Monday, April 1, 2013

Leukemia - Equality and Fairness

Jemma is beginning her third week of maintenance treatment and life is becoming more normal. She has three more doses of L'Asparaginase before her catheter can be removed. Due to Easter, her Monday visit was moved to Tuesday, so tomorrow we will spend the day at the hospital.

Back in November my older two children were struggling a lot with Jemma's Leukemia. Thankfully, my 11 year old adjusted after I offered her the chance to pretend she had Leukemia. During that time period I wrote the following post which was never published. I'm glad they have both discovered that Leukemia is something they don't have control over and found peace in the situation.

60 Minutes did a recent segment on children called Born to be good? Researches featured in the segment tested babies and children on their sense of morality and fairness. I found it very interesting that children under a certain age will almost always make situations equitable.

Both of my healthy children have had to deal with Leukemia. One major struggle they both have, has to do with equality. I was always taught that life isn't fair. You just have to deal with what you get. This is a difficult concept for children to understand.

All three of my children seem to be in the age of equality. When one child has Leukemia, many things are far from equal. Depending on the perspective either Jemma has the advantage or the siblings have the advantage. Here's the way my healthy children usually seem to see things.

Sibling Advantage
Healthy kids can go places
Healthy kids have hair

Jemma's Advantage
She gets tons of mommy time (at the hospital)
She can't eat left overs
She doesn't have much time for school
Her taste buds are messed up, so she gets to choose the food she eats
Mommy treats Jemma like a God (always checking her temperature, changing her bandages, and asking how she feels when she sneezes)

Equality is a big issue for kids. They find it very difficult to deal with inequality. Instead of trying to understand the reason for the differences, they often jump to the conclusion that the other child is being favored. 

When we grow up we begin to see inequality in the world, and realize that some people have tremendous advantages over others. Some people try to make things equal and some learn to overcome the inequalities. For my children, it is impossible to make all things equal and they are learning this challenging life lesson at a very young age. It will have a lasting impact on their lives.

In an effort to help them understand the differences they experience we talk a lot! I've heard some examples of adults who had difficulty dealing with the illness of a sibling. If you are one of these adults and have any suggestions for actions I can take now to make this situation easier on my children I would love to hear from you.

This post is linked to:
The Chicken Chick
Motivation Monday


  1. I don't have any profound insights to offer, and I think many adults struggle with understanding the idea that equality does not mean sameness, so I won't expect children to fully grasp this concept either. Much love and healing thoughts to all of you. :-)

  2. My 6 year old son has ALL too. I appreciate your advice and thoughts. He is the oldest of 4 kids ( baby born 2 days before diagnosis) so this is something I should be addressing more and more. I love this post, thank you.

    1. Oh my goodness. Hang in there. It does get better. Jemma is the youngest and I have felt extremely busy over the past year. I can't imagine how you are doing. I hope you have family or friends available to help so that your other kids don't have to come to every hospital visit.

  3. I just watched the video it is fascinating!!! My oldest is very focused on what is fair in her life right now:)

    1. Sometimes it's hard for me to deal with the kids when they crave excessive fairness. Watching the video made me understand how normal it is.

  4. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick


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