What I won’t be doing this weekend

is watching the new movie, My Sister’s Keeper.  I read the book and I can’t tell you how much I hated it.  It dramatized and exaggerated the decisions and emotions that childhood cancer families go through.  The movie reviews I have read say that people are taken into the real, ugly, world of childhood cancer.   I highly doubt that.  There is a scene in the previews (which I have been captive in a theater and seen) where the father is taking the girl to the beach or something and her mother thinks it is unsafe and yells that he is going to kill her.  This all in front of the two children waiting in the car.

Are you kidding me???  I can only assume her ANC (immunity) was low and so she should be kept out of public places.  Father decided to take her to the beach.  Mother disagrees.  So they scream at each other about killing her in front of the child?  I personally have met many cancer kid families and I cannot imagine this taking place.

I guess I was lucky that Luke and I were on the same page about most of these things.  We took Nathan places when his immunity was low.  We weighed the risks with the rewards and waulity of life and made the decisions.  We did this as two loving parents in a rational discussion.  If we had disagreed we would have deferred to the one afraid of the risk.

Anyway – the crux of this movie is about using one child as a donor to the other and I just don’t feel that anyone who has not made the decision themself should have the right to initiate a discussion and manipulate the general public’s feelings about it.  What could be worse than weighing the life of two of your children and making decisions about it.  How dare anyone assuem they know what would be right and wrong if they were in the situation.

The decisions made just about childhood cancer are hard enough.  One would think that your child gets diagnosed and then the doctors tell you what the plan is and you follow the plan and then your child is cured.  Luke and I could not get over the sheer number of life and death decisions we had to make for Nathan from a time not far into his treatment.   We felt so ill-equipped to make such decisions yet there they were, plopped at our feet, as his parents we were the only one who could make the decisions.  It is very, very stressful.  I won’t even get into the types of decisions you make when your child is dying.  If anyone, who hasn’t been there themselves, ever makes a movie about that I may just have to hunt them down.

I am glad childhood cancer will get exposure this weekend, that I can say, but I cringe for the misconceptions that will be spread about life with a cancer kid and what it is to be a parent of one.

Oh well.

5 responses to “What I won’t be doing this weekend

  1. I thought the crux of the book was that the child had been created for the specific purpose of being a donor to her sister? Interesting fodder in a way, with all the genetic/embryological advances made. At any rate, I agree it was over dramatized. I hated the ending and her latest book, "Handle with care" was even worse and a direct ripoff. I heard they changed the movies ending.Anyways, I also wanted to say I always admired the way you looked out for Nathan's spiritual/emotional health as well as his physical needs. You were so protective in that regard, so proactive for him. As his mother, you knew what he needed and didn't allow the physical to always trump the emotional. I remember when you were so proactive in making sure Nathan was home for Christmas in '06. I remember praying it would happen, wanting it so bad to happen. And because of you/Luke it did. It made my Christmas to read that post that your family was home, together. And the following months, while never enough, I know were a gift to you. Straight up until the end you allowed him to be an ordinary little boy, doing things kids his age loved, keeping it routine as you could. It must have been so hard, and I have such enormous respect for you as a mother. I always thought Nathan had that look of a child that knew he was well loved, comfortable with the person he is. He touched my life, and I hope that doesn't sound trite. While I agree it would be yucky to make a hallmark movie out of such a courageous battle (justice could never be done to it in that way), I am glad you, as his mother, chose to share his story, share your Nathan with those of us lucky to have got to "know" him. I will never forget Nathan and think of him so, so often. His life had so much meaning, as cruelly short as it was cut. Rita

  2. I just watched the trailer on NYTimes.com and was underwhelmed. I don't think any movie could really do service to such a topic and not end up oversimplified and shallow.

  3. Ugh. That does not sound the least bit appealing, and definitely offensive. I would really like to see a movie made that was more true to the experience–but what/whose experience would that be? It is so different for each family, as you so eloquently described. I am sorry that you and other cancer families are being abused by this insensitive overdramatization.

  4. NYT had an article on Jodi recently — seems the driving force for her work is a talisman for her own family. From those in the "know" it is so clear that she does not. I find her work very anti-mothers — she simply has no idea. Good for her I suppose but sure furthers mass (massive) ignorance.

  5. I read the book and don't think I'd be able to sit in the theatre and watch the movie either.

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