Our family has been blessed. We all are so close, spend a lot of time together and do not take it for granted. We're so thankful for each other and I thank God daily for the special bond we share and the fortunate decades of good health, fond memories, lots of laughs and happy times.
me, brother, sister, mom Easter 2012
With my work history including working in health care and specifically at a cancer center, my mammograms have been routine. I do always get called back for more views and an ultrasound, but the reports come back negative and to follow up in a year.
So when my mom had her annual mammogram as a part of just getting all of her annual exams done before her retirement, when it showed something, we weren't worried. No family history. We were sure it was a cyst or fibroids or just benign lumpiness. When the biopsy results came back positive, we were pretty stunned. Mom had a lumpectomy, lymph node dissection and radiation. Thankfully it was caught early. We were scared but she got through the summer treatments and is doing well one year later. I am so grateful. She's an amazing woman and I'm so blessed God chose her as my mother.
I'm also blessed to have a sister 2 years younger than I am. We've always been close, best friends, confidants. She's gorgeous and fun. She has the outgoing qualities I admire. She's social with a lot of friends and an awesome sense of humor. She's caring, she's supportive. She's always been encouraging. She is strong.
My sister turned 40 last year. She was breast feeding her youngest son at the time but this spring, she had her first mammogram. Then got called back for more views and an ultrasound. I think we were all feeling a little disbelief. What are the chances? She's young. And although our family history had changed last year, I just thought...she'll be like me, the additional follow up will be negative. She'll be okay.
Unfortunately, she also is positive for breast cancer. Her treatment regimen is a lot different than mom's though. The doctor has recommended six cycles of chemo prior to a surgery and lymph node dissection. Hallelujah - her PET scan is negative so it's only the one breast tumor. But chemo? She's just starting a really hard battle. So far she's only had one treatment and she is suffering. It's been about a week. She can't eat. She has symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. She's tried nearly everything we can think of but can't get food to 'stick'. She has muscle aches, severe stomach cramping. She has a sore throat. The inside of her nose is raw. She also has had two previous back surgeries (and right before the mammogram was scheduled for another surgical consultation of her back due to increased pain).
She's my best friend. She's suffering, she's miserable and hurting. And there is nothing I can do to make it go away. I wish I could share her burden, relieve her pain, make it me instead of her.
I'm doing all I can. I will hold her hand through every step. I attend every appointment. I listen. We shopped for wigs. I pick up the little things that make life more comfortable. We laugh. We cry. The most important thing I do is praying. A lot more praying. Praying hard. Begging. Her sons (21, 19 and 3) need her. Mom needs her. I need her. And seeing my sister and best friend in so much pain is more than I can bare. As a believer in the power of prayer, I'm asking for you to please please pray for Bobbi too.
Have you experienced something similar? Any advice for staying strong?