Day 8: Cancer Kids

**Just read on and forgive any editing errors. That darn editor keeps leaving for work too early.

Our youngest was four years old the first time he had to call an ambulance. Babysitting my four-year-old niece, she and Murphy were playing in the driveway.  I was handing out the chalk, and giving the ooh and awe affirmations in abundance, when I felt a stabbing pain shoot through my stomach. The pain went away, but in less than a few minutes it was back with an even greater force. Having no idea what was happening, I had the kids come inside and told them I was going upstairs to the bathroom.

In the bathroom, the pain would go away for a few minutes and then come back with a vengeance, each time more painful and longer than the first. I started getting nauseous and light headed. I slowly eased myself to the floor, because I was afraid I would faint and leave two 4 year olds running the house. Once on the floor, my body started to shake uncontrollably and my hands cramped into uselessness. Just about then, Murphy walked into the bathroom with my niece in tow.

He brought me my phone, but I couldn’t dial it because my fingers were cramped shut and I could do nothing to pull them open. I told Murphy I needed help and he needed to call 9-1-1. There was a brief argument between two 4 year olds over who would get to make the call. Finally, Murphy made the call. He told them that his mom was sick and laying on the bathroom floor. He gave them our address and put the phone on speaker, so I could talk to the operator. Then he ran down stairs to open the door and put our Great Dane in her crate.

When the fire department and the ambulance arrived, he let them in and our neighbor came running over. He quickly got her up to speed. That was the first time he watched his mother ride off in an ambulance with no idea of where she may be going or when she may come back.

Now 9 years old, hospital visits are just a part of his schema. Last night while studying for a spelling test, I had him make up sentences for his words and this is what he came up with…

You speak softly when you are sick.

It’s lonely when you go to the hospital.

It’s always nicer when you come home.

Your stomach aches are harmful.

Suddenly you don’t feel good.

Doctors are very useful.

You should be thankful you are not in the hospital.

When you come home I have to be gentle to give you a hug.

You have that thing on your face when you aren’t breathing good.

I can just be thankful they weren’t all about me.

I have the best third grade teacher.

You need to do exactly what I say.

Airsoft guns are safer than real guns. (Probably not so much).

Our dogs are very playful.

I quietly sneak up on dad.

My handwriting is readable.

I love a root beer float.

The word beautiful is hard.

(Insert sibling) is not pleasant.

While cancer and illness will be a part of our life forever, there really is a bright side or a silver lining to this experience. This is one of those life lessons that is making them each stronger in their own ways. Our oldest is the planner. She can pack a bag in less than a minute with all the supplies I will need for at least a week. Just like my husband, our middle son is the caretaker. He will skip hanging out with his friends to just stay home with me, if needed. Then there is our youngest. We say he has a “lion’s heart”. He demonstrates empathy that a typical 9-year-old may not understand.

Cancer is a blessing and a curse. I personally prefer to look at the blessings more often than the curses. So, today I will be thankful that I am feeling well and pleasant to those around me.

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