Posted by: ME | October 22, 2014

Life On the Other Side (post 2)

If you have a child that had or has cancer, you will completely understand these ponderings. It has been since March of 2003 since I have had a child on chemo, praise The Lord! I remember clearly though, us cancer kid moms chatting about how in the world we can discipline them appropriately.
I am a proponent of the spanking. Before you go wild and stop reading or want to read me the riot act, know that I think it should be done with love, not anger. I spanked my children if there was a safety issue being broached, or if, after the third time of asking my child to do or not do something wasn’t being done. I had never tried to reason with a two year old because they do not own that capacity. I am a firm believer in teaching them young, so that when the older years come, they KNOW how to behave properly. The boundaries had been set. Disciplining a child is the parents job only, no one elses. That being said, I did not spank often. I was NOT the mom who was leaving the store because my child couldn’t behave properly. I didn’t ask them to be angels, just to stop protesting and asking for things if we ventured into a store. I saved spankings for out of control moments that scared me enough to want to make a point. I was spanked as a child and I am NOT scarred from it at all. No more on that. Its biblical, so I will end there……

When your child is between the ages of 2 and 7, the times are so magical. Their imagination is at a peak and the dress up and pretending is at its max. I LOVED watching my girls dance around and play and get all dressed up like a princess. I imagined these days as whimsical and hoped my girls would have the childhood I wanted for them, the childhood my parents gave me. I played outside and climbed trees and we pretended we were on an adventure. I wanted my babies to be babies, not miniature adults. Learning was completely through play. You would never have found me trying to teach my children math games or sign language or sight words. They learned most of that through play. I spent my time encouraging this and helping them make whatever they needed for their play.

For my eldest daughter, my cancer survivor, these years were a tad bit blighted by the ickiness of chemo, so she says her whimsical years were between 5 and 11. Okay, while that makes me a little sad, I am glad she considers her later grammar school years like that. I have always felt this was stolen from her a bit, but I do believe in God’s bigger plan, and she was going to be alright.

For my younger daughter, she still lives in that fantasy land sometimes. I think living near Disney helps that! She was ten months old when her sister was diagnosed with leukemia. My baby learned to walk down the hallways of 4West at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. I have felt such heavy guilt over the fact the our oldest required much of our attention when our youngest was a baby.

3 Reasons a Cancer Kid becomes the Center of the Family

1. ANC. If her neutrophil counts were below 500, you could forget going out of the house, or hospital if there was fever, or having visitors. That stupid blood count ruled our lives for 2.5 years. If it was above 1500, feel free to enjoy the world. Of course, within reason. You still had a cancer kid. Every Friday, we learned the neutrophil count and it would determine if we would go to the zoo that day or not, or a birthday party that weekend. It determined if we could go through a drive through for fast food or have flowers in the house, or wear a mask to get home. The ANC let us know if we could go to church that weekend or not.

2. Vaccines or illness in an immediate family member. She couldn’t be around anyone who had had a live vaccine for a few days. Once, our little one was in close contact with someone who had shingles, the virus that also causes chicken pox, which can be fatal to a cancer kid on chemo. After bringing our chemo girl back to the oncologist for a Vzig shot in each thigh, We had to separate our family into two for almost 3 weeks(something about incubation period). Paul went with the baby to my dads and I stayed in our home with our chemo girl. No chicken pox in either house showed up! More time missed with my baby.

3. Fever. Fever in either kid became the bane of my existence. I thank God it was rare for us, but it was enough to have become a big part of my PTSD. Think about how often your kids get fever above 100.4 when they are young. More than when they are older, that is for sure. In a kid on chemo, fever can appear even more often because it suppresses your immune system. Any fever of 100.4 or more landed us an automatic 2 day stay in the hospital. It also does random crazy things to your blood counts. I learned more about how fever and viruses and bacteria affect your body than i ever knew before. I kept a clean house. I bleached the tub and toilets DAILY. You seriously could have eaten spaghetti off of the floor behind my toilet back then. Now I am way to lax when it comes to cleaning. I did all of my insane cleaning back then. It’s over. My girl wore masks to the grocery store when her ANC was below 1000. I was that insane mom who completely wiped down the basket she sat in with clorox wipes that I had brought from home. The whole thing, not just the kid seat. I would never allow her to tie her shoes either. Where had those shoes been? poor kid never learned to tie shoes until she was 6. I sent her off to kindergarten with velcro Mary Janes.


My cancer survivor, today (2/15)


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