cancer, faith, family, hope, sisters, Susan G Komen, Susan G Komen 3 Day, thoughts
If you’re here because of the Writer’s Process Blog Hop, THANK YOU FOR COMING! And I am working on that post and it will appear later this week – excuse my slowness. Until then, enjoy this post and please return to read all about my crazy writing process and find more fabulous people to stalk … er, sorry, discover!
Two years ago, on a spring break much like this one, I said good-bye to my hubs and kids as they traveled to the in-laws. Because I wasn’t going with them. I had somewhere very important to be.
My sister’s house, to sit with her while she went through chemo.
In Januaray of 2012, my sister (younger sister, she was 37 at the time) called to tell me that she had breast cancer.
I cried. A lot. We all did. My mom … our other sister (the baby, who has MS, but that’s another story), friends, family … we were devastated. And here I was a six hour drive away.
After the initial shock, the uncontrollable sobbing, we grabbed hold of our faith and put on our we-can-handle-this pants. Because nothing was going to take her from us.
Chemo started in February. All her friends lined up to take turns keeping her company as terrible poison was pumped through her body. And here I was … two states away, feeling useless.
So, I looked at the kids and said, “I know it’s a long drive for a weekend trip, but I think we need to go see Aunt Sharon!” They agreed. So we did. Being with her made all the difference. It was real.
But with the support of EVERYONE, she could beat it.
Chemo hit her hard.
I’ll never forget the text asking if she should shave her hair or wait for it to fall out. I told her to shave it. Don’t let the cancer have control. So she did and sent me a pic of her newly buzzed head … she was smiling through her tears.
I kept my phone handy, my new one that allowed easier texting. We texted all the time, my sisters, mom, and me. We played games during her long boring trips to the doctor. Guess what I’m looking at … What movie is this line from … we laughed across the miles. But I wasn’t THERE.
Until I looked at the calendar and realized that I could be.
On spring break, I went to her house and sat with her through her chemo session, where we watched movies and talked and laughed. I went out to get us lunch. We sat up that night doing whatever we wanted. Eating pizza and watching movies. I took her to her appointment the following day where she would get an injection … because after cramming your body full of yuck, they have to give you good stuff too. It was my job to distract her from the large needle. Which I did! Suddenly it was over and she didn’t even realize they had done it! Yea! Mission complete.
A friend of hers threw her a comfort party complete with booby-shaped cake and invited me! So I drove down again with presents and my old boxing gloves that we signed and decorated to inspire her to beat cancer.
Her chemo ended in May. The lump had shrunk. Her hair was gone. But spirits soared.
Next was the double mastectomy. Wow. Talk about scary. I paced the house that day, waiting for a text saying she was out, that she was well, that all had gone as planned.
Recovery was … well, a bitch.
My mom and dad stayed with her to help take care of her, her two girls, and the house as her hubs went off to work. We were in constant contact. I heard all the updates as they drained fluids and inspected stitches. I heard about how her two girls (8 and 4 at the time) were trying to adjust to the crazy life where they couldn’t hug their mom.
She did recover … so on to radiation, but first she had to do physical therapy. To do radiation, she had to be able to raise her arms above her head and after keeping her arms pinned to her side for so long after surgery, she couldn’t. I was there to take her to her first appointment. And physical therapy was seriously cool.
Radiation started in September, ending in October. She was burned, but all the scans looked good. She was pronounced cancer free.
That year my whole family … Mom, Dad, two sisters, their hubs and kids (a total of four girls) came to my house for Thanksgiving. And what a celebration! We held onto our faith that everything would be okay. We put our trust in doctors. And the magic of medical science saved my sister.
In November of 2013, in honor of my sister being cancer free for one whole year, my two sisters and I participated in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk in San Diego. Living in the mid-west, I questioned why there, when there are walks much closer … and was met by the question ‘Why not? You don’t want to go to California?’
We raised money, my brother-in-law booked us all flights with his flyer miles, we prepared, buying new walking shoes, pink everything, I tie-dyed us pink shirts with our team name – TaTa Sisterhood painted on them. We were So excited.
My first time in an airplane! I went to California to be with my sisters (the best sisters in the world!) to walk 60 miles in three days. We did it! We hurt. We were exhausted. We slept in little pink tents that I never want to see again. But it was an experience we will never forget, full of moments to be treasured.
And in the end, I get to keep my sister. What more could I want? These stories don’t always have happy endings, I know that. But no matter the outcome we must hold onto hope … have faith, trust in the magic, and never give up.
Two years ago, seems like yesterday.