Friday, August 31, 2012

Letter to the school...

Dear Friends (Bob, Belle, Bean and Puppy's Teachers, Learning Specialists and Guidance Counselors),

I am writing this note to you in confidence, as you all have direct contact with our children on a daily basis.

I wanted to make sure that you are informed about things happening at our home that may affect our children's behavior, academics and/or mood.
I know most of you for many years in different capacities, but some of you are new to our "family;" and to my new friends I apologize for this to be one of the first communications you receive from me.

I found out last Friday that I have cancer, melanoma, we are waiting for final staging information.
We believe that we caught it early.

We were hoping for positive news today from a second biopsy so that I could have surgery on Wednesday; that did not happen and my surgery will be more invasive so it has been postponed and referred to a different doctor. I do not know that date yet, but I will let you know as soon as I do.
We plan on talking with the kids individually on their level on Sunday or Monday about it.

I don't believe in hiding things, or giving them too much information. Our conversation will be age appropriate and matter of fact.
The hope is that since we caught it early, after surgery all will be fine.

Until we hear otherwise - that is how we are approaching the situation.
That said, for children to hear the word cancer is scary, especially since they know J's dad passed away 10 years ago from (brain) cancer.

(As of Tuesday September 4th) This is not a secret; I do not want them to feel they have a burden. Once we tell them, they are free to discuss it with you or a friend as appropriate.
I am looking to you, as you spend much more time with them during the day, to help give them guidance as to appropriate time and place. Again, they may not feel any need or desire to share.

They may not say anything to you or their friends, but they may and I just want you to know what we are saying to them so that if they get confused or say something not accurate people are not alarmed; especially if it invokes an emotional trigger in whomever they are talking to.

- it is cancer, it is called melanoma

Good news -
- the doctors think we caught it early and when caught early it is a very treatable and curable cancer
- that means I will have surgery, but don't see any reason for chemotherapy or radiation at this time
- we are very lucky to have some of the best doctors in this area

Other info to alleviate their worries for themselves:
- we are and always have been careful about sunscreen and being in the sun with them
- they do a great job wearing swimshirts to protect their shoulders and back and sunglasses/hats to protect their eyes
- this is not the same kind of cancer that Grandpa G died from and brain cancer is not hereditary (even though he was not my father - he is J's I don't want them to worry)
- we will always be honest with them and they can ask any questions
- they can always feel free to come to us, Grammy and Grandpa (my parents) or Ms. G (nurse at school)

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you have or concerns about the kids. I promise to keep you updated, but do not feel like you are prying if you have questions - if I don't feel comfortable sharing yet, I will let you know.
Thanks for all you do each and every day for our kids. We truly appreciate it.

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