There will be children there.

So I’m in the middle of composing a completely frivelous post about my hair when I read this really wonderful bit of advice and post from a woman who has been there, done that. Katherine had Hodgkin’s at 21. This is what she writes:

“As for advice…hang out with the chatty people at chemo they will help keep you sane while you go through this. Never use a wig made from human hair. Always have Sprite with you (coke’s evilness aside it works great). When given the choice between ice chips and a popsicle go for the popsicle. If you really get down look at the kids going through it and get inspired. Ask if you can play with the PS2 for awhile, or try jumping up and down on the scale when they’re trying to weigh you, kids are brilliant and they manage to go through trials with more grace than I can say.”

Kids. Oh. My. God. There will be children there. Little ones, big ones, ones who should be on the playground themselves. Of course there will be children there. I knew that. And yet, somehow, I blocked it out, preferring to think of cancer patients as old. Grandmothers themselves. Great-grandmothers even. Or four-pack-a-day smokers with raspy voices, like my onetime thesis adviser who walked into a cyclotron in the ’60s. (Yes, it was on. And yes, that totally blows my anonymity, but it’s too good a story to hold back. He lived for another 30+ years and 25+ graduate students. Tough guy.)

You’re reminding me that that’s not so. That moms and dads and bloggers and college students and caregivers all get cancer. It’s nothing they did. It’s just what happens. And it happens to people of all ages and races and genders.

The truth is, cancer can strike any of us.

When I go to chemotherapy next week, it won’t just be me in that great big room. I won’t even be the youngest.

There will be children there.


23 Responses to There will be children there.

  1. Pat says:

    You are going to do this. I never met you before. I found you from a twitter friend’s site. I am reading your site. I know because I have been there and just finished my radiation. I am a single mom of two young girls.
    YOU ARE GOING TO DO THIS. Then, you are going to inspire someone else who needs you. I can feel it in my being.
    I know another woman who lives in Canada who’s blog helped me tremendously. She is Von Kranki and she posts on my site a lot. Her blog really helped me deal.

  2. LawyerMama says:

    Well, wow. I’d never thought about that either. The kids. If anything can give you the courage to get through this, I’d think that watching the kids who do it would help.

  3. Bon says:

    on Friday morning, i left work and slipped out to the local mall to pick up some sunglasses for Oscar for this weekend’s trip to his grandparents’ house…and ran into a woman who lived in my university residence eighteen years ago, and who i’d briefly gotten back in contact with two years ago when i taught her in an M.Ed class. she had her five year old son in the shopping cart. he has leukemia. they’d just come from a treatment. wham.

    i think, in our society, we really do live with this weird belief that we are untouchable, that tragedy and hardship and harrowing happens to others. and then it doesn’t. it hits close, or hits directly, hits close again…and eventually, we start to get it, exactly as you said – it’s just what happens. it is a part of living…a very hard part…but it is normal. a part of me thinks i am a better person for finally understanding that, for starting to live differently because of it. a part of me wishes desperately that i could believe that no one had to go for chemo next week, not you, not that five year old boy in my city…

    i fear i’ve come to you a little empty-handed today, without any of the right words at all to offer. so just let me say that my words are meant to say that your post hit me hard, and makes sense to me. and that i’m here.

  4. jen says:

    yes. and how much there is to learn from them. what a beautiful post.

  5. Brownie says:

    AB’s mom, here. This is my first blog-experience so I hope I’m doing this right! When the comment section asked for my name, I didn’t know if I needed to put my real name. But you’re a bright girl and I figured you could break this seceret code. OK, OK. You’ve been thru a lot lately so I’ll give another helpful hint. I’m a real Jackson miss. (Get it? Get it?)

    What a wonderful way to keep friends and family updated on how you are doing. And the comments you get are terrific. What a great bunch of supporters! You aren’t old enuf to appreciate one offer to wear a Pink Lady jacket if that would help. Hope you asked someone from my generation!

    While I’m reading your blog, the same phrase keeps going thru my mind. “You go, girl! You go, girl! You go, girl!”

    Well, I don’t want to tire you out. I wrote your momma (who is probably there with you now). I’ll drop by for another visit later.

  6. hayeswoods says:

    I just wanted to add some words of support and say that I will be praying for you. I too have a 6 month old totally breastfed child and if I were in your shoes I would approach this the same way you are. My mother-in-law fought her cancer hard with a positive attitude and lived much longer than her original very grim prognosis. You can beat this!!! Hug those babies of yours, keep saying yes, and don’t lose your positive attitude. Cancer is evil but it can be beaten.

    Sending lots of positive thoughts and prayers your way,

    Jennifer (and little Lizzy!)

  7. katy says:

    You have such a positive attitude right now and that is half of the battle. I had a cousin that went through breast cancer treatment when she was around 40 and she was an inspiration to me. She had us write Happy birthday grandma on her head at our grandmothers birthday party. In those dark moments when its just you and your thoughts remember how many people are out here cheering you on.

  8. NYfriend says:

    Children are the light of our lives. I know that especially holds true for you and your boys. Let these children be no different, see them for the brilliant light that they are. And they will see your glow as well. 🙂

    I bet there will be some more space savvy kids soon. 😉

  9. Amanda says:

    Kindreds, women and girls, boys and men. I love the way you are carving your way, demanding that this be a journey of strength. I am relieved that you are listening to your family and allowing them to help, to let you be and rest I am honored and rocked to my core with a desire to help as you allow us to be along in the strange blogger way, cheering you on, sending you strength and believing in the stories you will tell years from now, the way you will be there for someone else.

  10. Yes. The children. As happens so often, they show us the way things are really done. I don’t think they’ll make you sad, actually. I believe that they’ll inspire you and even make you laugh. And I say that having known two children with cancer.

  11. Ashlea says:

    The kids really do trudge on through very well. My little guy was 2 when he started (16 months) of chemo and aside from the lack of hair, most people never would have guessed. He just went about life.
    Now the teens otoh, were a sad lot :/ They knew enough to be afraid, but were too young to be at peace with their treatment. They wanted, and rightly so, prom and dates and a “normal” life so bad.
    Sending you positive healing energy!!

  12. Damselfly says:

    That totally sucks.

    My next-door neighbor girl had leukemia as a tot. Thankfully, she is in college now!

  13. Arkie Mama says:

    Hey, Mama Warrior —

    Not only will you kick ass in treatment, you also will exchange tender smiles with those precious little ones you’ve just described.

    You will recognize them by their resilience.

    They will recognize you by the strength of your mamalove.

    And you will draw from them just as much faith as they will draw from you.

  14. Ally says:

    I never considered that the children would be there, either. But of course that makes sense. I love that you’ll be inspired by them. And they by you. I love the advice that you found on the net; I’m picturing you jumping up and down on a scale just to make a little trouble. 🙂

  15. meredith says:

    This touched me deeply. My Dad went through Chemo last year and it was the kids that were there with him that made him very emotional. But these kids sharing a chemo room with my Dad, also shared their strength with him, as they will with you.

  16. MammaLoves says:

    That’s right. And NONE of you will deserve to be there.

    I love the jumping up and down on the scale idea. I really think you should wear a tiara. What’s the old Olay ad? “Always dress like you have someplace better to be.” Yep. A tiara and long white gloves should do the trick.

    Know we’ll be with you too. Don’t forget to let us know what time we’re to show up.

  17. Hugs from me and all my fictional nutcases at West of Mars. If you’re ever down, stop on over and get into the zany antics of a fictional rock band.

    It may not be much, but maybe the escapism, just for a few minutes, will help.

  18. Nancy says:

    I believe mentioned in a previous comment that I used to receive my regular IV treatment in a hemotologist/oncologist’s office — in one of those open IV therapy rooms.

    During my last months in that office (since I now receive my IV infusions at home), a young man came in to start his chemo. He was 18. A proud, strong, country boy (he would use this label for himself, and proudly) from rural WVa. Absolutely TERRIFIED of needles. I found myself talking to him, encouraging him, trying to get him to relax so that he wouldn’t focus on the needle stick.

    I’d see him every treatment after that. He never quite got used to the needles but he was taking the chemo in stride. He’d go home and sleep after each session. And he’d talk about four-wheeling, hanging out with friends, and working out (his true passion). When he talked I could see glimpses of the man he would become, and also some glimpses of the little boy who he still was in so many ways.

    So yes, there will be children and young people there. But I bet you will find they have strength in so many ways.

  19. Kristin says:

    There’s a reason I give my hair away. (I’m working on the fourth donation. It takes a while.) It’s for the kids. They are amazingly resilient, though. So are you.

  20. Mrs. Chicken says:

    I agree with the others; the children will strengthen your resolve.

  21. Jennifer says:

    The children? I hadn’t thought about that. They will give you (even more) strength.

    We’ll all be there, too. Thinking and battling as best we can with you.

  22. whymommy says:

    Yeah. What you said.

    And I’ll be there for them too. Caring and making it easier for the little ones will give me a focus outside myself during this time.

    As soon as I learn what would be helpful to distract us all through part of a treatment day (lollipops? balloons? NASA stickers?), I’ll be there with the bling!

  23. Thanks for the post. This horrific disease has been an unwelcome intruder in a few members of my family and some close friends. Your words are inspiring, as is the optimism of chldren.

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