On Tuesday I arrived at Mass General 1 hr 45 min early for my appointment with the plastic surgeon, Dr. Chief. I was at the mercy of the train schedule, so I had extra time to spend at the hospital. I decided to visit the cancer resource center, located one floor below the breast cancer center, to look for guidance on how to help Riley and Molly through my cancer. (Last week was a difficult week for the girls. An adult made an insensitive cancer-related comment to one daughter, and the other found herself in an uncomfortable situation due to my doctor's appointment.) The resource center reminded me of a combination of a small study hall in college, and counselor's office, and an United Red Carpet room. To the right was a bank of about 6 desktop computers. To the left was a wall of bookshelves loaded with books relating to all types of cancer. They are coded on the binding, making it easy to find a book related to your particular cancer. Breast cancer is a red triangle - just in case you are in the area and drop in. In the center were two more sets of shelves filled with pamphlets/booklets on specific topics related to cancer. Several cushioned chairs were spread throughout with a few tables. And of course, there is the 1,000 piece puzzle on a table. I wonder if puzzles are supposed to be relaxing. At one corner sat two La-Z-Boy recliner-type chairs. I could never have one of these in my home, however, they did look very comfortable and inviting. (My mom always said, "Never say never." I think it is safe to say never in this case.) I will even admit that when I visit the resource center the next time, I might even plop my La-Z-Butt in that La-Z-Boy recliner, as long as there are no pictures for evidence. Coffee, tea and water were also available for self-serve.
As I was looking through the books about kids coping with mom's cancer, a very nice woman approached me and offered her assistance. When I explained what I was looking for in the bookcase, she said that she has some books in back, and to have a seat. She walked out with a large package of information. She gave me three books, not to borrow, but to keep. One book is titled, "The Blue Day Book For Kids," by Bradley Greive. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to parents for children of all ages, to be used on those days when your child comes home after a bad day at school. It uses photographs of animals to acknowledge the crummy feelings, but by the end the book your child can't help but smile.
The second book is a national bestseller, "Ida B," by Katherine Hannigan. It is written from the perspective of a 9 year old girl who's mother has cancer. (It does not tell what type of cancer.) Ida must go through a lot of changes in her life while they are dealing with her mom's cancer. It has a happy ending. I am going to read this aloud to both girls together. Molly, 9, enjoys when I read chapter books to her, and Riley always sneaks in to listen too.
The last book is for Justin and me, "Raising An Emotionally Healthy Child When A Parent Is Sick." The little that I have read has been helpful. As I have written several times, my biggest concern during this cancer ordeal is how it is affecting the girls. This is why the two situations last week were such a tremendous blow to me. I know the girls are strong, and put on a good front, but they are children. I think that often people forget that children are children. At least, my children are still children, and don't pretend to be older or wiser beyond their years. (Also, I refuse to let them get too big for their britches.)
The caring woman gave me two journals with a matching pen for the girls to write down their thoughts. Molly has gone to town in her book, filling several pages. I am curious to see what she has written, assuming she gives me permission to read it. She also gave me a little booklet written for teens on dealing with their parent's cancer. I didn't read it, but I saw Riley going through it.
At the resouce center I picked up some pamphlets on a variety of topics: chemotherapy, mastectomy surgery, biopsy surgery, etc...real page-turners!
It is through generous donations that resources centers like this exist. Thank you everyone who donated to make it possible!
Happy Anniversary Mor & Smurf, aka Mom & Dad - 53 blissful years! - 7 Children (7 bachelor degrees, 4 masters, 1 Ph.D), 11 Grandchildren, and 1 Great Grandchild in the oven!