Living with Cancer
I realize for many people cancer is very difficult to talk about or face, for others they don't want to make the news public knowledge, for some it is easy because it is personal therapy to be able to talk about it and still others like talking about it because it might help someone else.
I find myself in the latter two categories. For me, talking helps me and my hope is it helps others as well. I have always been a teacher and have loved being a caregiver. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September of 2007 when I was the second grade Well School teacher. I had a Mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. At first the parents of my students were very worried about me staying and being their child's teacher. They were worried the cancer would get in the way of teaching and would scare the kids. Obviously, the parents were very worried for themselves as well (having to discuss disease and dying with a seven year old just sounds scary and difficult). I remember how my own mom had trouble talking to me about death when I was a child but I figured out, as an adult, that I just needed to be honest and attempt to be as comfortable as possible with whatever I said to help children feel safe. My second graders were like my own children. They helped me so much through that year's treatment, and I hope I helped them too.
I don't believe in keeping secrets and I don't believe in telling lies. So I decided that when I told my children, I was going to tell them the truth and whatever I was asked I would answer truthfully. If I didn't know the answer I promised I would find out and would let them know. I wanted them to understand that at some point in everyone's life they will face something very hard and they have to decide how they want to deal with it, with courage, optimism, fear, etc. We all have choices, even when the situation is tough.
See the full speech here: http://www.ledgertranscript.com/Archives/2016/02/HeCancer-ml-030116-15