Rectal CA Q&A: Part I

It's probably time for me to get back to an earlier post where I invited you folks to pose questions to me about my whole cancer experience, so here goes:

Ellen asked:

How has your beautiful daughter reacted to mommy being sick? Does she know you're sick? Does she sense your bad days vs. your good?
First off, you didn't have to butter me up, but I should make it known that flattery (either of me or my family) will get you everywhere. ;)

Violet is 10.5 months old (was about 4.5mos when I was diagnosed), so she's both way too young to really know what's going on and sadly hasn't really known anything different.

I think she's on the cusp of being able to figure out that when my face is screwed up with tears, I'm not smiling, so I really need to watch it with the emotional breakdowns around her.

As for her knowing good vs. bad days, I think babies are pretty self-focused (and will remain so until they're about 28 years old, if I'm any indication), so I don't think she has a clue in that regard, other than the fact that she gets a lot more Elmo on my bad days. TGFT (thank god for TiVo)!
Years from now, when you are well, fully recovered, and cancer is nowhere to be found, thankyouverymuch, what will you say/how will you explain to her what you went though/what it means?
I've given a lot of thought about when/how to tell Violet about This Whole Thing. There's really no point in burdening her with it until she's older...I'm thinking that she'll get The Talk when she's about 15 or so in order to give her a heads up on what to look for and things to mention to her doctor once she starts going into the exam on her own.

My one fear about that is that there will come a day (or more likely, night) where teen Violet is being all snarky and back-talky and ungrateful and bitchy and in a fit of exhaustion and desire for the upper hand, I'll swipe the "I was pregnant with YOU when I got CANCER" card and the regret it for the next dozen or so years.

Hopefully recognizing that I have the capacity for such meanness will help me avoid that confrontation.

Ultimately, I will try to empower Violet with as much knowledge and insight about her body and its potential failings to help her be as diligent about her health as possible.

The standard protocol for my situation is for first degree relatives to start getting screened 10 years before the original cancer was diagnosed, meaning that Violet will have to get a colonoscopy at an age where I was more concerned with chasing boys and getting hammered than drinking a gallon of foul-tasting laxative in order to have a camera shoved up my ass, so getting the message through of the importance of early detection will have to start early.

So...did I answer your question? I know I do have a tendency to go on and on... ;)


hmd said...

Great answer! one follow up question. when / would you let her or what her to read your blog about the whole experience?

hmd said...

oopps... that was supposed to say "would you want her to read your blog?"

Sugarmouth O'Riordan said...

Well, just for all the cussin' alone, I'd rather she not read it until she's deep in her teens.

I'd much rather she read an edited version of it...maybe one that was actually written down--or printed--on paper...then maybe bound with a graphic cover and found in a better bookseller near you...

Just spitballin' here. ;)

Ellen said...

Thanks, sugar mouth. I'm glad you responded to my questions. J (12 months) generally has no clue as to my state of well being, but G (3yo)is very intuitive and often gauges her reactions based on me.

All I can say is Violet is pretty-damn fortunate to have a mother like you.

hmd said...

not that i have looked around, but i am guessing there are not too many books out there about honestly what it is really like day to day going through this type of experience. i think hh has already told you that i am so drawn into your blog and check for new posts as often as i can. I really think you have amazing writing skills and a best seller on your hands here...