Don’t create a monster…

Don’t create a monster…

Boy oh boy, this was the best piece of advice we were given at diagnosis.

I can remember, when we first came home after his first block of treatment, he hadn’t really washed for two weeks.  His battered body still had remnants of the iodine solution which had been used before the port was surgically inserted in his chest.  There was a smell about him, a hospital one that I was desperate to get rid of; I wanted my boy to smell like my angel again.  And so, I ran a shallow bath, prepared fresh flannels and towels so that I could wrap and swaddle my baby again.  Felix was anxious about bathing because of his port.  He hadn’t really looked at it and the thought of it scared him.  He did not want to get undressed.  He cried, he begged, he refused to move.  This was tough.  How could I force my son, who had been to hell and back in the weeks before, do something he really didn’t want to do?

The time came for him to go to school to see his friends.  Felix tried everything not to go: feeling sick, headache, tiredness, tears, emotional blackmail.  I knew it was the best thing for him as he was becoming isolated and losing confidence.  We needed to break the ice so that he could engage with his peers and regain his confidence.  Felix and I sat outside the school in our car, tears streaming down his face, pleading not to go.  It was so hard watching my baby cry knowing that I could quite easily take his fear away by simply taking him home.  It tore me up inside; again a voice piped up, ” don’t create a monster.”  I  found my inner strength, wiped his tears away and held his hand tight as we walked into school.  After a long hour, sat waiting in the car, he bounded out with a huge smile on his face.  He did something he didn’t want to do; the monster was kept at bay.

There are many things it would be easy to ignore or avoid because of what he is going through at the moment.  I could quite easily let him off doing chores, or having a shower or sharing with his siblings because of the pain and suffering he is enduring.  However, kids need boundaries, all kids need boundaries, kids with cancer need boundaries.  If Felix did not have boundaries, he would quickly turn into the monster we had been warned about.  To bend the rules for a short time is fine when you can rein them back with relative ease.  Whether it is a bout of chickenpox or a holiday, we all need to the chance to run free for a short time with the knowledge and security that normality will resume sooner rather than later.  This is not the case for Felix, his treatment will last for just over 3 years.  We cannot let him run free for that distance because he will never make it back .  The boundaries need to stay in place, despite what he is going through, to ensure that he continues to feel safe, secure and at one with who he is to avoid any allegiance with monsters.


  • Sue Hayes
    Posted at 13:53h, 10 May Reply

    Totally agree with you. Although it must have been the most difficult thing to do. ?

  • Carol
    Posted at 16:17h, 10 May Reply

    So difficult to do but so right to set boundaries. Thinking of you all.

  • Jo Adams
    Posted at 19:40h, 10 May Reply

    It must be so difficult not to let him have or do anything he wants, but so right not to. He comes across as one of those kids that every teacher wants in their class or sporting team and that’s his overall up bringing not just what is happening now and how he (and the whole family) is dealing with it. Bless you all xx

  • Melanie
    Posted at 22:57h, 10 May Reply

    I don’t know you or Felix but ,you are as big a hero as your son.
    The honesty of your writing makes me cry some days as a mother I can’t imagine your pain. I feel like I want to hug you both and make this awful thing go away , if only it was as simple as that.

    I send you both the biggest virtual hug I could ever send and I wish you and that darling child of yours all the love in the world xx

    • The Diary of Mrs Brown
      Posted at 06:02h, 11 May Reply

      Oh thank you so much Melanie – your support and encouragement makes it easier somehow xxx

  • Uncle Phil
    Posted at 19:25h, 12 May Reply

    Kerry, that really is an inspirational piece of writing. When Matt was diagnosed with his illness at the age of 13 we resolved to try and ensure his illness became the best thing that happened to him not the worst. How we all react to the bad things which happen to us and those we love is what makes us the people we become. I really am full of admiration for the Brown family.

    • The Diary of Mrs Brown
      Posted at 19:40h, 12 May Reply

      Thank you so so much Uncle Phil. Your words of encouragement mean the world. Lots of love to you all xxx

  • anna milne
    Posted at 08:18h, 10 May Reply

    mrs brown, thank you for sharing your stories with us. on the outside ie on felix facebook everything looks good/easy behind this is a lot more. i have had breast cancer while caring for my adult aspergers son. the best thing is the “normal” things,i kept it as normal as possible for my son. “normal” for you is setting boundaries and keeping the piece with your 3 beautiful children. you can and will get through this. stay strong and positive. ????⚽⚽

    • Mrs Brown's Blogs
      Posted at 08:21h, 10 May Reply

      Thank you Anna for your kind words. I hope as talking to someone the other about how much people cope with that we don’t see – for this reason I wish people were kinder to each other! I hope you are doing well and your son has the opportunity to achieve and succeed xxx

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