Tag Archives: acoustic neuroma

How do you tell your child that you have a brain tumor? and not let your own FEAR scare them to death?

I just had a conversation on the way to school this morning with my 10 year old son, Ryder, about Brain Tumor Awareness Week. Yes! It’s this week!
I asked him what he remembered about that day, the day I told him that his Mom had a brain tumor…(he was 8 yo at the time).
“I was surprised, Mom, I wasn’t scared… I was just surprised”…
Ahh…I breathed a deep sigh of relief and thought …“Well done Mama”….
In those first few days of being diagnosed, I confess that I was as emotionally stable “as a piece of furniture from Ikea”…. however, I didn’t want my kids to experience that with me !!! I myself was uncomfortable and having a hard time processing all these emotions.
I wanted them to experience me as they always had; strong, stable, steady, solid. (Of course also happy, healthy, vibrant, playful & fun but those were temporarily on the back burner.)
As their loving Mama, I had always made a point of telling them that I could be counted on no matter what, that I had their backs, and that I would always love them unconditionally, no matter what. Those values were now in question.
There I was swimming in the whirlwind of emotion. Emotion that I needed to experience to figure out my treatment plan and accept, come to terms with and allow what was happening for me. I was feeling it all:
– fear
– grief
– anger
– sadness
– frustration
– pain
I knew I was feeling all these feelings that were triggered by having to face and “deal with” being diagnosed with a life threatening illness or disease. However, I knew I needed a strategy of how to deal with my own personal journey but also be strong for my kids. I wanted to be that good teacher to them, I wanted to weave the vulnerability of honesty and truth, but also faith and strength into the tapestry of our family experience. These small ones in my life were, and always are, like sponges, they absorb everything. I didn’t want them to take on too much nor too little.
On my own, I diligently faced my own perceived loss of health, loss of control, loss of confidence, loss of life as I knew it. I faced being frozen in my tracks. But with them I showed up with borrowed faith, for their benefit and then in turn my benefit as well.
What I remember about that day is I sat down with my kids to intentionally share with them to the level in which they “needed to know”, at the level that would inform them but not overwhelm them. Face to face.  Looking them both into their eyes. I led with “Mom is going to be okay…..Mom is healthy and strong….but…right now I have to see a lot of Doctor’s and get a lot of treatment…I am going to need a lot of rest. No matter what, I love you and I am going to face this thing head on. You have my promise! Nothing is more important in my life than being there for you! It might take a few weeks…it might take a few years before I am back to 100% but know that I will be here for you!!!”
So with Ryder’s words this morning,
“I was surprised, Mom, I wasn’t scared… I was just surprised”…
I am thankful and full of gratitude that all my intentions were honored. Ryder was, and to this day, informed but not overwhelmed. Aware of what I am going thru, along side me in my journey but not scared.
So in my book, choosing to live in Love over FEAR will always be the right answer. I gotta be here for these Kids!! For me! For my life-purpose…after all I more than know that I am just getting started, just getting my feet wet, on this life of service, life purpose path.
In health, In healing and more importantly in great Love,
Meredith
mkm