Physically and emotionally; tears may never be far away and some days you can hardly get out of bed. Be gentle on yourself and your tamariki. You've been through an ordeal.
Treatment is finished, 'my taitamaiti has no safety net'. Discuss your feelings during follow up consultations at the hospital and ask for extra help and support if you need it.
The cancer will come back; fear of recurrence is common and it is OK to feel this way. Discuss this with your hospital team too, they can give you information and reassurance that will help calm anxieties and fears
The way forward is unclear, life feels uncertain. There is no doubt that life will never be quite the same but life before cancer had structure and some of that can be re-established in this "new normal". Work together, be creative, think of ways to move forward with your whānau by involving them in the decision-making. You may need help from support groups so don't be afraid to access it.
Feeling guilty is normal - remind yourself that the cancer was not your fault and there is no way you could have prepared yourself for it. You've done exceptionally well, caring for your taitamaiti and keeping the whānau going too. Remember to celebrate the family's accomplishments, no matter how small. Recognise achievement, especially your own. Enjoy special time with your partner and treat yourselves, often.
You may feel you are the only parents in the world whose taitamaiti has been diagnosed with cancer. You are not alone, many others have walked this road before you. Your hospital Social Worker can help. Much can be gained by talking to those who have been there too and understand how you feel.
Many of these feelings will pass over time but if they don't and you or members of your whānau are not coping, please ask for help. A number of organisations are there to assist and contact information is listed on our Support Organisations page.
Kenzie’s Gift was founded in 2008 by Nic Russell in memory of her 3 year old daughter Kenzie. The story of Kenzie’s Gift is not one of miracles. It is one of the gutsy determination, tenacity and love of an amazing and beautiful little girl, Kenzie. Kenzie was only two years old when she was diagnosed with cancer and sadly died on the 29th of December 2005. Through this tragedy came the hope for families that is Kenzie’s Gift.
Our purpose is to support the emotional well-being and mental health of tamariki, mātātahi and their families affected by cancer, serious illness or bereavement. We achieve this by providing one on one therapy with registered mental health professionals, the delivery of printed cancer and grief packs for tamariki, and an extensive online information resource.
We receive no government funding. All this is made possible by wonderful supporters, donors, grants, philanthropists and fundraising initiatives, ensuring the Gift keeps on giving to those who need it.
Please accept this Gift from us now. It comes with love and hope for your future.
CEO, Kenzie's Gift