Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What The Boys Know-Some Answers to Your Questions

Many of you have inquired about how John Paul and Brennan are doing through all of this. My immediate answer is remarkably well. I am so proud of both of them, of who they are and how they handle their worlds. But I would also have to be truthful in saying that they both are struggling to make sense of it all.

Many of you know that John Paul, turning six in December, is incredibly in tune with his surroundings. Before school started, I had a brief conversation with him. Most importantly, I did not want him to learn that I had cancer again from a classmate, teacher, or parent. Clearly he would know, as well as others at school, that things are different in our family. I can't drive him to school. (Thank you again Steph!) We also are sending a month's supply of snacks at a time, rather than two each day in his backpack. Because we can't be certain each day where I will be, I want to make sure he never goes without. He is also participating in hot lunch, rather than sending him to school with a prepared meal. I feel an almost compulsive need to make sure that these types of things are taken care of. But to him, he may just notice that things are a bit different than some of his peers.

Anyways, I just explained that like when Mommy had cancer in her "boobs" and had to go through some things in order to get better, it is like that again, but in my blood. After reiterating to him that he can't catch these cancer germs, he was off to play football. I suppose it has gone more smoothly this time in the sense that he hasn't gone around announcing (at least that I know of....) to anyone and everyone that I don't have any boobs and that I don't have any hair because of chemo.

I have tried to gently bring the topic up on several occasions but he does not seem interested in talking about it. I have tried reading with him some age-appropriate books for children whose parents are battling cancer. No interest there, either.

But of course, we can see his own frustrations and fears as they surface in other behaviors. We have been reassured that this is very normal. But it just pisses me off that this has to be his normal.

Brennan, for the most part, is not ready to understand the concept of cancer. He, like John Paul, knows I am "sick" and need to rest alot. Brennan asks me almost every day if I am better yet. It is with a broken heart that I tell him "a little bit every day".

They have dealt with countless doctor visits, surgeries, procedures, drug therapies, and hospital visits. Both seem to accept the part they understand as just part of our world. In many ways I am grateful that they do not understand the odds I am fighting.

Brennan seems to allow his feelings out by being even more honery and really has pushed being defiant. Craig and I often have to balance what is normal for a three year old versus what is a result of his confusion with his world.

In summary, we have explained to our boys that Mommy is sick and that we are doing everything possible to make Mommy better. We have not discussed the transplant with them because unless I succeed in raising the money, there won't be one. So I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Likewise, we have not discussed the possibility of me dying. They are too young to be forced to deal with that, at least until the day I run out of options.

I appreciate all the things that so many of you have done to help Brennan and John Paul through all of this. It helps me to know how loved they are.

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