Mom of three shares advice on navigating cancer with children

Christine Danielson had just stopped breast feeding her third child when she noticed a lump in her left breast that she had never felt before. “I had my husband feel it,” she says, “and he thought it was odd, but we hoped it was nothing to worry about.” She immediately scheduled an appointment with her primary care physician (PCP) and they asked to see her right away. Her doctor scheduled her for an ultrasound and mammogram and after that whirlwind, Christine was diagnosed with stage III HER2-positive invasive ductal carcinoma on May 5, 2020.

“Telling my children was difficult,” Christine says. “They were so young, but my husband and I felt it was important to let them know that there was going to be changes to mommy physically. We told them mommy was sick, but that she would be okay.” Through all of the different aspects of cancer, Christine credits her honesty with her children for helping them to understand her illness. “We called it the ‘big sickness.’ Even though mommy was sick, the medicine she took would make her big sickness go away. When mommy had surgery, it was getting rid of the big sickness.  When mommy looked different, it was the medicine working. Now they are not worried about mommy anymore.”

Christine even kept her daughters included in some of the rituals that came along with chemotherapy treatment. “I got my girls these matching jean jackets that said ‘Mini and Mama’ on the back. At each of my treatments, I wore that jacket as just a reminder that I am their mama and I am going to fight, and my girls wore the same jackets the day of my treatment.”

Christine also credits positive mindfulness with helping her through her battle. “As silly as it sounds, I think having a positive mindset has helped me through this battle,” she says. “I have tried to find a lesson with each and every challenge that I face and each process that I’ve had to go through.”

“Even though cancer is a curse, it truly is a blessing. It kind of puts life into perspective and lets you know what’s really important and what isn’t anymore. I try to preach positivity, and I believe that has helped me get through this battle with not too many challenges mentally.”

Christine is expected to complete her treatment for her breast cancer treatment later this year.

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