Kirston's Mom•Logic: Telling my son I had cancer was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.
Kirston says: The first time I had breast cancer, I didn’t have to worry about telling my son. He was six months old. He had pushed my milky breasts away weeks before, declaring himself a bottle man. It was then I discovered what I had been told was a swollen milk duct was a tumor. Timing is everything, and I think my son's bottle preference possibly saved my life. He seemed to love me even more bald. (I looked like him.)
This time, I knew it wouldn’t be so easy. Charlie was about to turn
seven, so he knew what cancer was and what it meant. Plus, he had the
uncanny ability to hear every conversation in the house, no matter how
hushed. I avoided telling him for a couple of weeks. Saying I had
cancer again would make it real, and I clung to the days of him seeing
me as someone who was healthy and strong.
When I finally told him, he said he would be embarrassed when I lost my hair. That really broke my heart. I told him he could give me a Mohawk, which cheered him up—temporarily.
One day when I was working in his classroom, Charlie asked his teacher
to tell the class why my hair kept changing. (I was wearing a pink wig
that day.) She told the kids I had cancer and had to take strong
medicine that made my hair fall out. A girl raised her hand and said, "My grandma had cancer and she died." I watched my son’s face fall.
After school, I said, “I’m not going to die, Charlie." He asked me how I knew, and I didn’t have a good answer. Hope is all I’ve got, and some day he’ll understand that.
To read more from Kirston, check out the Daily Cents blog here.