Not sure how to broach this subject...

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2005
Not sure how to broach this subject...
Thu, 10-30-2008 - 2:51pm

I'm not sure what to say to Kurt about this.

my sister is 28. When she was a toddler, it was discovered she had a malignant brain tumour. She had surgery and was in the hospital basically for two years from ages 2 -4. The doctors removed what they could but had to leave some of the tumour, because of where it was positioned.

She was given 3 years to live. Obviously, she has lived longer than that. For the past year, she has been having a lot of odd episodes and after a few MRIs and, they discovered it is growing again. She had surgery last spring, but it didn't work so she has to have some prep work done tomorrow and then starts radiation treatment.

i don't know how to tell kurt this, or how much a 13 year old should know. I don't want him to worry too much, or be too upset. They are VERY close. My sister still lives with my Mom and Kurt goes there every summer and march break. I'm not good at dealing with emotional subjects, and I tend to act as if things aren't a big deal, otherwise, I'll start crying and then he'll think its worse than it really is.

Sorry this is so long!! If anyone has any ideas of what I should do, that would be great! Should I just say "Carolyn has to have another surgery. I bought her this card, lets send it to her?" Or is that lame?



iVillage Member
Registered: 02-07-2005
Thu, 10-30-2008 - 3:24pm

hey Leah, I am so sorry about your sister. I am praying for her and your family.

About how to approach Kurt, I would be straight forward and tell him what is happening. I wouldn't give too many details but I would explain what she has going on, what the procedure is and what it's for. If he has any other questions then you go further.

When my MIL was diagnosed with breast cancer I looked for all of these books for creative ways to tell the kids. I asked the pediatrician and she told me to be honest. Tell what is happening and what the treatment is and what to expect. I did that and the they had questions..but they handled it ok. I wasn't overly emotional because that would have freaked them out but I wasn't stoic either.

Good Luck..let us know what you decide.



iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2004
Thu, 10-30-2008 - 3:41pm

hugs to you.
Send the card its not lame.

I would sit down and ask Kurt what he knows and understands about tumors. Then I would simply explain things. Answer his questions and then let him know that his aunt loves him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2006
Thu, 10-30-2008 - 4:44pm

Definitely let him know what is going on. When I was 10 my mom was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. She was in the hospital for three months and had to have two surgeries. No one told me what was going on and it totally freaked me out. Not knowing what was going on was scarier than if someone had talked to me.

Your son is definitely going to know that his aunt is in the hospital and having surgery. Being open and honest with him and encouraging him to be able to talk to you (or her) is much better than letting his imagination run wild (and believe me it will).

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Thu, 10-30-2008 - 5:10pm

For the past 4 years we have had a family member die every spring.

Avatar for bradleyteach
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-29-2001
Thu, 10-30-2008 - 5:22pm

Hi Leah,

I'm sorry to hear about your sister's health situation.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2008
Fri, 10-31-2008 - 1:10am
I would be honest with him but give as little details as possible. Obviously if he had more questions, you would explain more. I think sending a card is a great idea. It also gives him a chance to express feelings. I'm sorry to hear about your sister's situation, I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Sylvia's Siggy



iVillage Member
Registered: 01-06-2006
Fri, 10-31-2008 - 10:09am

First of all, prayers for your sister, you, and your entire family. My aunt was diagnosed with a glioblastoma (agressive, malignant, and inoperable brain tumor) this past July. I wrestled with what and how much to tell my kids (8 and almost 12). I finally decided that an appropriate amount of the truth was the best way to go. The older one knows that she's undergoing chemo and radiation and when he asks how she's doing I tell him the truth but only when he asks (which is about once/week). I give him the latest (but very undetailed) information on her treatment and how she's feeling. This way he's kept up to date and there won't be any surprises. If he didn't ask, I would probably update him by saying, "hey, I spoke to grandma today and she said Aunt Barb.....". I went to visit her Wednesday (5 hour drive round trip) so when I came back, I updated him. I always make sure to tell both of my kids that the doctors are doing everything they can to help her and she is following their directions and taking the best care of herself that she can. I can't say that I've cried about it in front of them (though I've shed plenty of tears in private) but I have told them that the whole thing makes me very sad and I get a little preoccupied some times.

Hope this helps... Hugs to all of you!

Avatar for ang2gals
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Fri, 10-31-2008 - 10:35am

Sending positive thoughts to you & your family for your sister's recovery. I agree w/the others that sharing information w/Kurt


Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Fri, 10-31-2008 - 11:35pm
I am sorry about your sister and am sending prayers up for her.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2005
Sun, 11-02-2008 - 4:08pm
Thanks everyone for your thoughts, kind words and advice! Sorry I didn't respond earlier, but I village is acting up for me.