Saturday, February 22, 2014

We can learn from the children

I found this article written by an adult with a pediatric cancer so she was in the pediatric cancer ward with all the kids with cancer. It was an educational experience for her with her cancer avengers and the article is a learning experience for the reader.

The author, Ann Graham, moved into the pediatric ward for a year of treatment:

"Then I became one of them: No hair. Giant, treacherous scar. Wheelchair. Ever-present IV pole, and dusty-rose colored kidney-shaped bowl to throw up in. These were all outward signs of a fraternity of warriors that no one wants to belong to. They all were enduring the same grueling treatment I was -- only they were, on average, 10 years old.

This fraternity of Cancer Avengers was wise in ways beyond their years. When faced with the courage and bravery of these little superheroes, I had to give myself the "Put your big girl pants on" speech more than once.

On my first day of treatment, while I was scrolling through my Facebook feed by the fish tank, two boys next to me started discussing their Make-A-Wish requests. Adam, about 12 years old, had just returned from a rainforest trip and asked what Sam's wish was going to be. Sam said they couldn't give him what he wished for. Adam disagreed, enthusiastically conveying that any wish could be granted. Sam stood firm: It was not possible.

Well, what is it that you want anyway? Adam wanted to know. By now, I also wanted to know.

"I want normal," was Sam's answer. "I want to go to school and basketball practice, complain about my parents and homework and turn 12.""

What do adults talk about whenthey ahve cancer? They talk about cancer and obsess about it. Children are different:

"I never got depressed with the Cancer Avengers. They never talked about cancer. They talked about friends, music, sports and Spiderman. Hope prevailed in Pediatric Day Hospital."

They have hope. They are wise beyond their years.

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