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Of kids, cancer.....and turnips

tommycat's picture
Posts: 790
Joined: Aug 2011

Steved's post made me think about how hard our cancer can be on our children/loved ones---I felt like sharing this story with you all.
My girls---identical twins---are now 7 and they were age 4 when I was dx with Stage 3 rectal cancer. It was a brutal road to get where I am today (currently NED) and I think all the uncertainty contributed to one of my daughters being a worrier. She is much more anxious and a "Mommy's girl" than her sister, and perhaps part of it can be attributed to our neighbor's little girl who brightly said that I was going to die.
I've told my anxious daughter that the only thing I wanted her to worry about was the price of turnips, and if the stock market price of turnips was going up or down. (Of course that led to a "what are turnips/stock markets?" conversation but that's besides the point.)
I didn't want her worrying about things completely out of our control so turnips became our code word for when I felt she had latched onto an unhealthy, unproductive idea.
The other day when I had had a Drs. appt. she was overly concerned about me, so I reminded her of what she was supposed to worry about and she sighed and said, "turnips."
A few seconds later she came to me and said, "Mommy how about we BOTH don't worry about anything?"
Great advice!!!
So much is out of our control...we make the best decisions we can....we do the best we can at the time...........and that's pretty much all we can do.
Just thought I'd share.
Yours in turnips,

maglets's picture
Posts: 2596
Joined: Jun 2006

yours in rutabagas.....love your story


Helen321's picture
Posts: 1424
Joined: May 2012

Great story, I think I'll invest in turnips. My kids were already worried about our divorce so I just told them I had a growth in my butt and not to worry. We haven't told them about the cancer part. They are 13 and 14 year old boys, both said ill TMI mom and went on with their days. I decided I'm only going to tell them if it comes back again after this next surgery (I don't even like to say that outloud. Knocking on wood, throwing salt over shoulder!)

Posts: 1278
Joined: Apr 2012

Have you ever heard of "TULIPMANIA'? At one time when new tulip colors were being developed there was a market for tulip bulbs,
The price for some new ones were way too much. But if I buy it today and sell it on Monday for even more, then the outrageous price does
make sense. The term tulipmania is now applied to the stock market!! Who knows, maybe tomorrow we will have a turnip market. LOL

Posts: 753
Joined: Apr 2011

I've never liked turnips ......but I DO now. Good story :)

PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4912
Joined: May 2005

Great story, clever idea.
I love turnips but I seldom have them. I know that's not the point of your post but I don't "turn-up" my nose at them...

barbebarb's picture
Posts: 464
Joined: Oct 2011

Thanks for sharing!

My young adults are 20 and 22. I have been open with them about what's going on with me but I like the turnips story.

You are right about there is so much out of our control..and hope for the best day by day
We learn to embrace, even more, life's great moments and our better days during treatment.


Doc_Hawk's picture
Posts: 685
Joined: Jan 2012

My daughter is 28 and we were estranged when I was dx'd. One of the few positive things about my cancer is that it helped to bring us back together and seal the rift. I have two email lists that I send out: one is to all the friends and family that I have addresses for and I always give as upbeat an account of what's going on as I can. I will mention if treatment has been hard or I'm not feeling well, but never go into details. The other is only 7 people, and those are the ones that I confide in and tell when I'm feeling bad, depressed or whatever. My daughter is on both lists so she gets the full scoop.

annalexandria's picture
Posts: 2573
Joined: Oct 2011

My kids, especially my teenage daughters, have struggled greatly at times with my dx...especially when I'm sick or facing surgery, grades go down, they get depressed, and don't care about much of anything. Maybe we need a code word too, although now that "turnips" is taken, I'll have to think of a new one. They love all things zombie, but under the circumstances that might not be appropriate! Thanks for sharing a good idea. Ann

Posts: 370
Joined: Aug 2011

I love this story Tori, I picture you being such a great mom.
I'm so glad you're where you are in the scheme of things. You
have been through a lot and can now enjoy your girls.
Turnips to you:)

pepebcn's picture
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

as well ? hahaha.
Have fun my friend.

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

aspects of my kids lives are dominated by my cancer and its treatment
i have a 6 year old boy and a 10 year old girl.
both are great and supportive.
this is a typical day, my kids and i are joined at the hip.

at their sports, at my gym, at the organic market where they play with the animals and buy organic sausages and play on swings. at the garden shop, in our garden and on our adventure neighbourhood rides with other local street kids.


i think we do our best all the time.
to love our kids is simply the best use of our time, mine certainly.

your girls sound wonderful.


ps got to go and give my son his evening back scratch, he gets this most nights.

Posts: 835
Joined: Apr 2004

Thanks for the personal story. I think there is a special challenge in having this illness with young children (I would never say its harder than others challenges but it certainly adds a different dimension). Our own approach is to tell the kids the stuff we know but protect them wher possible from the uncertainty, which we all know is the one of the hardest aspects of this journey for ourselves.

My children (5 and 8) know about my 'poorly leg' (caused by the tumour pressingon a nerve) and are quite protective of it- another child gave me a kick on the beach yesterday for tickling her and provoked my 5 year to run over and kick her back shouting 'don't kick my dad's poorly leg!' Rather liked her gutsy response but still had to explain kicking kids back ain't right (although sometimes it kind of is).

They also have come to love my disabled parking badge I have which entitles me to park close to lots of stuff. REcently when they were out with my wife and had to park miles away from the shops they said they wished their mum was disabled so they could park closer!

The world the kids inhabit is such a lovely one. We do need to protect them from the ugly realities we face and they don't need but balance that out with truth and honesty when it is needed- they are often aware of stuff we think we hide from them. It is a hard path to tread right. We all do our best.

steve (who is still trying to figure out how to best broach the topic of limb amputation with a five year old!)

Posts: 157
Joined: Jan 2011

Thank you Tory for sharing..you made me smile!

son of hal
Posts: 117
Joined: Mar 2011

That is a great story TC, thanks. That's just another aspect to cancer that people don't realize. The stress and/or worry that involves family members. My kids were 13 and 11 when I was diagnosed and my 13 year old daughter was already a worrier with mild OCD as a child and seperation anxiety. It was a tough decision to tell them or not but we had to because of all the doctors visits. I was not one to go to the doctor for anything so I knew they would know something was not right. I didn't want to lie to them so I would just say everything will work out. My daughter would not ask if I would be cured or if I would be OK she would insist that I say it. (ex. "your going to be fine, right?", "they caught it early enough, right?", "it's not that serious, right?") So, most of my conversations were, "yes honey," "I hope so, baby", "that's what they say". It was tough at first and my daughters grades in school clearly showed the impact and what a distraction it can be for kids. It's better now but we've skipped quite a few family things due to treatments or surgery or lack of money. I look forward to the day when family plans can be made months in advance without wondering if they'll have to be cancelled last minute due to some aspect of cancer. I wish all of our kids futures could be cancer free, even just for a summer.
Take care, CJ

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

The kids are loved dearly, but have open awareness. Each day they see love and beauty and have and learn. They see my resolve to live and my considerable efforts as my way of showing them my desire to love them into our future. They know I have faith in my survival but we have no guarantees.

I want them to learn from my life's lessons of cancer the uncertainty of life as a fundamental reality, my kids accept it and are well positioned for life's challenges. I would not deny them this lesson
Now as I may not be around to teach it in the future.


Ps as a family we pray everyday for our health, my cure and our world. They know they are loved.

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