Talking to a 4 year old

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So I thought we were doing “good” as far as how and what we were communicating to Gianna. That was until she said, Mommy, you’re going to die and Daddy and I are going to be by ourselves. I can’t believe I just wrote that. But I was in even more disbelief when she said that. At NO POINT do I remember even us talking about death. The only thing that I can come up with is that she realizes the magnitude of how “sick” Mommy is and just tagged on the dreaded d-word. Ouch. That still stings. Then she went on to say… “when I disappear…” After I silently freaked out and shed some tears I sat her down (again) and explained to her that Mommy is getting special medicine to make her better but that I WILL be OK. Mommy isn’t going anywhere I said. Then I read her the book Paper Chains, which is about a family whose Mom is going through cancer. She really loves that book and it comes highly recommended as a must read for children who have a parent or grandparent going through treatment.

First thing on the agenda tomorrow after my lab work is to find out what resources Moffitt has for children/families undergoing treatment. I can only imagine how that little 4-year old is processing everything that is going on. Justin and I are doing everything we can to keep things normal for her, but as you can imagine-it is very difficult. Image

June 13, 2013
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  • Reply Kim B.

    You WILL get through this Jessica, and Gianna will too. She is trying to process things she doesn’t completely understand, but with the love and support of you, Justin and your huge network of family and friends, you’ll find the way to help her navigate her journey with you. Moffiii has TONS of resources for children and families. Take advantage of it all, and ask about family retreats which they plan from time to time.

    June 13, 2013 at 3:18 am
    • Reply pinklemonsandrainbows

      Thanks Kim,

      Yes, I’m going to get every possible resource they have for us. I have to try REALLY hard not to freak out when she says things like that. And to not take them as a “sign”-isn’t that awful 🙁 Talking to you and that book has helped me out tremendously too! I also purchased a book called Nowhere Hair (another recommended purchase). I’ll def ask about the family retreats. Thank u xoxo

      June 13, 2013 at 10:32 am
  • Reply Danielle Quintana

    This brought me to tears. Yes, kids absorb more than what we think, but if you are honest and forthright, as you and Justin are, she will be ok. They need to feel safe. You and Justin are such good parents and Gianna will be stronger for it. She’ll have a natural element of compassion that will come from this. Jessica, you are a very good writer and you draw me into wanting to read. I can feel the meaning. I hope you can save this for your own book. Here for you, Luv Tia

    June 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm
  • Reply pam

    jes, that little pumkin listens to every word, she told me yesterday while she was in the pool at my house, “I can hear my mommy and daddy talking, i said really, “what are the saying” she said “daddy is telling mommy about her pointment, they always talk about mommy’s pointment i know cause i hear them talk all the time” yhen she jumped into the water and continued to tell me how well she was swimming
    because she has been practicing.

    June 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply Danielle

    We are praying for you. You are making all the right decisions. Gianna will become a more compassionate person going through this process. You are doing great. Maybe we can take the kids out when I come down for Ronnie’s graduation. 🙂 I also think you are a good writer. You are very engaging with your writing. You should write a book!!

    June 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm
  • Reply Maria Brennan

    I don’t know if my comment went thru…or if it matters! But communication is key. I remember when I was little I was kept in the dark about so much, and a few years later when the worst happened, it was traumatic, life jarring and a memory I would never wish on any child. I feel communication is key, let Gianna share to a degree.
    Let her talk and ask questions. Of course as parents you will filter what you want her to know. Your recovery and remission will bring her great joy that she can share with you. Just my opinion!!

    June 14, 2013 at 12:12 am
    • Reply pinklemonsandrainbows

      I 100% agree with you Maria. And everything that I’ve read says the same things. I got so much reading material on this!

      June 15, 2013 at 12:35 am
  • Reply Janalee Gooding Jones

    Reading this made me quickly put into perspective how small stuff is just small stuff. My grandmother had cancer 6 times and I never knew the magnitude like your daughters does until I was 17 and had to donate blood for her transfusions. I would recommend going to the ACS located on Oakfield b/c they have specialized support groups to help you and your family through this process.. I was a board member for a long time and can get your contact info if it would help you and your family.

    June 14, 2013 at 2:24 am
  • Reply Nicole

    i echo you & the others when i say “i shed some tears” – ohmyword.

    i just caught up on everything going on & reading all of your posts. i’m in disbelief as i’m sitting here staring at my computer screen that this “cause” we once supported in ZTA is now a reality for you.

    i love that you are documenting your journey – especially if it helps YOU.

    i will be praying for your battle, furiously! and i will most assuredly be lifting up that precious rock of a hubby you have & that adorable baby girl. this is just as much a battle for them.


    June 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm
    • Reply pinklemonsandrainbows

      Yes it is….they are fighting right there with me! keep up the prayers 🙂

      June 14, 2013 at 11:22 pm
  • Reply lightscanceraction

    A cousin of mine would do something special with my son each time I got chemo. She would get things to do a project and together they would make cards, make a smiley face out of vegetables, or whatever. But it helped him to feel involved and supportive, while celebrating each chemo that went by. My son was 11 at the time, but I thought it was such a great idea and I am really grateful to my cousin for doing that.

    July 20, 2013 at 7:59 pm
    • Reply pinklemonsandrainbows

      That was really great of her to do that! What a great idea too. How was he throughout all your treatments? I feel so bad sometimes when I’m too tired to go outside or “play store”. Thank goodness for family!

      July 21, 2013 at 4:51 pm
  • Reply drgpquinn

    I’m a research at Moffitt and I work with Jessica McIntyre – she is going to bring you a book on Saturday that covers some of the issues you mention. There are also social work programs here that are designed to help children cope with a parent’s diagnosis. There is also a great online program called PACT:

    September 11, 2013 at 9:24 pm
    • Reply pinklemonsandrainbows

      Hey there! That sounds great-thank you so much! A social worker there gave me a bunch of websites and some reading material for her. I haven’t heard of the PACT program though. I just took a peak at it and it looks very informative-thanks again 🙂

      September 11, 2013 at 9:58 pm
  • Reply drgpquinn

    I meant to say “researcher” – for an author I am a terrible editor.

    September 11, 2013 at 9:25 pm
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