Monday, June 9, 2008

Kids' Cancer Questions

Question from a blog reader: "Has Josie asked you why you are sick and her friends' mummies are not? Actually, I'd like to know her questions and how you have answered them."

She hasn't asked me why I have cancer and other mothers don't, but she's asked me why my doctors can't get rid of my cancer when other people's doctors have gotten rid of theirs. I told her that some cancers are harder to cure than others, and I have the kind that's really tough to get rid of. I said my doctors are trying their best and they'll keep trying.

I talked about some of Josie's questions in a previous blog post titled, "Talking to Kids About Death". I've also mentioned bits and pieces of conversations I've had with Josie about cancer and death in a number of other blog posts. You can type in "Josie" in the Search Blog field at the top of your screen and every entry I've written with her name in it will come up.

Here are some of the questions she's asked me more recently, with my answers:

1) Do people really die from cancer?
Some people do, but a lot of people don't. I've had cancer for over two years now and I'm not dead yet.

2) Do you want to die?
Of course I don't want to die. I would never want to leave you and Toby. If it were up to me, I'd stay with you forever. If I die, it won't be by my own choice. Remember that if I die - it was not my choice to leave you.

3) Can I catch cancer?
No. Cancer is not like a cold or infection that you can get from somebody else. Nobody can get cancer from somebody else. So I can still hug you and kiss you all I want and you can't get my cancer from me.

Some of my answers are not entirely correct. For example, some cancers such as cervical and liver cancer, you can "catch" from other people in the form of the Human Papilloma Virus (via sexual contact) or Hepatitis B and C viruses (via infected blood). But technically, you don't actually catch the cancer; you get the virus that can lead to cancer. This is more information than a five-year-old needs, so I've just given her the simple answers for now.

If your kids have questions that they'd like to ask me, I'd be happy to answer them. Kids sometimes come up with good questions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Shin,

Thank you so much for responding to my question.

Finding it difficult to put my thoughts into words but felt I should at least thank you.