Beyond Cancer Podcast – Episode #1: Family Dynamics

No one wants to give their kids bad news, and it’s hard to imagine worse than telling your kids you have cancer. For lymphoma survivors Gina Johnson and Connie Grayson, the challenge was greater, because they not only had their own kids to tell, but as teachers, they also had a school full of children to navigate.

Field day for Connie Grayson and her students.
Field day for Connie Grayson and her students.

Every kid reacts differently to the news, as Johnson recounts her discussion with her children.

“We sat down at the kitchen table and my daughter screamed hysterically,” recalls Gina. “But my son just sat there. ‘Is that it?’ he said.”

For Connie, the discussion was complicated by the fact that she had recently lost her own father to melanoma.“ My daughter had lost her grandfather to cancer, and then her mother was diagnosed with cancer, too.” Grayson says. “She was very, very angry.”

lymphoma, teaching, Gina Johnson
Gina Johnson and her two kids, Jaden and Hannah.

Using both humor and honesty, Gina and Connie were able to help their own kids manage their anger and fear, and to also help the many kids whose lives they touch at their schools.

Hear Connie and Gina’s story by listening to the podcast episode below or click “download” to listen later. Subscribe options are also available via iTunes, Google Play, the Stitcher app, TuneIn app, and RSS.

The Beyond Cancer podcast series features cancer survivors sharing how they’ve navigated the physical side effects, emotional challenges, and different dynamics of life during and after cancer treatment. Visit the Beyond Cancer page for more episodes and Dana-Farber’s podcast page for more information on other cancer podcast series.