Hi, Darlene - and welcome ~
Our only child was an adult of 27 when I received my AN diagnosis so we didn't have to shield him from the truth or play word games. However, with children 9, 11, 13 and 15, it's a slightly different story. Because your children are no longer toddlers, they can be told the truth, but I wouldn't get too technical. I have always found that, when breaking anything negative to children, even teenagers, how you
act is critical, as they tend to take their cues from you. If your voice is shaking and you break into tears while telling them what you have and what you're going to do about it, they'll assume this is really baaaaad and that you'll probably die but don't want to tell them. I recall that most teenagers think they know everything anyway, and trying to keep them 'out of the loop' insults them ("I'm not a baby!"
) Of course, kids, like adults are individuals and, as their mother, you'll probably know, by instinct and experience, who can be told what. Still, I would wait until after Christmas and when you do break the news, empasize that the tumor is benign and treatable. With the odds of dying during the surgery being infinitesimal, you can safely state that you aren't going to die from this and if anxiety arises over your 'brain tumor' (and to avoid misunderstandings) you can accurately state that the tumor is in your skull, not your brain and you aren't actually having brain surgery but skull surgery. Yes, it's almost a matter of semantics, but the term 'brain surgery' seems to generate assumptions of your imminent death or at least, being in a vegetative state after the surgery, which is wildly inaccurate.
In short, be as honest and factual as you can and do not get overly emotional and/or cry while explaining this to your children. Easy for me to say, I know, but still important. Good luck with this. Jim