Today, I’m in a battle with myself because I’m trying to shake off the past. You see in August 2014, I was asked to accompany my oldest sister to the Doctors office. He gave us the news, she has lung cancer. It was news that I’ve heard before. The first time I sat and heard those words was with my mother. The doctor gave us the news she had breast cancer in 2005. The second time I sat and heard these words was in 2008, when my dad was given the news it’s colon cancer. All situations were in the same stages; stage IV. I cared for both of my parents from A-Z as best I could, while trying to hold down a job of 20+ years. My mother died November 28, 2009 and dad 40 days after in January 8,2010. This impacted me in such away that I totally retired from work in July 1, 2010.
Now here I’m hearing these words again CANCER! My sister seemed a little distraught but not the way I expected after hearing such grave news. I said do you need a huge? She said “no”. I took her to lunch after the appointment and we talked about our faith in God as our source of healing. We agreed that she would tell her children and I will tell the rest of the family as I had done both previous times. She wanted to keep her diagnoses private so she only told people she trusted to keep in private. My sister is a musician and played for the churches in the community. She returned to Michigan in 2006 after 22 years of living in Texas. She had gotten settled again in Michigan.
By this time we gotten the news about her cancer, I’d gotten myself in a really good place. I’d lost 70 lbs. (over 2.5 years) I had a great health regimen of eating well and walking 45 minutes per day and staying hydrated. I had even gone back to work part-time as a tutor for a third grade reading class in our school district. Then, my sister asked if she could list me as the next of kin on her hospital paper work. I told her that I could not be the primary caregiver because of my own health issues. I told her at some point she would need to involve her three adult children(who lived in California and Texas) to care for her as her illness progressed. My position feel upon death ears. She asked me to accompany her to doctors appointments which I did not mind. But I urged her to make other arrangements for any other appointments because I could not care for her as I had for my mom and dad. The primary reason was because I had my on health issues. If you’ve heard of PMR then I need not say more. But those that don’t know what the initials means, it’s poly myalgia rheumatic. It’s an auto-immune disease that is triggered by stress. So, here I am trying to be “my own best friend”; by not taking on too much stress, right? I am with my sister that certainly needed my help and was clearly ambivalent about asking her children to come and help. Did I mention that I live with my daughter and I’m “granny-nanny” also for my two gorgeous grandkids! Well with my health regimen of eating properly and exercise and my part-time job (12:00-4:00 daily) and being granny-nanny in the evenings my plate was very full; but my sister insisted on me being a major player in her situation. I am a compassionate person, she is my sister, she needed me. Although I tried to maintain my lifestyle, it became too difficult as her illness progressed. Her children insisst that she should move to where they were. I could not understand them being so self-centers when she needed their help. After about 1 years an a half of treatment. She had a major seizure. I was called from work to meet her in the ER. I had met her in the ER many times in the course of this journey, but this time I experienced her having a grand mal seizure. It was devastating! I was mortified! I let out a scream that I wondered myself where it had come from. The doctors rushed into the room to assist. After testing doctors came back with the news … her cancer had spread to her brain. The doctors altered the treatment plan to include radiation for the cancer in her brain. Then her doctor put her on anti-seizure medication and proceeded to make an appointment for her next step; radiation in her brain. I pled with her to wait and talk it over with her children. I even cancelled the first appointment to give her children a chance to come and have a consultation with her doctors. By this time I’m frazzled as I have had several bouts every other week from the PMR because of my stress load. I then made a personal plea to her children to please come and help their mother. To add to my situation, my younger sister began having health issues also and she asked if I could accompany her to appointments. Did I mention that my job was social worker? Oh, well yes! I had to deny her because I did not have the capacity to take on another person.
Let me cut to the end of my story. My sister lost her battle within cancer 90 days after the radiation treatment on her brain. Her children finally came to Michigan one by one as she slipped deeper and deeper into a coma. They where not able to speak or communicate with their mother by the time they arrived. They said they did not know she was so sick. When the oldest daughter got there she legally became the next of kin. She proceeded to fire the doctor over her case and demand more treatments for her mom. We realize this was her reality but it was too late. The other two children came into Michigan but they were met with the same reality. From keeping their mom on life support for almost a week to her funeral service, they never consulted me on anything else. Well, this was just the beginning of my worries. My sister died May 2, 2016. I’ve been trying to pull myself back together. I know I have to grieve but it seems that I can’t see past the thing called death. What going on! Now I’m a women of faith. I believe everything the Bible says. I don’t believe God is too fragile to ask questions. So I’ve been asking him – it seem so inhumane to watch loved ones die. Then there is the reality that we all will face the same fate. I believe that those that die are truly in a better place. I believe that I am saved from eternal death because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I believe to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. How can I shake off all of these emotions I’m having about life. When I never know when my number will be pulled.
I have come to the conclusion that I have to keep it moving. I must push passed this time in my life. I have two beautiful grandkids, 15 and 7 years old. (Boys) I have three wonderful, productive, adult children and their wive and Fiancee’. I have good health nothing major going on health wise. I’m having bouts with hives (big large welts on my body). They come without warning or cause. I have been to the allergist and dermatology. They treat symptoms but I wanted to know the cause. After much research I’ve concluded this is also stress related.
Have you ever faced a crisis whereby you just have to shake it off and keep it moving. I’m not trying to figure out anything else. I’m grateful for each day I have and I must make the best of it! I have my faith in God. I can’t say my life is stress free but it is manageable. Thank God for His mercy and grace. Stay tuned for ways I am building my life back to a well balance a fruitful life.
Thanks for listening!!!