Friday, June 22, 2012
Shortly after being diagnosed, Stacy and I talked about talking -- to the kids, specifically. We didn't talk about talking for a few more months, but that's a different post. And sometime last summer we had a conversation with them about it. Part of me was reluctant to do it, but part of me wanted them to know.
There was a decent amount of stress and worry around the house, particularly last July and they knew I was making a few trips to the doctor, had a little bandage on my neck. Something was up. And we wanted them to know what that was.
Between my psychologist, the Dana-Farber web site and Stacy, we figured out a good plan to discuss with them. We'd explain that I had cancer, but there were a lot of types of cancer and they were all different. And my type, called lymphoma, also had a lot of different types (more than 50, if you're counting) and they were all different. So if they hear friends at school talking about cancer, or if they read about it in a book, or see it in a movie, they shouldn't think that's the disease that Dad has. It's almost definitely NOT that type. (There are very few plot lines that include a character with follicular lymphoma.) And most importantly, I was now seeing some of the best doctors in the world who did nothing but treat my type of cancer. They would watch it and when they thought it necessary, they would treat it. Our lives probably wouldn't be changing anytime soon because of the news - except that I might be making a few trips to Dana-Farber now and then.
Noah had questions.
Was this because of those bumps on my neck? Yes, those were symptoms.
Can I go play Wii now?
Beyond that, there weren't many questions. And, here again, we run into the good challenges of being in watch-and-wait mode; without treatment and any visible symptoms, the kids don't see anything different. So the issue has washed back out to sea with the tide of time. And we haven't brought it back onto the beach, so to speak.
A year later and I don't think it crosses their mind and we don't look for ways to remind them. There will be time and there will be a time. For now, let them worry about more important things - how to hit a fastball or how to deal with girls, for example.
I'm still working on both of them.