Traveling Ahead of My Sister and Her Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Many of you are writing asking updates about my sister, Diann, who was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer – ER+ PR+ Her2Neg.  Diann just had a Lumpectomy with Lymph Node Dissection – margins cleared, awaiting final pathology report about how many positive nodes.  Diann will begin chemotherapy the first week of June.  It has been a rough month for Diann and those of us who love her.  She was scanned, scanned and scanned again.  Because of scans, she had to go to a kidney specialist in between all the breast stuff.  But fortunately that was “watch and wait.”

Observing someone you love cope with cancer, makes you realize what they are made of and how they handle extremely stressful situations.  Diann has amazed me with her fortitude, courage, and hope.  Raising three kids as a divorced mom, she has reservoirs of strength that amaze me.

Many women absolutely hate the word “journey” related to a breast cancer diagnosis as often they would like to save that word for more pleasant times, like a vacation.  I’m one that happens to think the word “journey” is very appropriate. Breast Cancer takes you places you never thought you would be, there are many valleys and some mountaintops, and the road is very, very long.  Sometimes it is a straight road, but other times it is winding and you cannot see around the next corner.

So in pondering “journey”, this same imagery keeps going through my head.  I feel like this is a modern-day version of two sisters going west in a Conestoga Wagon at different times and in between our mother made the trip, too.  Necessity forced me to blaze a trail west into unknown territory.  Our mom had a relatively easy trip.  But now it is Diann’s turn to head west.  ConestogaWagonThe modern-day version comes into play because in our western journey, we have cell phones.  I am able to warn her of trails to avoid and trails to take, but it is still her trip west and her wagon is equipped differently than mine.  And Diann is in charge of her wagon. She will end up on different roads than I took, some by choice and some by happenstance, and all I can do is offer advice when asked and keep quiet when not asked.  And let me tell you, that is no easy task for me!

For example, her daughter, Danelle and I are in recovery with Diann post surgery, and the nurse is going over post surgery information.  It seemed like she was reading a novel, and it was taking forever.  We were mentally and physically exhausted, and our blood sugars were running low.  The nurse told Diann that her arm may be numb because of the cutting of the nerves from the lymph node removal, but it will get better.  Rather than just shutting up, I blurt out, “Heck no it won’t get better.  My arm is still numb three years later.”   I could have chosen better timing for that truthful remark.

And so we all learn as this new journey begins…

_______________________________

In honor of a new journey, http://www.hellocourage.com has a new logo:

LogoHelloCourage2015

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3 thoughts on “Traveling Ahead of My Sister and Her Breast Cancer Diagnosis

  1. Well put, my friend. I appreciated your analogy. Diann is truly blessed with you as her support, sister and friend. Continued prayers for all. PS LOVE new logo!

  2. I just want to chime in on the numbness….no way is the numbness just going to go away. What the heck?! I do not think people are adequately prepared for these post operative effects, just like lymph edema just creeping up on people. I am a nurse, and I didn’t know these things, nor was I told, even thought they all knew my profession. I googled everything. Everything. But , as a nurse, I had an inkling of an idea, I was not going into this completely blind. I cannot imagine people who are councilled so minimally, who are relying on minimal teaching, and are sooooo overwhelmed they can’t focus on the post operative…. Let alone the upcoming chemo and radiation.
    Can I just relate the benefit of turmeric root? A good Google project. It has helped my liver tests to decrease during chemo, and would love to share with anyone interested.😊

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