Post NB Treatment Behaviour Issues? Anyone?


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02-05-09 12:28 PM
Post NB Treatment Behaviour Issues? Anyone?

Hello everyone, anyone?

 My name is Karen.  On June 19, 2007 my then 7 year old Son had a soccer collision that resulted in us learning he had an orange sized NB tumour between his adrenal gland and kidney.  Since then we have undergone the whole gamut, bioposies. CT,  MIBG and PET scans, suguries, chemo, stem cell transplant and radiation and 6 months of accutane.  All this got us to where we are now: NED.

NED is the greatest gift, we are thrilled, we are joyous, we are releived.  WE live in it's wonder everyday. 

However, a year and a half later our now 9 year old son is having issues re-integrating at school. 

Until now we have been "deal with it ourselves" sort of parents.  But these issues are escallating at school, we are working with a cousellor at the school and an Oncology psycologist through Children's Hosp.   But we don't have any answers as to whether this behaviour is normal, to be expected or just our son behaving badly.  So far we've been trying to address and consequence the behaviour.  But I'm beginning to wonder if there is more going on inside his head than we know.  The behaviour we are having is: easily frustrated, no patience with classmates who need more time with work, getting mad at playmates for taking too long on playground equipment, always wanting to be first, lead the class.  Sometimes he wants to be left alone and if the group of kids keep pestering him to play / participate he'll lash out verbally. 

The parent of one classmate in particular is calling the school daily with updates of what our son has done to make her son's life difficult.  So the Princpal and VP are calling me.  WE are working on it, but now our son is under a microscope and getting really upset, feeling picked on.  I don't know.  I just don't know.  But we are an involved, loving family, we insist on better haviour at home from all of our children and don't have these dificulties elsewhere.

Has anyone had any similar post treatment experiences?  WE have been so busy being grateful that our son is here, now we are having issues.  I don't want to be one of those "not my kid" parents and I don't want to play the "cancer card" if this is just a kid who is misbehaving. 

What do we do?


02-09-09 07:49 PM
Re: Post NB Treatment Behaviour Issues? Anyone?

Ask him.

Ask him how he explains his behavior.

Not in a criticizing fashion but in a hey, I notice a change in you lately, what's going on? manner.

My first response was yes... we spoil our cancer kids, deservedly so.  They get used to being waited on hand and foot when they need it, and it's a hard adjustment to not being the center of everyone's world after active treatment. 

My next response was yes for another reason... because he may now be old enough to understand the gravity of his illness and with that comes fear & anxiety that often manifests itsself in misbehavior in children who can't yet adequately express themselves.

My third response as I read through what he's doing though indicates some is willfull impatience.  In that case, no.  He needs to be called on it.  Speak openly to him, tell him it's not okay to treat others that way.  Tell him about the calls, get his side then ask the principal to investigate the issues with the peers in his room.  If the peers back the complaining parent's version, then your son needs to step it up and own up to his actions.

I think you are doing the right things.  You're communicating with the school, taking advantage of school counseling and oncology counseling, and you're listening/communicating.  Keep up the good work, Mom.  He'll pull through with your support.

04-18-09 10:10 AM
Jill Zavaleta
Re: Post NB Treatment Behaviour Issues? Anyone?


I felt as if you were describing my child with this post.  We are 6yrs. post transplants and I wonder every day if my son's personality is a product of treatment.  He is easily frustrated with his classmates'  immaturities.  Sometimes I think he is a 20 year old in an 8yr. old body.  The problem we have is the outbursts of anger when things aren't to perfection.   We also don't tolerate bad behavior but I feel as if I am constantly calming him down and telling him to relax and that if he doesn't do something perfectly that it is okay.  We don't have issues with the school because they seem to accept his ability to lead and they let him.    I'm sure he annoys his teacher when he corrects everyone, rewrites his letters to perfection, races to finish his work, races everyone in everything and is an overachiever.  I have two other children and they have complete opposite personalities.  It's a struggle to deal with his frustrations  but with repetition and slowly explaining things over and over and speaking calmly, we are making progress.  I wonder if you could invite this mother with her updates to the cancer clinic and have her sit there all day with you?  :)    -Jill

07-02-12 06:28 PM
re: Post NB Treatment Behaviour Issues? Anyone?
My son is thankfully now 3.5 years NED, too, and I read your post with great interest, since I have been wondering a similar thing. My husband and I definitely try to educate and give the reward/discipline where appropriate to engender the expected behavior, but I still find myself questioning whether i can ethically expect certain behaviors if I do not know for certain it is within his control to do differently. Our child is sweet natured, but quite high energy, and compounded by his otoxic-induced hearing loss, to be quite frank, can be a handful. We're grateful for our current challenges, but are suspicious of his ability to control his impulsivity and lack of attention/focus. He went to a play therapist (whose primary method is from a behavioral approach), who said that we needed to determine for ourselves - before addressing a given behavior - whether we feel what he is doing is an "I won't" behavior (you can usually feel the emotional tug within yourself for this one), or an "I can't" behavior. Anyone had any leads as to how to deal with this and experiencing something similiar? I'm reluctant to put him on ritalin or something like that after all that he's been exposed to, but sometimes I think it may be unfair of me to expect him not to misbehave without some kind of pharmaceutical help!