Courtney Sole (13) speaks about the reality of being a sibling of a cancer patient.
Being a sibling isn’t easy, especially if your sister or brother had or has cancer. My brother, Josh, had cancer and l remember exactly how l felt. Sometimes it’s fine and you are okay. But other times you are not.
The day my parents told me Josh had cancer, l didn’t know what to think. l was very scared and worried that something would happen to him. All l wanted to do was protect him and somehow take it away. I even wished l had the cancer and not Josh.
About a week after they told me, all of our friends and family knew and that’s when people, even people we didn’t know, started giving him lots of presents. That is when l started getting a little bit jealous.
When he was extremely sick, the doctors told us to get rid of our dogs because they carry germs. I was terribly upset because they were the only stability around at the time, with mum and dad back and forth to the hospital.
We discussed it, and both Josh and I said it would be best for the dogs to stay at the front side of the house. So, the back garden could stay clean and sanitised. Getting rid of our precious dogs was not an option. That made me feel happier, but I was still sad they could not come inside.
When Josh was in hospital over the many nights, one parent stayed with me and the other stayed with Josh. So, our family was split up quite a bit, which was extremely hard.
At school everyone would ask: Are you okay? Are you fine today? It was very annoying because it felt like cancer surrounded me at home, at school and everywhere.
My advice to all the siblings of children with cancer is that you must hang in there. Sometimes it’s extremely hard and sometimes it’s not too bad. At times, you are incredibly sad and angry and other times you’re happy and grateful. There are lots of different emotions you feel. But, it does get easier and everything will be fine at the end of the road!
Spend as much time as possible together as a family and definitely speak to your parents about everything, especially how you feel. Be happy, joyful and full of life. Don’t let cancer change how you feel or change the real person you are.
When someone says something about cancer, it will remind you when your sibling had cancer or first started his/her journey. You might feel upset, a bit nauseous and all the memories will come rushing back. Just stop and think to yourself how far you have come and how your sibling has gotten so much stronger, braver, fearless and courageous.
Faith over fear
One of the best sayings is “Faith over fear.” You must have faith that God is in control and everything is in His hands. Don’t fear cancer. I know it’s hard but without faith, it’s harder.
Some days you might not want to go to the hospital and that’s okay. You don’t have to go all the time. But, you must go at least three to four days a week because your sibling wants you there and misses you a lot.
I didn’t want to go some days because it made me sad. But, it’s not just hard on you. It’s extremely hard on the sibling that must stay in a boring room, can’t play outside or come home. So, be there for them because if you’re in a bad place in your life they will always be there for you.