A child’s perspective – a focus on Schuyler’s experience

Ever wonder what it would be like to get cancer and have to share the news with your child?  How scared they would be?  If you were afraid of dying, then how afraid are they going to be and think you are going to die?  Will they share with you that fear, or just fear it?  The fear of dying is so vivid for a child, especially a nine year old that actually understands heaven, where people go and death.  It is truly a scary thing.  I remember the day telling Schuyler when he got back from New Hampshire and being as strong as I could be, so that we could manage his fears and he would feel comfortable talking to us about his trepidations.

It has been a crazy ride for me, this “cancer” thing… but bringing my family along with me has to be even harder to see how they personally deal with it all.  It is amazing how the strong get stronger in the case of my family.  Schuyler has had some ups and downs and really doesn’t like to talk too much about my cancer, and just connects with me on so many levels that I am able to tell when it may be “bothering” him.  When I first was diagnosed I shared on the blog his reaction, and we have all stayed strong and confident through treatment and when I am not feeling well.  When I get up in the morning I choose my attitude, read the Optimist Creed, and keep positive.  As the time has gone by I realize it may be hard to tell that I have cancer except for my bald head and pale face.  We ask Schuyler to be strong and think himself well – as we know the positive vibes of your inner self help in the healing process at all levels.

We stay fun and light around the house where Schuyler has been so great to have around me to brighten my day and my overall spirit.  His distraction for me with all his needs and activities has kept me strong.

Here are some of the stories to tell about Schuyler & his experience with “Mommy’s Cancer”

“Mommy Baldness”
One night we were sitting on the couch watching TV –  Schuyler puts me in a head hold and says…. “I Love your bald head mommy – it’s just like a ball!”   🙂  Schuyler LOVES balls – so that surely was the biggest compliment of the day.  He has been so great about me not “wearing hair” and has been known to just “rip” it off my head with no warning.  🙂  Guess it doesn’t bother him that I am bald!  🙂

“Other kids”
He obviously doesn’t talk about it much with the other kids and avoids their questions:
Lynne’s son Derrick asked me why I wear a cap…. I told him its because I don’t have any hair.
Schuyler said “Why did you go and tell him, now he will tell everyone!”
“When kids ask me why you wear a cap I tell them its because your crazy!  Pirate – crazy….  ”  🙂
I think he likes to keep it our family secret and often asks me if I still have cancer.

“Are you healed yet?”
At the end of my treatment he asks, “Mom  – do you STILL have cancer?”  and I replied “yes, but it is almost 100% gone and we will know that after I go to the hospital and they scan my body to see that the chemo has killed it all – isn’t that great!”   – “Yes!” he replies “I just want your hair to grow back!”
As my hair has been growing back he gently pulls my cap off my head and feels the “fuzz”….  “YAY!  Your hair is growing back – it’s so FUZZY & soft!”

My energy level has been low at times and my moods, sad and tired have been really tough for me to handle.  I am so blessed that Schuyler has been so resilient, supportive and loving.  He truly gives me strength.

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Nancy Cook 2021

About Nancy

Nancy Peck Cook is a trainer and speaker who has presented in front of large and small audiences for the past 25 years.  Her work as an executive and volunteer trainer for the American Cancer Society during the growth of the signature activity Relay For Life trained professionals to be more confident and successful in their roles. 

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