Explaining Cancer To My Son, Who Had Cancer
My son has endured cancer treatment, from 4 months – 2 years old. Finding out he had a life-threatening tumour is easily the most shocking day of my life. The emotions I went through are almost indescribable.
I cannot even begin to imagine what it’s like to lose a child to cancer. I can tell you what its like to live days at a time with genuine fear that your child will be taken from you. It’s the most overwhelming,excruciating, anxious and stressful whirlwind I have ever been through and Ive been through some shit.
It’s not something you get over quickly. People think you should be happy your child is alive, believe me I am. I still lived those moments though and they will be forever branded into my nervous system. It makes me wonder just how much of the trauma he bears, even though he can’t remember most of it.
I did lose part of my son, although it pains my to say that. I feel like I lost the priveledge of a happy, carefree child. The anxiety that comes with his condition seems unbearable some days, for him not me. I struggle to deal with him when anxiety takes over but I figure I’m in a position than he is, Im not the one who lost part of my brain to cancer.
My son is incredibly smart. He has the most amazing story telling skills and if it’s something he is interested in, he excels. Problem is, the things he is interested in are not taught in primary schools…or high school…or anywhere. He will be successful if he can find a niche that suits his skill set, he will be happy. Thats all I want for him, happiness.
Like I mentioned before, he doesnt remember a lot of what happened to him. He remembers his post cancer appointments as he grew older. He remembers the loads of MRI check ups which require gas or a needle. He says he still feels like a patient because even today, he has quite a few appointments each year.
When he asks me about the cancer the questions are very difficult to answer. I don’t want to make false promises. I don’t want to give him false hope or false worry. I want him to know we can move on from this and live life without the concern cancer will be part of his future.
The questions about cancer come up around once a month, this is because hes at an age where he really wants to understand what has happened to him. He knows his brain works differently, he knows he is smart – but he can feel his brain working against him in some areas of life.
Mummy, Will The Cancer Come Back?
The short answer is no. Can I garuntee that? No. My best explanation is that it would be extremely rare if it came back. Sometimes I explain to him using comparisons like “You would have more chance of being bitten by a shark”….this often backfires because I don’t have current shark attack statistics on hand.
If It Comes Back Will It Kill Me This Time?
I don’t believe it will. I believe that if you fought this monster off as an infant, you will fight it easily as a 10 year old. I think we will have more options as well, you are bigger & stronger and you can handle more.
Why Did I Have To Get Cancer? Why Won’t My Face Get Better?
Nobody knows why cancer chooses some kids and others don’t have it at all. One day we might know, but for now its a mystery. It’s nothing you did wrong, it just happens. It happens to adults too, but you are very lucky and you beat it.
I’m sorry about your face. The decision over your surgery was a life saving one. If you didnt have the surgery that damaged your facial nerves, you wouldnt be here today. I think it was worth it dont you? Besides, everybody tells me you are handsome.
He blushes and tells me to stop, he quietly agrees, facial palsy is a small price to pay for life.