Why was his hair falling out? Why was he going to the hospital all the time? Why was he getting bone marrows all the time? It never occurred to me that he might die. What was happening? I didn't get to go to the hospital to see him. What was leukemia? Why was he getting so many presents???
—Chet Stevens Straight from the Siblings: Another Look at the Rainbow childhood cancer touches all members of the family, with especially long-lasting effects on siblings. The diagnosis creates an array of conflicting emotions in siblings; not only are the siblings concerned about their ill brother or sister, but they usually resent the turmoil that the family has been thrown into. They feel jealous of the gifts and attention showered on the sick child, yet feel guilty for having these emotions. The days, months, and years after diagnosis can be difficult indeed for the sibling of a child with leukemia.
This chapter starts with ways to explain the diagnosis of a CNS tumor to the well siblings. It also discusses common emotions and behaviors of the siblings. Parents and siblings then share their experiences and ways that they cope.
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