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My wife's dad is on hospice care with a particularly ugly form of cancer that will take his life soon. As we try to do what we can to make him comfortable, we are noticing the effect of this on our four children. The two youngest, Chad who is 10 and Drew who is 8, have been really bothered by what is going on...and the other day they stopped me cold with two questions. One asked, "Is cancer contagious?" I answered no, and tried to explain that this disease is not contagious and he doesn't have to worry about getting close to grandpa...and then came the question from his brother that really gave me pause, "Do kids get cancer?"
For years we have worked with the Primary Children's Medical Center and have seen miracles; we have gone to Huntsman and seen what they do...but to a small child, what can happen isn't as important as what may happen...and the honest answer is, "Yes, sometimes children do get cancer." He didn't have to ask, "Will I get cancer?" because I could see in his eyes that was exactly what he is worried about.
I liked it better when they asked questions like, "Where does God live?" and "Why does the water go down the drain clockwise and not counter clockwise?" I could make up answers to those questions if I didn't know.....but there is no way to dance around a little boy's fears and dreads when it comes to cancer.