“We could not tell the eldest son that his brother had cancer”

How Lesha got sick

In the fall of 2016, my youngest son Lesha fell ill, then he was only three years old. It began with the flu, the temperature could not be brought down, and Lyosha was getting worse. I decided to take him to the hospital, but I didn’t even think about something serious, and I knew almost nothing about cancer. And in the hospital, the doctor shocked: Lesha has a suspicion of leukemia, and he is already in intensive care in serious condition.

Lesha spent three days there, it was impossible to go to him, and all this time I lay at home in the unknown. Shocked, on medication. I remember little from that period, I remember how I could not sleep at night: in the hospital they later told that Lesha often woke up at night and called his mother.

My eldest son was at home, but these three days he did not come to me or he was not allowed. Over time, I realized that it was a big mistake.

Dima was waiting at home

Dima was 12 years old at that time. We are used to always being close. Dad worked, so I had a school, lessons, a football section. But Lyosha fell ill, and I closed in on myself, removed Dima, wanted to protect him from bad news, but this only made it worse.

I don’t even know how the eldest son was informed that Lesha was ill. When he was in intensive care, Dima was deceived. He could not understand what was going on. It seems that my brother fell ill with a simple flu, why then resuscitation.

We must immediately tell the children how serious everything is. They hear when adults are discussing something, and they understand everything. But they have their own tangle of thoughts tied in their heads, and it can upset, cause great resentment or even aggression.

Dima saw Lesha during treatment

After resuscitation, Lesha and I were immediately transferred for treatment to the Balashikha Oncology Center. He stopped talking and for the next two weeks answered in monosyllabic phrases. And then, on the background of chemotherapy and hormones, he stopped walking.

When they let us go home, he still didn’t go. I came with Lesha in my arms, everything was fine until Dima saw that Lesha could not walk. He said: “Lesha, come with me.” And Lesha could not even stand on his feet.

Dima looked at this with eyes full of horror, grandparents cried, I asked everyone to pull themselves together. Dima did not understand why his brother could not walk. After all, he didn’t really know anything. While we were in the hospital, my grandmother could not talk to him – he did not want to, he argued with everyone. He was trying to come to our hospital, but he was not allowed – it was impossible.

The moment came when I decided to tell everything as it is, to explain what kind of illness Lesha has, that it can be fatal. He could not accept it, because he had been thinking about the flu for so long. And it seems to me that after a while he never accepted it.

Lesha at home

At home Lesha began to walk again, spoke more. Everything was slowly getting better, at some point the hospital treatment ended, we just regularly came to the hospital for outpatient treatment and supervision, but we lived at home.

Dima had an internal struggle with himself. He tried to help me with Lesha, learned the whole schedule of taking medications, but it was difficult for him. It was necessary to explain why Lesha needed more attention, why he had more gifts.

Dima was jealous, he was offended by the whole family. He seemed to say: “I am healthy, but I also want your love and affection.” And I constantly reminded him: “You are both my children and I love you equally, just Lesha has a terrible illness, and I do not know what will happen to him tomorrow, I am very afraid for him.”

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