Q. My daughter is 21 years old and just had her third surgery for cancer in 11 years. The doctors took a wait and see approach the last two times, but they are currently doing a molecular study to determine treatment. I don't know how to be there for my daughter and keep encouraging her. She is lacking in social skills after all these years and she refuses to do therapy. How do I encourage her to maybe get involved through a website or a support group? She needs more than just her mom.
As your daughter prepares for her next steps in treatment, it is understandable that you would like her to gather support for herself. A cancer diagnosis can be isolating and having additional outlets of support can potentially benefit her in a number of ways. However, as difficult as it may be to accept, the decision to seek this support must be her own.
What you can do is make her aware of the many resources available to her. Your daughter may not be open to the idea of counseling for instance, but she may be more receptive to a support group of peers. Joining a group can offer comfort and community, and the sense of being understood by others facing similar challenges. Groups can also help participants learn new ways of coping and offer hope. CancerCare offers a face-to-face Young Adult Patient Support Group for anyone located in the New York City area. In addition, we offer an online Young Adult Patient Support Group for anyone living in the United States. Your daughter may also contact Stupid Cancer, an organization that addresses young adult cancer issues through advocacy, support and more.
Finally, you may want to consider connecting with your own support. CancerCare offers a number of services for caregivers like yourself, including our online Caring for an Adult Child with Cancer Support Group. We also offer a number of publications and informational podcasts about navigating the caregiver experience. For more information, you can contact CancerCare’s Hopeline at 800-813-HOPE (4673).