BiographyFebruary 25, 2015 the day that my oldest and last living sister was diagnosed with (IBC) Inflammatory Breast Cancer seems to be the last time I was here. I said then that I would be blogging about her journey. I guess I have not done a good job. What I can say, almost a year later is that "God is good} now. My last sister is still with me. She looks different, lives different and is clearly not as energetic as she used to be. But, neither am I. As a precaution, and due to our family's history of various aggressive cancers my sister opted to have both breasts removed. On one side all lymph nodes were removed. She has problems with fluid building up and swelling that arm down to her fingers. Fortunately, a home therapist taught her a series of arm exercises that have helped reduce fluid build up. After several months of chemo and radiation of some kind she seems to be doing well, About (6) months ago the returned to work as a teacher. She works with special needs kids. A few months ago she injured the arm with lymph node issues following an incident where she attempted to keep a student from darting in the streets. Due to intense pain in her arm she had to take off a few days and her doctor advised that she could not engage in work that exposed her to physical altercations or harm from the same. She has since been transferred to a different classroom setting that seems to be more friendly to her medical condition.
That is the good news.
The flip side of the good side of this post is not so good. A few months ago, my first cousin who is my age was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She's about 60 years-old and I will be 60 years-old on February 11. My cousin thought she was pretty healthy until one night she noticed that her urine was unusually dark. I think she said she was having abdominal pains as well. She said she went to the emergency room and was admitted on the spot. The following days involved as series of tests which led to a diagnosis of the unthinkable..."Pancreatic cancer." Fast-forwading, my cousing was ushered through surgery (removal of part of her stomach she said). She had chemo and started a regiment of cancer medication. A week or so after surgery doctors gave her the best news in the world. He said they got all of the cancer. She was so excited when she called me. That was about (2) months ago. About two weeks after that event, and after a routine check-up and tests following her surgery she received a call from the doctors office summoning her back to his office, and assurance that an appointment would not be necessary but she should come in as soon as she could. Cousin went in the next day or so, only to be told that the cancer had returned? Well, she was devastated, confused and livid. First, she could not understand how the cancer "wink wink" returned in a few weeks? Second, she began to think that doctors never got it all, and even worse, may have performed an unnecessary surgery. If that wasn't bad enough, her doctor told her she only had (8) months to live. My stomach knotted up listening to her tell the story. She was so distraught and me, usually I'm good at finding comforting words but this one silenced me for a minute. Finally, I thought to say "maybe you should get a second opinion." She said she was thinking about doing that but wanted to talk to my sister, her cousin too before making any more decisions. All of that came to pass but nothing changed about her prognosis. Since then she has been reluctant to answer my calls but texts me several times a week as I do he with an inspirational message. The killer, "she texted me a few pictures of her on a cruise with her sister, and I would not have recognized her on the street." My heart was happy that she was enjoying herself, if she was, but she was not the beautiful healthy looking cousin that I have known for 60 years. There are three of them like the three of us, my sister and I. Come to think of it, "my cousin's oldest sister died from cancer as well about five years ago." I think she had beast cancer. My cousin recalled how awful it was watching her suffer through chemo only to pass away within a year weighing less than 100 lbs.
I have learned to respect people's space in their heads when it comes to how they need to handle being a cancer survivor. So, I have not confronted her about not answering my phone calls. What I have done is be diligent about responding to every text message that she sends me, and about sending her an inspirational text message every time I send them out. I refuse to pretend that I know what she's going through because in my mind and heart I know that unless one has experienced cancer's wrath, there is no way to know how it affects one's mind body and spirit.
Now, on to the next issue.
Over the last couple of years God has been preparing me to minister in unconventional ways. When my younger sister passed away a couple of years ago I started a cell phone ministry. We had (18) people on the list. Today I have (75). I still have my faith-based blog of (8) years and I am an ordained minister. I have also started college and am pursuing a degree in ministry or theology. I want to do more than say to people in pain "I'll pray for you." I have decided to minister to anybody here who needs a Word, encouragement, prayer, inspiration, or a sounding board. In addition, I will begin to post inspirational posts several times a week and invite you to use the comment section as a (Prayer Request or Inspirational Uplift Request forum) in addition to adding general comments of any kind.
May God bless all of you whatever your situation may be.