"H i, Avi,” I say. “So, what’s been going on?”

“Well, it’s pretty great to be back to regular life,” he says. “But I’m having some trouble with my stamina these days. It’s not what it used to be before I got sick, and now I get out of breath really quickly.”

For someone who loves to play sports as much as Avi does, that must be hard.

“It is,” Avi agrees. “And I’m really feeling it now that I’m back in school and trying to keep up with everyone. I’ve been exercising and going on the treadmill to build my strength back up.”

“Good luck!” I say.

“Thanks!”

“So,” I ask. “What do you want to share with your readers this time?”

“There’s actually something really important I want to talk about,” Avi says. “And I jotted down some of my thoughts.”

Presents Galore

“Sick kids get a lot of presents,” Avi says. “They also have entertainers and famous people visit them and lots of other exciting things arranged for them.”

For example, Avi shares that when he was sick he got to meet many singers and famous sports players. I’m sure you also remember the soda machine his uncles installed in his house! And there were lots of other presents and surprises sent his way.

“So people see us getting all of these great things,” Avi continues. “And lots of them think that all of that is done to make us happy. The truth is, though, that all of that fun and excitement is really meant to distract us from our fear, pain, and boredom.”

“Kids who are sick are out of school for long periods of time and that equals immediate boredom,” he says. “I also got admitted to the hospital a lot and there’s not much going on there to keep a kid busy. I needed distractions to keep myself from going crazy. You probably remember that in a previous article I spoke about getting through the long, cold winter by thinking about the activities I was going to do in the summer. All of the gifts and awesome people I got to meet obviously made me happy, but a big part of what they accomplished was distracting me from thinking about what I was going through and feeling all of my pain.”

As Avi talks, I think of another point. “Did you ever have a situation in which you felt that people were jealous of all the great presents and experiences you were getting?” I ask.

“Oh, a hundred percent,” Avi says. “But, mostly little kids who really had no clue what a kid who has cancer is going through. They see what I get and think it’s not fair, but if they’d know the rest of my story they wouldn’t be jealous at all!

“It was also a little hard for my siblings,” he adds. “So I used to bring home prizes from the hospital to give to my little sisters. It made them feel special. Even though they saw what I was going through, it was hard for them not to feel jealous, especially when my mother wasn’t so available for them because she spent so much time with me.” (Originally featured in Issue 654)