How To Tell Your Sons You Have Cancer

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Help Find A Cure For Liver Cancer

Help Find A Cure For Liver Cancer

First, my doctors and I both believe that telling your children that you have a terminal disease is important. No matter how difficult or uncomfortable it may be its nothing to how your children would feel when a loved one dies without telling them that they’re even sick.

I was diagnosed with liver cancer on 4/15 of this year. A procedure called T.A.B.E. was unsuccessful so I was scheduled to meet the Palliative Care team. Prior to cancer I had never heard the term “Palliative” nor had I ever used it in a conversation. I should have had a clue because of its locale in The Moore’s Cancer Center at the Thornton Campus in La Jolla.

In just a few minutes my life changed and reality came crashing down around me. The head physician told me that my cancer was going end my life in about a year or any period before a year or sometime after a year. Really, that was the time frame that he gave me. I don’t pay any attention to the time frame as it’s just an estimate based on historical data. The one factor missing in their equation is me, the patient & it doesn’t show how much I want to live.

Needless to say I was shocked which quickly turned to anger. I was now standing in the corner of the room trying to estimate how many steps it was to him and whether to hit him with a front kick, side kick or just smack the smile off his face.

After a lot of thinking I realized that he was doing his job & I’m sure that he doesn’t take any pleasure from it. He & I have become a working team & I actually like him & respect the work that he does for those in the same position as myself. All it took was two words from me; “I’m sorry.”

My first concern was how do I tell my sons. My ideas ran the gamut from absurd to grandiose. Fortunately the Palliative team includes a clinical social work who worked with me on everything from timing to delivery.

The day arrived and I looked at Marti and she gave me the signal that meant this was as good a time as any. I asked if I could talk to them. I kept it short and simple and after telling them that I had cancer I asked if they had any questions.

Trevor (age almost 13): Asked if we could produce a Cancer Television Commercial
Trent (just turned 11):   Asked if was contagious

They had no more questions & they quickly went back to building Lego pieces. Per the social workers suggestion I had kept it simple & I kept my emotions in check.

I had a different version in my head, one that included uncontrollable sobbing, which goes to show I don’t have a clue about some things. So, the once dreaded responsibility wasn’t so difficult after all and is now behind me.

NOTE: Recently I had an MRI & biopsy & my cancer is stable which means it hasn’t gotten better but it hasn’t hasn’t gotten any worse. Some days thats all you’re going to get and you just have to be happy with that.

My thanks to the entire palliative team at UCSD.
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22 thoughts on “How To Tell Your Sons You Have Cancer

  1. I am so proud and honored t know you, to watch your courage and strength. Your attitude is so important and your is fantastic. This diagnosis and time line are based on history and NOT on The infamous Bill Kizer. Stay Strong, Stay Positive and Fight.

  2. Thanks for sharing Bill. and remember if you and your kids ever need it KidsKonnected.org I highly recommend them!
    Kids Konnected was developed on the premise that when a parent gets cancer, the entire family is affected and the needs of the children must be addressed. Our programs started in California and soon spread nationwide. The mission of Kids Konnected is to provide friendship, understanding, education and support for kids and teens who have a parent with cancer or have lost a parent with cancer.

  3. Wow, what a post!

    I am glad to hear that the cancer has “stabilized.” Now that you have temporarily stunned it. It is time to kick its a$$.

    • Thank each and every one of you for your deep felt messages. The Power of Community shows it’s power once again. Medically nothing has changed but spiritually my heart has been filled once again. Thanks for for your prayers, positive thoughts and your collective strength and wisdom.

      Bill

  4. Wow! What a journey. I am so amazed at how bravely you are navigating it.
    I just joined DSD. Down in SD a lot. Let’s get together for lunch!

    • Hi Glen, Thanks for your note. It’s notes like this & many others that finally convinced me that I made a differnce.

      Thanks again,

      Bill Kizer

    • Thank each and every one of you for your deep felt messages. The Power of Community shows it’s power once again. Medically nothing has changed but spiritually my heart has been filled once again. Thanks for for your prayers, positive thoughts and your collective strength and wisdom.

      Bill

  5. Bill so sorry that i missed you at Summit this year but I hope to meet up with you next year and look forward to seeing that huge smile again,
    Best wishes.

    • Thank each and every one of you for your deep felt messages. The Power of Community shows it’s power once again. Medically nothing has changed but spiritually my heart has been filled once again. Thanks for for your prayers, positive thoughts and your collective strength and wisdom.

      Bill

  6. Hi Bill. I just read your article about telling your children about cancer. My heart broke as I considered this task. As I read I have to admit I giggled and thought “that figures” when you wrote about your sons reactions. I have 2boys and I could totally see that happening. I wish you the best in your fight.

    • Thank each and every one of you for your deep felt messages. The Power of Community shows it’s power once again. Medically nothing has changed but spiritually my heart has been filled once again. Thanks for for your prayers, positive thoughts and your collective strength and wisdom.

      Bill

  7. Thanks for sharing Bill, I have a picture of you and your boys in my prayer journal and I pray for you all the time. Praying much Glory come to God in and through this tough circumstance. You are a very good writer Bill, your transparency is a gift.

    • Hi Bill,
      We have never meet but I certainly know of you thru the Social Media circles. What a moving post. Thanks so much for sharing. Keep fighting my friend.

      • Thank each and every one of you for your deep felt messages. The Power of Community shows it’s power once again. Medically nothing has changed but spiritually my heart has been filled once again. Thanks for for your prayers, positive thoughts and your collective strength and wisdom.

        Bill

  8. Thanks for Sharing Bill. I am sure it was not an easy talk. Yes, you are navigating it well, especially deciding not to hit the doctor.  I have to admit I might have had the same reaction. Our thoughts are with you in your fight ahead. Our hearts go out to your and your family.

    • Hi Karen,

      Thanks for your note on my blog today. I’m in agreement with you about not taking any physical action against Dr. Roeland, he was just doing his job & he & the Palliative Care do an incredible job.

      • Thank each and every one of you for your deep felt messages. The Power of Community shows it’s power once again. Medically nothing has changed but spiritually my heart has been filled once again. Thanks for for your prayers, positive thoughts and your collective strength and wisdom.

        Bill

    • Thank each and every one of you for your deep felt messages. The Power of Community shows it’s power once again. Medically nothing has changed but spiritually my heart has been filled once again. Thanks for for your prayers, positive thoughts and your collective strength and wisdom.

      Bill

  9. I love how deeply in love you are with your life. It also explains why you are so generous with your time and energy. I can’t wait to meet up for lunch this week! You are amazing!

    • Thank each and every one of you for your deep felt messages. The Power of Community shows it’s power once again. Medically nothing has changed but spiritually my heart has been filled once again. Thanks for for your prayers, positive thoughts and your collective strength and wisdom.

      Bill

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