October is not my favourite month. There I said it. I know I’m usually the one being loud and proud supporting cancer, but I just find that my anxiety is that much higher with all the reminders of breast cancer. It is so embarrassing, I’ve sat on this post for weeks now because I didn’t want you to know the truth. I totally get the purpose and I fully appreciate how this awareness and financial gains has saved so many lives. My anxiety is probably ridiculous. I find myself avoiding anything to do with breast cancer, which then makes me feel even more guilty. I even find myself avoiding friends during this time, so I apologize for that. (XO)
I think that part of the reason is that October was the month that my sweet, intuitive son asked me in the middle of the grocery store if I had breast cancer. I’ll back up a little…Kris and I decided when I got diagnosed that we weren’t going to tell the kids about the cancer because of the bad connotations and we were worried that kids at school may talk about their experiences with cancer where someone died and that would upset the kids. We decided to just use generic terms about “being sick” and “needing medicine that’s going to make mummy feel yucky and lose her hair”. We didn’t give the kids (aged 5 & 7 at time of diagnosis) enough credit on what they actually saw and how they would figure it out on their own. So getting the very blunt question at checkout really caught me off guard as I thought I’d been doing an amazing job at hiding cancer from my kids.
If you or a loved one is struggling with how to talk about a diagnosis with young children, reach out to a support group or counsellor. There are so many knowledgeable people out there that can help you figure out how to best approach the topic, either from their own experiences or their training. A few months after all my treatments were completed, I attended a meeting with a group of other parents who had younger children. I learned a lot from those other parents but also learned what Kris and I did (keeping the cancer from the kids) was not wrong and that everyone will handle things differently, but appropriately for their own kids. I’ve included some useful information. Some books titled: “Cancer hates kisses”, “Let my colors out”, Mommy Duck loses her feathers”, and “The rainbow feelings of cancer”.
Things feel a little raw now that I got that off my chest.
See you next time!