Semantics Matter: We Won’t Call It Cancer

Yesterday, I wrote about the big C-word and how it is a big cloud in my sky. I wasn’t prepared to hear that word. (Although, the doctor is a neuro-oncologist, so I don’t know why I was so surprised! I guess I just didn’t want to hear it!)

Doctors (usually) do a good job choosing their words when talking to parents. They’ve called the growth in Jax’s brain a tumor, a lesion, a low-grade glioma, and an astrocytoma, but we still don’t really know what it is. We won’t know for sure unless we do a biopsy – and the location of the tumor does not warrant that procedure. If they’re going in for a biopsy, they’re going in for total resection. And since Jax is not showing any symptoms caused by the tumor, the risk of brain surgery is just not worth it right now.

This “wait and see” approach is absolutely the best possible place to be right now, but it also brings with it a false sense of security. If it doesn’t require treatment right now, then it must not be that big a deal, right?

I told the doctor that I wish we never would have found the tumor in the first place!

She looked at me plainly and said “no – we are lucky we found it now.” Now we will be sure that we never get behind the eight-ball. The tumor will never grow out of control because we will be monitoring it every few months.

We will “wait and see” but we will not let our guard down.

Semantics matter: we can’t use the C-word. My mom died of cancer and Steve’s dad died of cancer. Using that word in reference to our son is much, much too scary. Jax has a brain tumor and that sucks. But Jax has a brain tumor that is behaving well and that does not require treatment right now – it’s another hurdle that we have to clear, another test for our strength and another lesson in letting go and trusting our Guardian Angels.

The neuro-oncologist said that some people go their whole lives with tumors in their brains and they never need treatment. I hope Jax is one of those people!

Jax and I made up a song together. It goes: “The sun is shining. The birds are singing. I makes me happy to know you’re happy, so come along and sing with me.” Jax requests it by asking for “Sunshine in the Morning?” He knows what’s up – he knows to look for the sunshine in the morning.

I’m just going to follow in Jax’s footsteps – and look for the sunshine.

See how far ahead of me Jax is in this picture? It's basically a good representation of our entire life - he always has things figured out before I do. <3
See how far ahead of me Jax is in this picture? It’s basically a good representation of our entire life – he always has things figured out before I do.

Author: Andrea M

Oh man, what an adventure! I went into labor unexpectedly when I was 23w3d pregnant. Jaxson was born weighing 1 lb 8 oz. A tiny little peanut, but boy was he feisty. He still is! We love it now, but we probably won't when he is a teenager. I write about our journey and all other things that come with it, including a brain tumor. We look forward to "meeting" you - come hang out with us...we're pretty cool.

4 thoughts on “Semantics Matter: We Won’t Call It Cancer”

  1. Andrea – you are one of the bravest people I know, you remind me how courage and a positive attitude can change your outlook on everything.
    Keep lookin’ for that sunshine.


    1. Naahhhh – I’m not brave – you would do the same if you had to! Jax is such a bright spirit, he helps us focus on the positive even when we don’t want to. Normally, he will tell us a knock, knock joke or do a little jig. We’re lucky like that! 🙂


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