About this Blog

This blog started as an online diary and place for me to rant about annoyances in my family.

However since July it has become a place for me to catalogue and express my views and opinions on the treatment I have recieved following the diagnosis of a potentially cancerous tumor in my bowel.

On 3rd August 2011 I was told that it was cancerous. In April 2012 I was given the all clear.

October 15th 2013 I was diagnosed with peritoneal disease and liver metastases. The cancer was back and this time it is inoperable.

It is a little bit out of date as the NHS doesn't tend to have a WiFi connection in hospital and I can only post when I get home and posts take a while to write.

It is NOT about individuals or the nursing profession. It is about some of the inadequacies in the system and the way the NHS is failing some people.

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Monday, 4 November 2013

Children and Cancer

So, how do you explain something as complicated and all encompassing as cancer to your children?

I've already faced this dilemma once. Isaac was 3 years and 1 month old when I had my first operation and Imogen was almost 17 months. We explained it to them that Mummy had had a baddy in her tummy and the Dr had to cut mummy open and take it out. We explained chemo in the same way. We didn't want mummy's baddy to come back, so the Dr was going to give mummy some special medicine that would make her feel poorly, but it would make sure the baddies didn't come back. My PICC line became my wiggley, because it kind of looks like a wiggley worm where it goes into my arm.

But now that the cancer is back and inoperable it is a far more sensitive and difficult subject to explain. 

When we sat down after their bath on October 15th 2013 to explain that mummys baddies had come back. Isaac immediately said

'Are they going to cut you open again and take them out?'

We were honest with him and told him 'No, mummy has more than one baddy and they can't take them out'

His face fell. You could see his 5 year old brain processing the fact that mummy was not going to be getting better so easily. So we explained that mummy would be able to have some more special medicine. But this time the special medicine would be working on the baddies to shrink them and make them shrivel up like the fruit that we sometimes forget to eat in the fruit bowl. This made sense to him and he now talks about how my baddies are going to shrivel up and explode (I don't correct him on the exploding bit, but I really don't want exploding tumours!!!)

Then there was the blood transfusion. Imogen loved the fact that I would be getting new blood so I didn't feel so dizzy and sleepy anymore. She went around telling everyone that mummy was getting new blood today!!

On Sunday though I got the cracker. 

Imogen had obviously been thinking about this a lot and while we were at Crawley Garden Centre, having cake and soft play she asked

'Mummy why do you get baddies and other people don't?'

Now for a 3 year 8month old that is quite deep.

So I racked my brains for a child friendly explanation of cancerous genetic mutations and came up with this explanation.

Mummy's body is like the instruction books for Isaac's lego. There are lots of instructions for how to do things. Mummy's body is missing a few pages and this means that her body doesn't know how to do everything and so mummy gets baddies. 

She processed this, and then said 'does the same thing happen to everyone when they get poorly' 

'Sometimes, but sometimes people get poorly because they don't wash their hands properly after they have a wee or they get a cut and some nasty things get in. But sometimes peoples instructions are missing pages and they get really sick'

I am so proud of how my children are coping with all that is thrown at them and how well they respond to our explanations and equally that they are not scared to ask questions. 

I would never hide the truth from my children and I hope you can see that you can be honest without scaring them.