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Questions from children...?

Sally08's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Jan 2009

I recently had some kids at my son's daycare ask me "What's that? What happened?"
...Pointing of course to my scar....
I said I had surgery.... but the kids are usually no older than 5 years old...
Has anyone had to explain to kids before...
When adults ask... I just say "I had surgery" Thinking... that an adult... they're smart enough to know that off the bat most likely... and if I give them such an obvious answer... than perhaps that's all I feel comfortable sharing... if they ask what kind of surgery... I'll tell them either "I had my thyroid removed" or "Don't worry about it"

Children I take more care in answering....
My only thought is I don't like to use terminology with children if they're not going to understand it... then I might as well not answer the question.. lol
Not all children at my son's childcare know what surgery is...
But I'm careful in using phrases like... "I was sick and he doctor had to fix it"
because I know, as when I was a child... that kids think to themselves and worry "Would that happen to me if I get sick?"

So I guess my question is... has anyone been in this scenario before?
And, what do you think would be an appropriate answer to this question? (Kid Friendly)
With children.... my rule of thumb is... to not use words they don't understand.... or (kids I don't know or don't know their parents) to not use the word cancer...


Posts: 7
Joined: May 2009

Hi Sally,
I am an occupational therapist working in a preschool with children 3-5 years old. From my experience, children see the scar and are curious if it hurts and are you ok. They are not looking for big answers. In fact, one day a 4 year old looked at my scar-I only have one scar on my right side that the surgeon used for both surgeries. She asked if I had a cat. I asked her why with a perplexed look on my face. She said "because you have a cat scratch on your neck. I laughed and used that as an answer if any child asked. I have to say, only three children out of hundreds even asked about it. One child, who was 5 and very bright and serious asked about it. I knew the cat story would not fly with him. I explained that I had something that could make me sick, so a doctor removed it. He asked if it hurt and I explained that I was sleeping and did not feel a thing and that I was feeling better. IT was enough for him.
I have to ask, Do adults really ask about it? I have not had that experience since my surgeries on Feb. and April. Are they family members and friends? or strangers. I see people look at the scar, but no one has commented on it.
I hope that helps. Good luck!

Sally08's picture
Posts: 47
Joined: Jan 2009

Thank you :)
Yea, I've had several adults ask... this was the first time a child younger than 10 has asked me though... my son is 2 so I've not yet had to answer questions about it yet lol
My scar is about the length of my index finger and the width of a ball point pen straight across the front of my neck. So, extremely noticeable
I've had people from cashiers at a grocery store to random people at a bus stop ask me... I'd estimate at least once a day I get a question.

Posts: 47
Joined: Aug 2009

I have a 2 year old niece within my household and we explained to her what happened. She was there with me the day I came out of surgery, she held my hand and fed me ice chips (and tried with french fries). This is my 2 week anniversary today since the surgery. She has been excellent therapy for me; she brings her "doctor bag" takes my blood pressure, temp, a shot, gives me a bandage and checks my heart.

Everytime she comes close, she says "aunty neck" and points to it. So one day when an uncle called, she told him: "aunty's neck has a booboo, and the doctor took it out, now she's all better" so she figured it out in her way. Yesterday, I allowed her to touch my neck, she giggled and wiped her finger, it was funny.

I haven't been out as much since it's quite early, but I have gotten a few stares... ah who cares, it's mine...

take care.

Posts: 18
Joined: Jul 2009

huh. i know where you are coming from. i have two scars on my neck, as well as severe radiation burn. what really sucked for me was that i am not much older then the kids that ask about my neck. i was 12/13 when i had my stuff, and at first the q's were really hard to answer. i am now 19, and trust me, it gets easier with time. although you will never quite get over the little kids who think you can't hear and say "mommy, look at her neck! why is it like that?" some even have the audacity to point. sometimes i ignore it, other times i step in, much to the parents embarrassment since they though i couldn't hear, and tell them i had an operation for cancer, which usually shuts them up. lol. but sometimes it can be a real education for the kids, so i now try to be as open as possible, as long as my attitude holds. hope that helps! :)

Posts: 69
Joined: Mar 2009

I usually say I came in second in the knife fight or hatchet fight.

Posts: 7
Joined: Aug 2009

I said I got in a bar fight, You should see the other guy!!

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