personal upkeep. Your illness might also leave you feeling stressed, exhausted, and helpless. All is not lost, though. Here are a few tips on how to cope as a parent living with AFFF cancer.
Every parent needs some time alone to recharge. Now that you have been diagnosed with AFFF cancer, you cannot afford to overlook your needs at the expense of others. While the kids are away at school or visiting their grandparents, indulge in things you love, such as a lunch date with your friends or reading your favorite book. You could also run a warm bath and soak as you listen to soothing music. If you feel your mental health is going down the drain, ensure you reach out to a close friend or go for therapy.
Ask for help
Due to your current condition, you might not be strong enough to juggle all the household chores and take care of the kids. If you have a spouse, let them know about your diagnosis and coordinate how you will carry out tasks such as picking up the children from school, cooking, and grocery shopping. Please don’t hesitate to ask your friends and family members for help. You could make things easier by writing down a list of what you would like them to help you achieve. Another alternative would be to come up with a duty roaster and ask the older kids to help you wash the dishes, fold laundry, and walk the dog.
AFFF cancer has been found to develop due to exposure to a fire suppressant used to extinguish fires caused by flammable liquids. Research has discovered that manufacturers use perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances to produce these firefighting foams. These ingredients are highly dangerous and put firefighters at risk of being diagnosed with AFFF cancer. It would be best to consider AFFF lawsuits to seek compensation from negligent manufacturing companies who continue to manufacture, distribute and release harmful products to the market.
Be realistic with what you can achieve
Parenting can be quite demanding, even without the added demands of AFFF cancer and cancer treatments. First and foremost, it would be best to accept that you no longer have the energy to work as much as you used to before your diagnosis. The next step is to jot down a list of all the tasks you need to do in order of importance. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, ask your loved ones to take over from where you left off. You could also work smart by doubling recipes, freezing half of the food to be eaten another day, or taking advantage of delivery services.
Let your children know what to expect
If you have older children, they might understand what you are going through. However, young children might not know why you are always fatigued or spend too much time in hospital. It would be best to use age-appropriate terminology to explain your diagnosis to your children so that the situation will seem less scary. Let them know the cancer treatments’ possible side effects, such as hair loss and nausea. Remember that each child will react differently to the news. Some will act younger than their age and become overly clingy. Older children such as the teens could react by shutting themselves off while others might become overly supportive and want to help around the house.
Spend quality time with your family
You don’t have to make your whole life revolve around your AFFF cancer diagnosis. You risk making your home environment dull and tense. Liven the mood in your home by doing fun activities as a family, such as movie nights and working on crafts. Be available for your kids as much as you can and shower them with lots of love and affection. Please don’t also forget to create time for your spouse.
As a parent living with AFFF cancer, it would be best to avoid shutting down or making your whole life revolve around your diagnosis. A better alternative would be to strive to do better each day so that you build resilience in your children and show them they can beat all odds. It would also be best to be aware of your limitations and ask for help where you feel you fall short. Also, seek help where you can.