A Summary of When Cancer Strikes the Home: An Anecdotal Guide to Family Communication

I don’t normally steer too far away from music and entertainment on here, but when something holds as much meaning as this does for me, then it simply must be shared — also, a blog post summary just happens to earn me some extra credit!

I just completed a research paper for my interpersonal communication class with a focus on family communication in families coping with cancer. I have studied research and have also experienced firsthand from my mom’s battle with cancer, that it is never something experienced or battled alone — the whole family is impacted.

“When you’re diagnosed with cancer, everybody around you is diagnosed, as well.” – Sheryl Crow

Here’s a list of major themes that I found and touched on in my analysis:

  • Family communication can be both open and selectively disclosed, but is not restricted to just one or the other. It can vary depending on a given moment, circumstance, or any other contributing factor.
  • Children are not yet cognitively able to process and understand the complexities of cancer. The truth should not be hidden, but confusion and anger can take a psychological toll on a young mind. Therefore, parents should be careful, as well as patient in the ways they communicate the realities of the illness.
  • A cancer diagnosis doesn’t only come as a fearful shock to the patient, it can also be a fearful shock to family members. It is a tricky balance learning how to communicate the exchange of fearful feelings, but is important t because suppressed fear can lead to depression.
  • Family communication surrounding the harsh realities of cancer is not as much of a taboo as it has been, due in great part to recent research and other factors, such as mainstream media attention. Popular culture mediums including film, literature, and music are beginning to lose sugarcoated stretches of truth and are shining light on real human stories of hope, sorrow, triumph, and loss.

Now, this really wouldn’t be a “Maria entry” without some element of music… so I am leaving you all with a song that hits so close to home, by one of my favorite artists of all time: The lovely and talented Martina McBride. The song is called “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” and the music video is embedded below. Enjoy.

One response to “A Summary of When Cancer Strikes the Home: An Anecdotal Guide to Family Communication

  1. Maria,
    Thanks for sharing. My wife has beaten cancer twice and when we won tickets to see Martina McBride perform at HANK FM studios in downtwon Indy last fall we were both excited. She sang this song while we slow danced and cried and she followed this song with Teenage Daughter’s (we have one of those!) and we laughed. Music heals! It was a lovely evening.
    Martina even tweeted “Fantastic!” to me this week when I told her my wife had beaten cancer twice.
    We are disappointed we won’t get to see SUGARLAND (based on the current list of tour dates) this year. When they come to Cincy we’ll be in South Carolina… That said, I plan on getting us tickets to see Martina McBride when she comes to Carmel, Indiana November 8th!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s