Things change when you are diagnosed with cancer and when you have kids it is all the more complicated. Although they are my primary motivation to kick cancer in the big ole behind, they are also the source of many of my tears. This diagnosis is hard enough for adults to deal with, but gosh, to ask a child to understand it, well that just isn't right! Unfortunately, however, I am not in charge, I did not choose this, but I can be in control of how I respond to it. From the beginning, we have chosen to be honest with our kids, but we have also been cautious with how we have presented information to them. After all, they are children, and so they should be treated as such. By keeping things from them, they would've created things in their own thoughts and imaginations, getting fact and fiction confused, provoking more anxiety. Instead, they know Mommy has cancer. (E response was, "you need to get rid of that Mommy!" I couldn't agree more.) They know Mommy has to have surgery to remove it, they know it may take a long time to get it all out of Mommy's body and that Mommy may lose her hair because of the strong medicine the doctors need to use to get rid of it. Most importantly, they know Mommy is going to be ok, but it may take some time. E, especially, ponders all these facts and occasionally brings it up in passing, but overall, at the moment, he is doing fine and so is Little Miss. We are all surrounded by an incredible support system that will not allow any of us to be anything but ok.
I searched for some books to help address the Big C with the kids, but sadly, I found few that I was willing to read to them. One, called Punk Wig, is my favorite. It tells the story, but in a way that is clear, concise, truthful, fun-loving and positive. I give it two thumbs up!
I hope and pray that all of us, especially my two children, become stronger, more confident and more appreciative of all that surrounds us as a result of this experience.
"Optimistic parents raise resilient children, but pessimistic parents raise broken offspring. Wherever there is darkness, show your children the light."
- Rabbi Shmuley Boteach