No question is asked more often – by you, your parents and everyone who loves you. There’s no real answer but that doesn’t stop us from asking it—over and over again.
“Why me?” “What did I do wrong?” That question can sometimes be answered for adults. Just about everyone agrees that smoking, as an example, is related to lung cancer. That doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get lung cancer if you smoke or that you’ll never get it, if you don’t. But we do know that you increase the probability of getting lung cancer if you do smoke. What about teenage cancers? The good—and bad— news is that no specific behaviors we know of cause cancer in teens. The good news, then, is you didn’t do anything to cause your cancer. The bad news is we don’t know why you, in particular, got it.
Why my beautiful, talented daughter? Or my handsome, gifted son?
“What could I have done to prevent this?” Your parents ask the “why” question, too. They ask because you’re the apple of their eye, their spitting image, their hope for a better future. They have always wanted you to live life to the fullest. They wonder if they were responsible in some way for your getting cancer. Even though many researchers have looked for a genetic link, almost no childhood cancers are inherited. Your parents have probably asked themselves over and over: “Is there something we did or didn’t do?” Again, unlike adult cancers, we feel confident telling them that there is nothing they could have done to prevent your disease.
Why my best friend?
“Why that really nice girl in the 8th grade? Why that cute guy in American history?” Friends, classmates, or kids in town may know about your cancer and wonder why such an illness had to happen to you. They usually don’t wonder if they did something to cause it but they may be asking,
“Why didn’t it happen to me?” “If it happened to my friend, could it happen to me?” Mostly, they wonder what they can do to help you feel better. Nobody knows why. Nobody knows why you got cancer. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, people who don’t deserve such a disease, people who are kind to others, people who do all the right things.
People like you.
Why Me?You’ve probably heard others say these same things. What are you—or anyone in your situation— supposed to do with these kinds of answers?
If you’ve come up with your own answers to the Why question, let us know. Maybe they’re better than ours. Everyone would like to read what you have to say.