From the Introduction:
We hope that the voices in this book create a community of support to give you strength as you deal with your parent's cancer. Because if you can learn from the 20/20 hindsight and mistakes of others who've been there, you'll be better prepared to handle the situations you will encounter.
A parent's cancer is uncharted territory, and the uncertainty about what's happening and what's next can be nerve-racking. "Among the things I wish I was told with more clarity is: here's what your mom's going to be going through, here's what you need to do, what you need to be aware of..." said Aaron, who was a teen when his mom had breast cancer. This book doesn't have all the answers, but it will provide you with an idea of what might be going on-and how to get the information you need if your parents aren't good communicators.
One of the most important things we learned from interviewing so many teens--and one of the themes of this guide--is that everyone deals with their parent's cancer differently. Some people cope just fine. Others have a very hard time. A lot depends on the nature of the diagnosis. Is your parent facing a cancer that has a good treatment success rate? Or is the cancer a difficult one to treat?
Your reaction also depends on you. Personalities differ. Some teens want lots and lots of information. Others want the bare minimum. Some worry a great deal. Others feel confident that everything will be okay. Some lose their focus at school and see grades slip. Others hyper-focus on keeping grades up. Some want to talk about it all. Others don't. And that's okay.
One thing we can all agree on, though, is that cancer sucks. For everyone involved. We hope this book will help you cope in the months and years ahead.
As hard as times may get, you will make it through. Take it from Bailee Richardson, who was twelve when her mom was diagnosed: "Stay strong. Everything's going to work itself out in the end. Don't ever let it get the best of you."
Finally, here are two rules for this book:
Rule 1: Teens, don't feel guilty. You have your own way of coping, and you don't have to behave like any other teen in this book.
Rule 2: Parents, do not use the book to make your teen talk if he or she doesn't want to talk.