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Wish Blog

Sep 11, 2019

The Emotions of Back to School for Wish Parents

Jane now and then
Last week, 5-year-old wish kid Jane started first grade. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor as a toddler and her treatment spanned the early years of her life. The ordinary milestones of childhood, like the first day of school, can be emotional for parents but are especially so for parents of kids battling or recovering from a critical illness. We asked Jane's mother, Kate, to explain.

Tell us a little about Jane.
Jane is a beautiful, bright, 5-year old, starting first grade this year. She loves to laugh and play with her sisters. Her past medical experience has made her a tough little cookie– she knows what she wants and is determined to get it. Jane wants to be a teacher when she grows up – or maybe a ballerina.

How did she deal with her diagnosis and treatment? How did you?
Jane’s diagnosis was very sudden – I refer to it sometimes as life “before tumor” and “after tumor.” She was so little – not even 2 – when she had her first (emergency) surgery.

What was tough for Jane was her follow up MRIs. MRI scans (aka “big circle machine”) were a terrifying experience for her - the needles, the doctors/nurses, pre-doctor’s visit, post-results doctor’s visit took a lot out of her and our entire family. It was an exhausting cycle of dread during the weeks leading up to each scan, anxiety the week of doctors’ appointments, a brief relief once the MRI was done, back to anxiety between the MRI until we got the results and back to relief once we got the all clear. Happily, we are so fortunate that this past March Jane was declared stable and no longer needs regular scans.

What went through your mind when you sent her off to kindergarten last year? What feels different about sending her off to first grade this year?
Every “first day” we are reflective and so very grateful that she is healthy and has no lasting impact from her condition. The anxiety has lessened this year now that we aren’t worrying about scans. But we are mostly grateful for her health and excited for her future.

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