Yesterday, my husband and I are took wee man to kindergarten orientation. I have all the normal fears about my child starting school, and then some.
On Monday, I had the chance to hash out these fears with a family counsellor at the cancer agency, and I'm grateful for that. My fears:
- Another child who has lost someone to cancer will tell my child I'm going to die.
- My child will act out because of frustration, making his first year of big-kid school not so fun.
The basis of my fearsThere are a couple of reasons I'm worried about these particular points, especially the first one.
I have been warned by other parents who have gone through cancer treatments that kids can come home with misinformation from their peers.
My husband and I have kept our language simple and straight-forward when explaining my surgery and treatment to our son. However, this is his first experience with cancer. He knows my mother-in-law was sick, her lungs didn't work properly, and she died before mommy and daddy got married. But he doesn't know that she had cancer.
My sister, on the other hand, has the opposite challenge. My nephew, who is a year-and-a-half older than my son, knows people who have died of cancer. So my sister has been avoiding using the word when describing what's going on with me, out of concern he'll be upset because until now, for him cancer = death.
Time to tackle my fearsThe counsellor and I talked about preparing my son by talking to him about what my cancer means, and what it doesn't - namely that I'm strong, I'm young, and my doctors are doing everything they can to help make sure it doesn't come back.
Which sounds great in theory. But this brings up another fear, the unspeakable for everyone around me: what if we're all wrong? What if it does come back, and my son feels lied to?
This is one of those posts where I don't really have any clever quips to make me or anyone else feel better.