Posts Tagged ‘Cancer’

Cancer Is Cruel

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

When my sister Linda discovered a large mass in one of her breasts last summer, we all hoped for the best. Indeed, the news was first bad. ìYes, she has cancer.î And then good. ìThe cancer is contained in the one breast.î Then bad again. ìChemotherapy for a year. Surgery in about three months.î

As Linda began the chemo treatments she told everyone that she was in denial. This was not happening to her. She was just going through the motions to please the doctors and her family. She has vacillated between denial and depression since then. Her body has protested. It does not like whatever is being pumped into her. She has had constant problems with eating, with digestion, with lack of energy, with depression.

The time came to talk to the surgeon. Last Friday. I was there. Once again, the news was good and bad. The good, ìThe size of the lump has decreased significantly.î The bad. ìThe breast needs to be completely removed.î Linda asked, ìWhat about my other breast?î The doctor replied, ìWe recommend that you have it removed also. True, there is nothing wrong with that breast at the present time, but the odds of developing cancer there are high. Do you want to start this whole process over again?î The good news. ìYou will have a better sense of balance and you will not need radiology treatments.î

Linda moved from the stage of denial into the stage of anger. ìYou told me that if I had chemo for 18 weeks that the lump would be small enough to remove and leave the rest of my breast.î The doctor shook his head a bit, but did not reply. He allowed her to vent more anger ñ anger against him, anger about losing parts of her body, anger against her oncologist, anger against her family, anger about having cancer.

The surgery is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. next Monday. I will be there. Her family will be there. We will come through this together.

Cancer Catches Us Unaware

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Iím looking out my windows at the gorgeous orange hues reflecting off the mountains as the sun rises and another day dawns. My scattered thoughts come together into one huge unanswerable question. ìHow can this be?î The title of a YA book I read years ago keeps appearing in my mind. Life. Is. Not. Fair.

My sister-in-law, Claudia, Dennisís wife, has been diagnosed with Stage III Ovarian Cancer. She is undergoing biopsy surgery now ñ as I am writing this. The ìgood newsî will be if the cancer is contained in the ovaries and can be surgically removed. This would, of course, be followed with months of chemo and radiation. The ìbad newsî would be that it is Stage IV meaning it has spread to vital organs inside her body. In that case, there would be no surgery and they would try to keep her comfortable and out of pain for the next couple of months.

Claudia recently celebrated her 55th birthday and retired after serving over twenty years as a middle school librarian in Jefferson County School District. She has been looking forward to a much deserved rest ñ but in the meantime, she has continued to care for her mother who has had breast cancer for more than ten years. Claudia has been there for several bouts of chemo and radiation with Alice who is now in hospice care in her own home. Claudia and Dennis and Denae are the primary care providers.

Why are memories rushing in? The most significant is my trip to Disney World with Claudia and Erica to visit Denae who was working there as a ìcast memberî. Claudia is an organizer. She arranged for our hotel rooms, our meals, our entertainment. I just went along and enjoyed. I did introduce the girls to valet parking when we went out to high tea, however.

Several years ago Linda and I traveled to Durango for Ericaís graduation from massage therapy school. Once again, Claudia had taken care of all the arrangements for our stay and the celebration.

There are many other memories ñ meeting Claudia at the Thompson Valley High School field to watch her son Jonathan in band competitions, stories told with Claudiaís dry sense of humor, family get togethers Ö.

Please join me in prayers for this family ñ Claudia, Dennis, Denae, Erica, and Jonathan.