By Jen Jurgens
NOTE: Jen Jurgens is a member of our local SBNR community who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. This is her first post for SBNR.org.
Adam and I told Gavin the news on Sunday afternoon. Using the book Cancer in the Family, I prepped some bullet points that were supposed to resonate with a preschool-aged child. Fortunately, I also looked up how older children reacted.
I asked him if he remembered my “owie” (I couldn’t pick him up following the biopsy), and he said “Yes.” I told him that I was sick and that it was called breast cancer. I told him that the doctors were going to make it better, just like his broken arm, but that I might be tired sometimes.
The analogy was that the body is a garden full of flowers and vegetables . . . but my body (specifically my breast) sprouted a few weeds, and the doctors needed to cut them down and then put chemicals on them to keep them from coming back. He looked at me strangely, and promptly pulled up my shirt! He was looking for weeds.
After straightening that out I reminded him that he knew other people who had breast cancer. Without hesitation, he looked at me and said. “Aunt Dani.” I swear I never specifically told him that, but he’s prayed every night for 2 years for “Aunt Dani to feel better” so he must’ve picked up the term along the way. And then I asked “Who else?” and he said “Julia’s Grandma.” Which is also true . . . but I cannot figure out how he knew that. Let this be a lesson to those of you with kids. They hear it all and understand more than we can imagine!
He hugged me and asked the important questions:
“Will your medicine taste bad?”
”Will you have to get a shot?”
He kissed my “owie” to make it feel better, and then he asked if we could watch a movie and cuddle.
re-printed from Jen’s Blog.