Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PH and Your Kids

I left the international PH conference last year having learned a lot. But there was one topic still on my mind that I had never heard addressed, and that I desperately wanted to know more about.

When the time came, how in heaven's name was I going to explain this condition to my son?

I thought about it a lot, requested it as a topic for the conference in 2012, but didn't want to wait that long.

And then it dawned on me... I'm an educator! I know about this whole talking to kids on their level stuff, I just couldn't put my own feelings about the disease aside well enough to mesh what I knew about kids with what I knew I will some day have to do regarding PH.

So, deep breath in, deep breath out, I tackled the topic. I wrote an article for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. I was talking to my friend Sam about it and come to find out, she spent a lot of time talking to kids about their parent's illness when she worked as an oncology nurse. So, I sent her my article and she helped me round it out into something that could be used for all ages and stages, no matter where you are at with your illness.  You can read the full version here: Helping Your Child Cope With Your Illness

I still dread the day my son asks why I'm sick. Right now he won't notice much of anything because I'm doing really well and all my medications and oxygen have been a part of his world for as long as he can remember. To him, this is all normal (ah, childhood innocence!) But, the day will come when he will start asking tough questions, and the day will also come when I have to give him some tough answers. But, now I feel just a little bit more ready.