Gransnet forums


Anxious about grandchild's return to school after cancer

(21 Posts)
Mebster Mon 13-Jan-20 01:42:13

My grandson has T-ALL leukemia and brain damage resulting from his chemo. I've been involved in his daily care for 18 months and I love him more than words can express. He is returning to school tomorrow, though he can barely feed himself, walks with forearm crutches and cannot write. I am essentially his best friend as his peers have little in common with him now. I'm extremely anxious about his return to school, though his mom will be nearby. I keep crying (not in front of him). It seems like one of the best and worst things to happen. Kids can be so cruel and I'm afraid he doesn't have the stamina but here's hoping. Keep us in your thoughts.

BradfordLass72 Mon 13-Jan-20 03:02:07

If it was here, I could tell you that you would be welcome in the school and to sit with him for as long as you need. But I am not sure if schools in the UK (where I assume you reside) do this.

Have you spoken to the Principal and his teacher? If not please do so.

It would be of great value to his class mates to learn about his illness, recovery and needs and whilst children certainly can be cruel, I have found that so very many are protective and caring of a classmate who needs support.

Please go with him and consult the staff, it will help you both.

BlueBelle Mon 13-Jan-20 07:24:33

As the mebster uses the word Mom she could be in USA but that doesn’t really matter
I can totally understand your fears and I also remember I m sure it was you who posted before about your deep and undying love and vigil you have had with this young man
I m sure the doctors and your daughter would not let him go to school unless he was ready and really wanted to
I don’t agree with Bradford saying go with him it’s not your place it’s his mums place and you say she will be nearby neither is it your place to speak to the principal
Kids can be mercilessly cruel but they can also be supportive and kind I truly hope they are with your lad You talk of being his best friend and I understand that but this little chap needs his own friends I hope his resilience of getting through so far what he has will keep him going and that he makes some good and kind friends
Yes it is a two edged sword but now you have to find the same strength this little chap has shown, for to now help him through the next hurdle of returning to normality
Do keep us posted how his first day went

DoraMarr Mon 13-Jan-20 07:37:47

I am sure his classmates will have been prepared for his return. While you say kids can be cruel, they can also be incredibly kind. As a teacher I have seen at first hand how supportive and loving children can be to those with an illness or a disability. You do not say if he will have a support assistant, which would be the norm in schools I have worked in. He/she will be responsible for helping your grandson settle and will be able to alert his teachers if he is becoming too tired. This is a milestone for your grandson, because he will be getting back to normal, and although it might be a new normal for him, he will feel like a schoolboy and not a patient. I am assuming that his parents have a return to school plan and are happy for him to go back. Please don’t worry, everyone will have your grandson’s best interests at heart.

LullyDully Mon 13-Jan-20 08:42:57

PS they use mom in Birmingham.

Good luck with the young boy returning to school. Definitely preparation by the school and pupils is important. This is easier with younger students as older ones can be very unkind .

Daisymae Mon 13-Jan-20 08:55:17

Fully understand how worried you are but this is such good news. Mixing with other young people is what he needs most. Hopefully he will settle in quickly and find friends among his peers. Hope it goes well for him today.

sodapop Mon 13-Jan-20 09:02:14

So sorry for your grandson Mebster what a difficult time you have all had. I'm sure his Mum and the school are prepared for any problems which may arise.. I think he has to try to get back to a more normal way of life now things are improving a little. He will need your love and support to be more independent.

Harris27 Mon 13-Jan-20 09:04:41

I’m sure your daughter will of had many discussions with the school and a plan put in place. If not I would wonder why? They would have to show support and help for your grandson and would normally get extra funding in a situation like this to put a classroom assistant in place with him. I wish you well and fingers crossed he gets the help he needs.

Chardy Mon 13-Jan-20 10:31:18

As a teacher, I think that other pupils will be supportive.

This made me cry btw

EllanVannin Mon 13-Jan-20 12:24:38

I'd be very loathed to send him to school for a variety of reasons and instead have him schooled at home.

Fennel Mon 13-Jan-20 12:58:00

I hope the little boy isn't expected to return full time at once?
It should be a gradual re-introduction, with one to one support, until he's familiar with all the curriculum that he has missed. Or given a special programme, if that's what he needs.
Mebster - try to find out where the nearest schools psychological service is. They should be able to advise and hopefully arrange support.

DoraMarr Mon 13-Jan-20 15:57:23

EllenVannin this is a little boy who has been through such a lot. His life has been a round of hospital visits. If he is happy to return to school that is marvellous, it will give him a new sense of purpose and make him feel normal again, not just a patient. If he is home-schooled he will feel isolated. Of course his family will be anxious at first, but I am sure that his health workers and the school will have prepared everything to make it as easy as possible. You would be surprised and moved by how caring his classmates will be. It would be nice to know how he has got on after a week or too, and I wish him all the best.

Yennifer Mon 13-Jan-20 16:04:28

A lot of children are generally very caring and protective in circumstances like this, the school should also do all in their power to help him reach his full potential. I don't think it will help your worry until you know its going OK x

jura2 Mon 13-Jan-20 16:10:41

Oh I feel your pain and concern- and yet, for his sake, you must all take every possible step to keep him safe- but NOT SHOW IT - to give him confidence.

This is so hard, I know. Our grandson is VERY allergic to egg, even in minute quantities- a peck on the cheek from another little girl at nursery sent him straight to Casualty despite fast epipen application. Had to be intubated and it was touch and go. And has happened several times since. He is now a teenager and cannot eat school meals, and cannot go on normal trips or camps, unless one of the parents go. Heart breaking. But he needs your support to go back to as normal a life as he can. My heart goes out to you hugs

Grammaretto Mon 13-Jan-20 16:23:46

My niece had to return to school after suffering dreadful burns. She was badly scarred but the worst was she had become withdrawn. However there were a couple of girls who were loyal and befriended her - one had experienced a burns incident in her own family. This kindness was enough to carry her over the start and then everyday was an improvement on the one before.
I hope your DGS finds friends and support.

She is now a successful and empathetic young woman.

Hithere Mon 13-Jan-20 16:30:13


Believe in your gs and daughter. Believe they will achieve a successful reintegration in school and your gs will adapt.

It is good for him to go back and play with his peers.

You should be celebrating! Going back to school it is a huge milestone and your gs will do great.

Wipe your tears and smile. Your dd and gs need your positive energy

MissAdventure Mon 13-Jan-20 17:05:50

I hope your grandson had a great day.
I just wanted to say that there was a little boy with cancer at my grandsons school, and the other children were absolutely great with him in that they treated "the dude in the wheelchair" no differently at all.

Mebster Sat 15-Feb-20 18:21:27

I wanted to update you all: he is back at school and so far it's going well. He has chemo and therapy that take up two days a week so it's really only three days that he goes full time. The other children seem to be kind. Thank you for your support and prayers.

DoraMarr Sat 15-Feb-20 19:35:14

Mebster that’s good to know.
I taught a six year old who was having chemotherapy. He would get very tired, so we made him a little “nest” in a corner. He would go there for some quiet time, or even a nap, when he was feeling tired. The other children would instinctively lower their voices to a whisper- and remind me- so as not to disturb him. Although they were only five and six, they understood. They were very kind to him.
We liaised with the parents before he returned, and he had a home/ school book where we recorded anything of note- highs as well as lows. His parents said he loved being back at school.

agnurse Sun 16-Feb-20 00:36:12


I think we often think of how children can be cruel, and while that is very true, it's also true that they can be very kind, especially when it's explained to them that someone is different and why that is.

crazyH Sun 16-Feb-20 00:48:01

I think some sense of normality is good for the little soldier - and going to school will help create that feeling. Teachers will be well aware and mindful of the situation, especially on the playground.
I agree with agnurse, children can be very kind and empathetic. My little 4 year old GD's best friend is S, a lovely little boy with Down's Syndrome. Children don't see differences. It's the adults in their lives, who pass their prejudices on.