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Cancer schmancer

Tough times never last, but tough people do.  – Robert H Schuller

Today’s post is in honor of my little sister. She found out recently that she has breast cancer. It is in the early stages, so optimism is there, but so is fear. It is hard to know the right thing to say to her, so I pour my thoughts out here on this blog. Maybe I’ll show it to her, maybe not. Is a blog a cheap form of therapy? Perhaps.

My sister is 40. She had her first (and probably only) child 18 months ago. She had her first mammogram this year. That led to a second mammogram, and then a biopsy. Today she is having an MRI to check to see if there are any other areas of concern in her body. Her husband is there by her side; he’s a good man. I am at work, but my heart and mind is with her. I am praying for her to feel calm and peaceful during this MRI. I am claustrophobic, so the thought of being in an MRI chamber for an extended period of time is truly  frightening. I know she is braver than I am.

At some point today she will find out if there are any other areas that need to be checked. Then on Wednesday she meets with her team of caregivers who will lay out a plan for her treatment. The minimum at this point: a lumpectomy and at least 7 weeks of radiation. It seems odd to be rooting for a lumpectomy and radiation, but the truth is that is the best case scenario at this point.

People say you should count your blessings, and I do. The doctors found it early….thank God for mammograms. (Public service announcement: Schedule one for yourself if you’re a woman who hasn’t done so in a while. Don’t listen to the doctors who tell you it’s OK to wait 2 years in between. Do it EVERY year.) My sister has a loving family. Our parents live close by and are semi-retired, so they can be a big help whenever she needs them to be. She has good insurance. She is feisty, so I know she will fight like crazy to regain her health.

Yet I know she must be afraid. So I will do my best to control my emotions (my sister hates it when people get maudlin). I will tell her I love her, just like I always do, and tell her I’m here if she needs me. I will make boob jokes with her, listen to her swear and complain without judging, and make her favorite foods for her whenever I get the chance. It’s the little things that really matter sometimes.