Diagnosis · Distractions

Telling the Kids

Last night we broke the news to the kids.  I have awesome kids!!! I knew I needed to tell them the complete story, including using the word “cancer,” but I also knew I did not need to provide all the gory details – only as much as they ask for.

I’d planned to tell them after dinner, but my fabulous photographer Debra had come by to show me the results from our photo shoot (they are awesome! Saving that for a future post!), and of course the kids wanted to know what the heck was going on.

So, at dinner, we dove on in. I started with the surgery, explaining that I was going to have an operation later this month, and that after the operation, I’ll be tired and not be feeling great. The reason I need an operation is to take out some cancer that is in my body.

The kids started chattering; they’d heard of cancer, of course, but they really honestly did not know what it was.  (Mr. Know-It-All chimed in: “There are two kinds of cancer.  One is the kind that makes you sick, and the other is the constellation.”  “Yes,” I agreed; “I’m talking about the kind that makes you sick.”)

I explained, “There are lots of different kinds of cancer. A lot of the times people get better from cancer, and they don’t die from it.” Here we diverged into how it’s true that some people die of cancer, but I’m not going to die of cancer, at least not right now … I will die of something, someday, because everyone dies of something eventually, but it won’t be cancer, and it won’t be now … all with lots of laughing.  I guess you had to be there. Yes, my family (all four of us) deal with everything with humor.

Back on topic, I explained that cancer is just some cells in your body that go crazy and they grow way too fast, which makes a lump, or “tumor,” in your body.  In my case, it’s in my breast, so they are going to have to remove my whole right breast.

Lane said, “So you have breast cancer.”  I said yes.

We then moved on to talk about how I was going to be lopsided for a while, but they’ll eventually fix it.  I’ll be lopsided on our trip to London, but I might be able to wear a fake booby (BOOBIES ARE FUNNY) so that people don’t point at me and laugh.

There were a couple of good questions, including, “How’d you get cancer?”  I explained that it’s not like strep throat, which you can get from kissing. Most people get cancer just randomly; some people inherit it. They are doing some tests to figure out which kind mine is.

“So, they don’t know.”

“That’s right, they don’t really know yet. But don’t worry, you can’t catch it from me!”

But what does all this have to do with the lady who was just at our house??  I explained that because they are going to remove one of my breasts, I wanted to get some nice photos of the way they look now.  So yes, I got nudie photos taken! They’ll get to see them soon, I promised.

And that was it.  We went back to picking out our favorite Lego sets from the catalog that had recently arrived.

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