Today as I sat down with my students, one told me some unfortunate family news. He stated his grandmother was just diagnosed with bone cancer. Years ago she battled breast cancer and won, but now she has another battle on her hands.
As my student told me what he knew, my heart fell. Right now, they are still in the diagnosis stage. They are looking at staging the cancer based on size and if it spread anywhere else in the body. They are just playing the waiting game and it is taking a toll on all of them, as it would anyone else.
I think the waiting game is unfair when you have a cancer diagnosis. It leaves you time to wonder, to worry, to question, and to get angry. At least that’s what happened with me. No matter how I looked at my cancer, the “it is what it is” mentality only went so far. There was that anger factor that would creep in periodically.
I continued to sit there listening to my student’s story. My heart was in pain for this family I have known for years. In my mind I was thinking about the one person I knew that had bone cancer and passed away when my daughter was an infant. Then my thoughts turned to what I remembered it was like being so young watching the ones you love battle cancer. I couldn’t help the natural reaction I had. Tears began to well up and trickle down my right cheek. Most importantly, through all my tears, I was there for my student. I was able to answer his questions to the best of my ability; to provide the emotional support he needed.
I realized then that I am not emotionally immune to cancer stories. I may cry easily, as I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cancer has affected me in more ways than one – at times, it seems to run through my family and friends like fire through the sage brush. To all those who work with children, please know that they too may be hurting. Know that those young minds worry and wonder just like an adults. They are not emotionally immune to cancer. What happens to the ones they love affects them just as much as it would you.
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