May 11, 2013

Kids say the darndest things

I'm still struggling and trying. Some days are better than others.

Just an anecdote for today.

Winter is over. Chemo is over. So I figured I would wear my wig more often but I still prefer my comfy hats. Of course now that it's spring... you start to notice the glances. I'm not really bothered by it, although if they do stare too long I have the tendency to stare back (=not the sweet face).

I was at a garden furniture store together with my parents when a girl dressed in pink and silver glitter came up to me. She must have been 10-12 or so. She told me she liked my hat. I smiled and thanked her. When I wanted to turn around, she asked me why I was wearing a hat and whether I was cold or not.

My chemo brain was a little shocked. What was I gonna say? Another couple was listening to our conversation. I was standing in the middle of a store. Am I really going to have 'this' conversation with a kid.

I decided to be honest and told her I have no hair underneath it. She nodded, as if she already knew. Then she popped the question which surprised me the most, "So you're doing that chemo thing?" Happy I didn't have to explain anything to her I said yes.

"So that means you have cancer right? What kind of cancer do you have?"

Right. I guess she got it right, so why lie about it. My turn. I asked her why she wanted to know all these things. She told me she brought food on behalf of the church to this woman with breast cancer. She started a somewhat confusing story about this woman. I think the whole thing definitely left an impression on her and she tried to tell me in her own words the things that stuck with her. She kept saying the woman would start chemo very soon and that she would get sick.

"Chemo is like little beams?"

Oh boy I had to think quickly here. I explained her chemo will go through an IV which they put in your hand and that you're usually sick for a week and then you will start to feel better again. "Right and then you'll lose your hair!" Yes exactly. I told her I shaved my head after two weeks. She told me that sometimes when they unraveled her dreadlocks she was afraid her hair would fall out as well. We actually talked some more about my hat collection and my wig.

So yes I was caught off guard in the middle of that store. But there's just something about the innocence of a child so pure, open and trusting... with no evil intention. 


  1. That's kind of sweet :)
    How much she knows already. Me - 20 years ago that age, I don't think I knew anything about chemo or cancer.

    1. Yeah I suppose I was pretty clueless at that age as well. It was touching she really wanted to know more.

  2. As a mom of children that have asked strangers questions like this I think it's great you answered them. Better they ask from their curious nature then stare to be rude. This was a great post showing innocent child who probably will never forget you! ��

    1. Thanks Ann Marie, I don't think I'll ever forget her as well :)

  3. Hey Ciel, goed om te zien dat je nog schrijft! Die kids zijn soms hard, maar hoe cool dat zo'n kind zulke vragen durft te stellen. Dan moet je wel een goede vibe bij je hebben gehad op dat moment. Heel stoer hoe je dat hebt aangepakt! Verder lees ik dat je het erg zwaar hebt, krijg je wel goede begeleiding vanuit het ziekenhuis om alles een plekje te geven? Er gebeurt zo ontzettend veel in zo'n jaar, is niet te bevatten. Ik denk zelfs voor niemand..niet voor jezelf,en al helemaal niet voor anderen.Hopelijk vind je in de komende tijd je nieuwe "ik"en bouwen de oude en de nieuwe jij een stabiele relatie op, ook met je omgeving. Patiƫnt zijn is een zware baan!..Maar er komt licht aan het einde van de tunnel! Hou vol, het leven is het waard:-) liefs, l

  4. This is why i love kids. My MIL is all worried about what to tell the munchkins (my niece and nephews) so they are careful/gentile when i am at family dinner the day after i have my lumpectomy (in two weeks). Yet i am much more worried about our cats at home than the kids who often use me as a jungle gym. I've even pointed out to her that i watched them alone for an entire weekend after my biopsy and had no problems, because i wasn't secretive. I told them i had a boo-boo for the younger ones, and pointed where. My older nephew (8 years old) asked a bit more so i explained there was something in me doctors needed to study/look at/know more about so they removed a small chunk of my skin with a needle so they could take a closer look. Simple, that was enough to satisfy his curiosity and also understand i was a little sore, no problems with them at all.

    I find children in many ways are easier to explain health issues to (well when you know you are "allowed" to talk to them or explain anything) than adults much of the time. Adults/peers/those older than me will ask something, but if the answer doesn't fit what they want to hear it becomes clear with either being told your wrong or the health issue is your own fault or they get upset when you explain the treatment limitations, they asked and yet can not handle the answer. Children ask, but don't get a hopeless feeling from answers or overwhelmed or get defensive so it often is easier to talk to them or be more honest. I often find i try hiding my pain more around peers than i do children as to the children they don't take it personally and are just happy your with them yet often friends or family somehow take me being in pain as me being rude to them and am offending them somehow.(I have chronic pain from Endometriosis, IC, and Fibro)