I was recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It was certainly shocking news and something I didn't expect since I didn't have any symptoms. Thankfully, I have had surgery and am hopeful that I will make a full recovery.
When I got the news, I knew that I needed to process some of my feelings. As an elementary school teacher, I thought I would do this by writing some encouragement to children who also have cancer. If you know a child who is facing cancer, feel free to share the following thoughts with them. I hope they find the words encouraging and are reminded that they are not alone.
My name is Jordan. I have cancer. I'm a little scared at the moment. Have you ever been scared before?
I'm worried about my family. I'm worried about my friends. I'm worried that my life will never be the same. Have you ever been worried before?
I'm feeling lost right now. I don't know which direction to go. What are my next steps? Have you ever felt lost?
I'm also a little confused. Why did this happen to me? Did I do something wrong? Is this my fault? Have you ever felt confused?
I'm feeling angry and jealous. Why are other people healthy and I'm not? Why do I have to get so many tests and others don't? Have you ever felt angry or jealous?
If you've ever felt this way before, I want you to know that you're not alone. I know how you feel and with all my heart, I hope you get better.
I wish I could promise you that everything will work out perfectly. But I think you already know I can't do that.
What do I know right now?
I know that there is always hope ... always. No matter how hard things get, let's make a deal: that we won't give into despair. When you feel like there's no hope, tell someone how you feel. Don't keep those thoughts to yourself. Get them in the light and I’m certain you’ll begin to feel better.
I know that there are people in your life who love you and will do anything to help you. Maybe it's a parent, a sibling, a cousin or a friend. Maybe it's a teacher or coach or doctor. Look around and take heart, you are not alone.
I know that it’s important to be thankful. This might sound like a silly thing for me to say but please trust me. Take a moment or two to think about the following: What can I be thankful for right now? It might be something big or it might be something small. Write down 3 different ideas or tell them to someone. It may not make everything better, but it will certainly help.
I know it’s important to think about others. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the only person I think about is myself. It is important to take care of yourself but sometimes the best thing you can do is reach out to someone else in need. Maybe you could draw a picture for a friend? Or call someone on the phone? One of the nicest things you can share is your smile. What are some other ideas you can think of?
I know that because of this experience, you will become stronger. I don’t mean that you will suddenly grow big muscles or be able to jump over tall buildings. Instead, I believe that you are slowly turning into a real life hero. You are learning important life lessons such as what it means to be brave and to keep going when things get tough. I’m proud of you, so very proud. Stay strong little hero.