Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Well, we've all had a couple of days for the news to sink in. What I really wish is that I was in town and could meet up with Mom and M for lunch or something...I just need to be around them both. I need to know what they need, and how I can be there for them both. Especially M. I can't fathom what she's going through right now, and while we may all have an idea what she's going through, I'd be willing to bet we don't know the half of it.

But here is what I do know. I've known my sister for all of her 37 years, and there is no tougher, more strong-willed woman on the planet. If anyone can beat this, it's her, and I feel in my heart that she's going to kick BC's ass. I only wish our houses were a little closer so I could be there quickly.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Unexpected, to be sure. My family and I are spending our annual post-Christmas, 4-day vaction in Flagstaff, Arizona, enjoying some cooler temps and a little snow. As we sat with grandparents and hubby's brother's family watching Despicable Me, I heard the text message bell on my phone. I picked it up, and there was a short text from my younger sister that read, "When r u coming home?"

I immediately knew something wasn't quite right. My sister and I are very close; but not co-dependent close, if you know what I mean. We are both extremeley independent. When we talk on the phone, it will likely be for upwards of an hour as we catch up and talk about our kids; but we aren't the type to check in with each other regarding each little thing that happens in our lives. I knew she knew I was out of town, and that she wouldn't be wondering when I'd be home unless something was amiss. Most things could, and would normally, wait.

So my text back asked, naturally, if everything was okay. She texted back asking if I could call her at home - and then I officially started to worry.

I slipped down to our room and dialed her home number. She answered immediately. My mind was racing - is mom okay? Did someone have an accident? She answered no, no, it's me...and then she began to weep a little, and told me. She has breast cancer.

Complete and utter shock. I started to shake, and cry. How on earth could this have happened? Didn't she just get her mammogram, and get a clean bill of health? My sister is the perfect model of a healthy lifestyle - from food choices to regular workouts. How on earth does this happen to her?

Clearly it's not the case, but at that moment, you feel like you're the only family in the world going through it. I thought about her, first and foremost; having to hear and absorb the news from her doctor, the shock, the uncertainty; the concern for her future and her babies. Every time I think about the journey taken by people I know - a friend whose child has bone cancer, to another whose sister also just faced a battle with breast cancer - I always immediately put myself in their shoes, and without question, the most difficult thing to wrap your arms around is how it's going to affect your babies.

Next I think about my mother. She just retired, thank god, and can be there for my sister in any way that she needs her - doctor's appointments, watching her kids, cleaning the house, whatever she needs. But...the devastation of hearing that one of your children has cancer...good god. She needs to be strong for M - and I need to be strong to support Mom.

Right now all we can do is wait - wait for an MRI, and for a genetic test, to see exactly what she's facing and what the treatment plan will be. Even just a week - it's excruciating. I'm thinking about how I can help her, and how I can help Mom. I am here with my husband's family, so of course they are worried about me - I just want to say, stop it! I am absolutely fine!! I am not the one who is sick and needs your prayers. But I appreciate their concern.

So what can I do. I know I have to write. It feels selfish in a way - after all I'm not the one about to face a hell of a battle, it's her. I figure if I write down everything I need to write down, I'll figure out what to do with it later, if anything. Anytime I have a life situation, this is how I deal with it; so I shouldn't expect this to be any different. I'm struggling because I'm thinking, is this my story to tell, or not? But if one day reading it is therapeutic for me, or M, or Mom - well then there you go.


Last night, after talking to M and hearing the news, and doing all in my power to come to terms with it, hubby and I were laying in bed watching DIY network. As we watched an ad for a show about natural disasters, a dream that I'd had the night before - Sunday night, the night following the day M got her news, but the day before she told me - came crashing back to me.

I dreamed that my children and I were in our house, and that it caught on fire. I of course went into survival mode, starting to track down my children and get them out as quickly as possible. However, the fire didn't spread - it stayed in one place, one area, and even though a little smoke permeated the house, I was able to get all my children and valuables out safely without the flames moving to any other area of the house. The fire trucks arrived, and then I woke up.