I am sure I had a better title when I was originally thinking this up but no such luck now. I decided to put something out hoping it both speaks to people who have had to go through their own health issues and to encourage discussion and testing as a public health message. Mostly when I write, I think about my kids reading this as adults and I hope the message speaks to them.
Let’s start at the beginning. I’m having surgery today to remove what the doctor believes is a benign growth. There’s a very long backstory which is too detailed to get into here but the reason I’m sharing this is mostly to encourage women to do their annual testing. All too often we put things off because they’re uncomfortable or we’re too busy caring for everyone else. So I’m here to encourage and remind you to take care of yourself and your health. Do regular breast exams and start mammograms at whatever age your Dr recommends. Since the 1990s, mammograms have reduced the mortality rate from breast cancer by 40%. Yes there are false positives, but the overwhelming benefit outweighs those!
Why on a parenting blog? First - hoping this reaches many moms. Second, I thought about how to approach this with my kids and hope it might help to share that.
When the kids are little they think we’re invincible. We can solve any problem and have every answer. We don’t have weaknesses in their minds. That all changes when they become teens and we’re all weak and lacking answers. But whatever stage they’re in - it’s scary when something happens to us. If we don’t share anything, I think they worry more.
My experience is that sharing to each at their level helps them process it. Make sure that your worry doesn’t become theirs. They’re not your confidant. They need bite size information that helps them process the experience. I think it’s important to answer their questions honestly.
I told my older kids the full story because they’re basically adults, my teenage son (“mom this is gross don’t tell me”) so I didn’t go into details, just the basics. For the younger kids, I told them I needed a surgery and that it wasn’t dangerous and the doctors just need to double check what they believe they’re seeing on other tests. My 12 year old had some questions and asked me if he needed to worry. I told him that Hashem does the worrying so we can skip that part because He’s got our back. But I told him the truth - the surgery itself was a little scary to me and I’m trying to control my own reactions. That’s my part in the process.
Everyone’s got their own approach and their own attitude. It’s ok to be scared, I just think when it comes to the kids we have to show them both the human side and the braver side. They’ll likely model it when it’s their turn to be adults and put on a brave face.
Hoping to share many good news posts. Please spread the message to all the moms and women in your lives - prevention is the best medicine!