Thank you for your kind suggestions. I didn't know that you had that type of cancer. It sounds like you handled your situation with dignity & humor. I also think that it is important to be able to laugh about some of this stuff that is NOT funny. When Mom first told us about this possibility that she might have cancer and would have to take chemo, my sister, her & I were all on a 3 way call. I recall that the wind was sucked completely out of my stomach but I knew that to cry would only have worried and made things worse so instead I made a crack that we could go wig shopping and pick out a cool wig. My sister was so appalled, she did NOT think that was something to joke about, but my Mom laughed and later so did my sis. Sometimes you have to laugh or else you'll cry, I do both. I'm 26, sis is 38, Mom is 57, & my son is four. I love this age for him, he is starting to spell every word he sees, it won't be very long until he is reading. I have a very frank relationship with him. He knows that I worry for NaNa but I have explained to him about the circle of life and I also think that he has a concept of death & heaven & God. I try not to burden him with any details. He knows to be gentle with NaNa & he is. He is very loving with her and sometimes I ask him to help me bring things to her & so forth. He feels big when he helps, they have a special relationship. I think so far he is doing ok, no outward signs of stress or acting out. I just worry for the time if/when....I guess instincts will kick in. Thank you again for sharing what you did, it really touched me. Your family sounds like a real loving family. I guess not every New Yorker is rude--just kidding!!!!! No okie jokes! Take care John,
Reply To: email@example.com
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2000 3:15 PM
Subject: RE: [MOL] Lillian/question
Dusti...may I ask how old Chance is? I have four daughters, 20, 10 and 6 year old twins. They were three years younger when I was diagnosed. My wife and I tried as best we could to prepare them for what I would look like coming home from the hospital, had them participate in shaving off a beard I had always had and, when radiation began, they helped to shave my head. We had a grand old time. The cancer was located in my nose and upper pallet so the surgery was quite disfiguring. When I came home and would remove my "nose" at night, the twins (3 at the time) would play hide the nose on me. I found that acceptance and humor to be very important to their ability to integrate things. I also contacted the school psychologist and all of them had that support available to them. Making them part of the process was important and laughing at things was a great stress reducer and outlet. To this day I'm known as "Daddy No-Nose" ;+)
My older daughter took much longer to open up but finally did with me one day in mid radiation treatment. All the anger and tears and fear came out. We both expressed ALL of the variety of feelings we had and held each other and cried. Three years later, I'm still "Dad" and now meet her for lunch and give advise about the "dating game". We also just lost a neighbors' 10 year old son and playmate to our three youngest in a car crash. Giving the three of them the opportunity to participate in the services, express their feelings and talk about it proved to be the right thing. It took about a week but all is back to normal and they have integrated the concept of death and dying. It is something that must be talked through and dealt with up front and not avoided since all children are confronted with the issue at some time in their lives.
I guess if I could offer anything, it would be to make them as much a part of what is going on as you can and they are prepared to accept. Giving Chance the choice gives a degree of control that will help deal with what ever happens. God Bless and know that you are in my prayers.
From: Barham, Dusti # IHTUL [mailto:Dusti.Barham@tulsa.cistech.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2000 3:44 PM
Subject: [MOL] Lillian/question
Hi Lillian, I have a quick question. You said you had some info on how to talk to kids about cancer, can you post something. As this has progressed, I would like to know what the 'experts' say about talking to small children about this. So far, I have just told Chance that NaNa has poison in her stomach and that the Dr.'s are trying to get it out. Thanks Lillian,