At Kids Konnected we’ve had over 17 years of experience working with children and teens who have experienced their parent’s cancer diagnosis, treatment and unfortunately at times their death. We took these years of experience and developed our own books to help children and teens navigate through an often difficult path.
Love Sick was written by Lynnette Wilhardt, LCSW and Kids Konnected’s Clinical Director and Teens from the Kids Konnected Program.
A collection of verse and image dedicated to those changed forever by cancer. It is a book for Teens written by Teens who share what their experience was like living with a parent who has cancer or coping with the death of a parent. Included in “Love Sick” is “Shrink Rap” written by Lynnette Wilhardt, LCSW and explains the psychological difficulties that teens experience when their parent is diagnosed with cancer. She offers ways to support teens and help them through this difficult time.
Here is what our teens are saying:
“When you are walking along in your life, thinking everything is great, and then, BAM, the word cancer intrudes, there are a lot of issues that run through your mind. Death. Loss. Confusion. Fear. The first things you think of don’t usually include school, but that’s a domineering factor in how a person deals with the c-word.
My childhood and schooling was pretty normal until my junior year, when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and I realized I couldn’t function the same way at school. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t make myself be happy. I’d trudge through my halls and classes unsmilingly and my grades slipped, all because the word “cancer” was tattooed across my mind’s eye. Just the thought of my mom alone wasn’t the only think I had to deal with at home my mom was actually physically suffering. Soon after she was diagnosed, she went in for treatment and surgery. I can clearly remember that day when she came home from the hospital. She was weak and in pain, and all I could do was put her to bed and try and take care of her the best I could. I’ve never wanted to switch places with someone more in my life.
This stage in my life was like a vicious cycle – my mom’s condition made it harder to be myself at school, and the fact that school sucked made it harder to deal with my mom. Although I wish this story had a phenomenally inspiring point that turned it all around, it really doesn’t. My mom went into remission, and I was able to pick up the pieces and be Lydia again. I think to be able to dig myself out of my rut I had to realize that being depressed all of the time wouldn’t make my mom get better, so eventually the state of my mom’s health reflected my attitude: on good terms, but never quite the same as it had been before, and never would be again.”
– Lydia, age 18
“It’s hard enough to be a teen. Just trying to fit in, keep friends, stay out of trouble, get good grades, get into a good college. I mean the pressure can be overwhelming at times. But add to it a parent getting cancer or even worse, dying….well, that’s just the final straw. I know, however, that my story is not unique and that there are thousands of us going through the same experience, the same feelings and the same frustrations. I wrote this book with many others because there isn’t any book out there written for teens, by teens and I just didn’t think adults really “got” what we are going through. I hope that this book helps you understand the journey you are on or going to be on. I hope it helps a little with all the feelings you will be experiencing and I hope it helps you feel a little less crazy and a little less lonely out there.”
– Grady, 17 years old