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31 Days of Pink: Children and A Cancer Diagnosis, Part 1

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
Abby(9) and Luke (5) holding their dogs, day before my surgery 2009

I guess there is really nothing that easy about going through breast cancer, but at the top of my list for difficult…telling our five and nine year old that I had cancer. When I heard the words come out of the surgeon’s mouth, “I am sorry, you do have breast cancer”, I remember looking at Jeff and saying “are you okay?” and he saw a look of shock on my face. I did take a deep breath and  follow up with “well, God is in control.” And the surgeon agreed.

As we began talking about what my options were with surgery and then the discussion of my Mother having a history of breast cancer in forties, he briefly mentioned me having the BRCA-1 testing done. The next words seemed to come out like they were in slow motion, ” you..will…want…to ..do…that….since..you..have..a..daughter.” I felt the tears coming, I think I really was in shock because when he mentioned my children, the reality hit me. Oh my Lord. I told him I could not talk anything about my children right now, I could get through what I needed to do, but I would completely lose it at the thought of them right now. That was quite a long afternoon at the hospital and they were at home with my Mother in law. Jeff and I drove home in separate cars and as I write this now, I cannot even remember what I must have been thinking, driving home. I was obviously tired, rattled and upset when I walked in the door. This is a little book I found where Abby had expressed her version of her Mom having cancer(kleenex please). Today I want to share her perpective……

The actual diagnosis date at the surgeon’s office is January 26, 2009 

I was at a scan or Dr appt every day that week..poor baby

This one gets me..is that me in a picture because I am not there?

She has always like to do research…
  I felt so bad, I knew it was getting to them and I had no control over it 

I would have given anything to be doing this for you, Abby.
And so, you read my captions under it. Heartwrenching.  I love that she, too, had an outlet through and did her beautiful illustrations with them. Children need that. They will just say it like it is, usually. Even when it hurts, even when it’s true. And she shared tonight that she remembers her teacher letting her go in the hall and make me a poster with my favorite bible verse (Proverbs 3:5-6) on it for a “welcome home” banner…I still have that poster. I remember wanting to protect them from what they must be feeling, and also being too weak to think about it, I felt like a child again myself. I didn’t want the attention to be on me, I wanted it to be on them. Abby did handle things so well, yet she was still scared and upset that her little world was turned upside down very quickly. I am so glad that the Lord carried her through and she told me she prayed alot. Now at almost fifteen years old she has so much wisdom and strength about her, I think partly because of her part in this process.  I will write about Luke’s perspective in tomorrow/s post.

Tip: On the Thursday before my surgery on Monday, I bought a special gift for both Abby (9) and Luke (5). They loved stuffed animals at the time, dogs to be specific, so I got Abby a yorkshire terrier and Luke a pug (which he named Suzanne, sniff..sniff). I got them in hopes of bringing some comfort while I was in the hospital a few days. Other ideas may be a special necklace or book depending on the age or gender of the child.

On Day four, I dedicate this post to Lee Ann Davis. She was diagnosed about a year after me, in her early thirties, wife and mother of a then three and five year old (I think are correct ages). She called me to ask a few questions and God connected us. We were total strangers but connected in a way you just can’t explain. We prayed, we talked, and she helped me in that first year “out”  because through her experience I was able to grasp my own.  We have had some good walks and even went to yoga some! I celebrate your recovery, Lee Ann, you had a go of it and you are one strong, determined lady! I will never forget how much enjoyed being with you during that season!

Blessings,
Suzanne

Love one another.” John 15:5

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