Trauma: my 6 year old grandson is 3 weeks into treatment for leukaemia


My 6 year old grandson is 3 weeks into his treatment for Leukaemia. The children's hospital have been incredible, apart from the obvious illness & the effects of chemotherapy & steroid treatment on his body, we're very concerned how withdrawn he has become, he hardly ever talks unless he wants something & he appears to be traumatised.

It's obviously incredibly painful to watch such a lively little boy become a shadow of himself, has anyone else had this experience with a child of similar age?.


  • Hello Les789

    I'm so very sorry to hear about your grandson's diagnosis. I can only imagine how difficult this is for him and for you all as his family at this time.

    We don't often have family members post here in the Cancer Chat forum regarding young children who are undergoing treatment. I have however read many thousands of posts from adults who have shared their struggles with the changes that happen in their life following a cancer diagnosis and starting a treatment plan so it comes as no surprise that your much-loved grandson is struggling at the moment. Life has undoubtedly been turned upside down for him, and you all. Not only is he having to contend with the physical side effects of the treatment that he's undergoing but I presume his whole routine has changed. No school. Limited access to friends. Stange places and people. I'd imagine that he feels quite confused and overwhelmed by everything. You've titled your post "trauma" and, that is probably what it feels like. 

    It's good to know that the hospital team is being so supportive during this time. I'd really encourage you as a family to share your concerns about his withdrawal with the hospital team. I'm sure that they will be able to give you some reassurance and insight into this and it's possible that they may have access to therapists who work with children undergoing treatment who may be able to help. It's also worth talking to them about what emotional support is available to the family at this time. If you have a Maggie's centre local to you then his parents and other family members can access support. 

    I also wanted to let you know that the charity Young Lives vs Cancer has a support group for parents and carers and it may be that you're able to connect with others who can share their experiences via their support group. 

    If you'd like to talk things through with one of our team of nurses you are of course most welcome to call them. I know they will be happy to listen and offer any advice, information, and support they can. They're available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 0808 800 4040. 

    I know that this is early days in the treatment plan, and I do hope that things settle and improve soon. Please feel free to keep in touch and share how you're all coping if it helps. 

    Sending you all my very best wishes, 
    Cancer Chat moderator 

  • I've forwarded your reply to my daughter as any advice will undoubtedly help, I briefly saw the little chap in the car on his return from hospital after another chemo session yesterday, he was out cold as they've increased his anti- sickness medication.

    I'm taking solice in the fact that he's getting intensive treatment in the first 5 weeks & then perhaps he'll turn a corner as the treatments are more spaced.

    Thanks for the reply as we're all a little lost at the moment.


  • Very sorry to hear about your grandson. The one positive fact about childhood leukaemia is that survival rates have improved enormously since I was a child in the 1970s. Cases that were hopeless then are now routinely cured. 
    Wishing you and your family, and especially your grandson, the very best. Harry