In this video, Billy-Jean talks about how she encouraged her friend in hospital to open up. She describes the benefits of talking about cancer with other children, and how explaining things to her school friends helped her.
CLIC Sargent Social Worker Lesley Nicol answers some frequently asked questions by the children CLIC Sargent supports.
I feel a bit lonely sometimes. What can I do to help me feel less alone?
It can be hard to stay in touch with friends when you are having treatment for cancer and it can be difficult to get back to normal afterwards. The important thing is to talk to people about how you feel. Your mum, dad or carer can help you to plan how to get back in touch with your friends and maybe arrange something fun to do. If you are in hospital and would like some visitors (and your doctors and nurses say it’s okay) you could invite a few friends to come and see you. If you have a phone, you can also phone or text your friends whenever you are feeling up to it.
My friends ask me lots of questions about my cancer but sometimes I don’t want to talk about it. What can I do?
It’s good that your friends are concerned about you and want to know how you are. Sometimes you will want to talk about things relating to your illness, but sometimes you’ll want to talk about other stuff. If you don’t want to talk about it, just ask if you can chat about it later and say what you would like to talk about instead, like what’s going on with them or what’s on TV.
How can I explain to my friends why I still need to go to hospital when I don’t need medicine anymore?
First of all, it’s important that you understand why you have to come to follow-up clinic. That will make it easier to explain things to your friends. Maybe you could just say that the doctors and nurses need to keep an eye on you for a while to check that you stay healthy. They also want to make sure that you don’t have any problems caused by your treatment.
The treatment I’m on means I don’t lose my hair. People don’t realise I’m ill and ask if I can do things I’m not allowed to. How do I tell them without getting upset?
If you can, try to talk to your friends about what is going on and why you can’t do certain things at the moment. That way, they will also know you are keeping them up to date about how you are. Perhaps when you are feeling okay, you could have your friends round to your house to find out how they are and let them know what is happening with you. You could always practise the things you would like to say with your parents, carers, CLIC Sargent Social Worker or nurse.
Updated September 2015, next review due 2018.