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MinisterNeecy's Cancer Blog

Now What?

Here lately I've been feeling like I don't know what to do with myself, like I lost my best friend all over again. In fact, it has gotten so bad that I decided to take a break from school. I don't think that I gave myself enough time to properly grieve. For the last year and a half I've been taking accelerated classes in persuit of a degree in ministry. My sister was my go-to-person when I needed advice, to vent or help. Before she passed away on May 26th, she was two classes away from graduating with a Doctorial degree in english. We used to tease each other about being old college students. Of course she was way ahead of me. I am only a sophmore. 

My sister actually called me two times on the day that she called me about coming to Atlanta to be with her. When she called the first time she was telling me how God had spoken to her about making going to school an idol. She said He told her that she had become too "obsessed" with getting degrees. And, said there was no degree that she could get that would assure that she would make much more money than she was already making. My sister started talking about all the time she missed playing with her grand kids, doing thing things that didn't involve working and sitting in front of a computer. She finally said, "I quit school today." I was shocked! She also said, "I just can't do this anymore." I replied,"good!" It's time for you to chill, you've paid your dues. 

The thing is, I believe that my sister began to transition months before she passed. Perhaps I should have paid closer attention to her words. But, even if I had, what would that have changed? 

Well, I guess I'll try to get some sleep. 

 

Laurie, Nancy sent you a prayer.
Smurf, Katie sent you a hug.
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I am so sorry for the loss of your sister. She sounds like a beautiful person, inside and out. Now is the time for you to take care of yourself and make the journey through the grieving process. You seem like a very passionate and motivated person, and the ministry degree will still be there for you to finish once you take some time for self care. Best wishes and prayers are with you.
Your post is very insightful. The person who is dying goes through the same grieving process before death that we go through after they have passed. Our minds are very complex, even when we don't know what to feel, it tells us.

You have been such a loving and caring sister, please be good to yourself. God has called on you to be her helper and you have done a wonderful job.

Please stay in touch, your story is helpful to me and I'm sure many others. Hugs
I love you Minister Neecy... You know God is with us every step of the way and if it is time you need to heal then it is what you should do... You know God is your biggest supporter and will lead you where you need to be... that is for sure.. I will be keeping you in my prayers bug hugs and love and always prayers Sabina
Thank you Sabina. It is time for me to take time to heal, I recently realized that. So, I gave myself permission. I love you too, and thanks for the kind words.
May God bless you as you continue through the grieving process.
Thank you.
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Inflammatory Breast Cancer: The End

Well, I’ve been gone a while but after reading my post you’ll understand why.

Never take the importance of knowing for sure that somebody you love knows that you love them. Never, put off apologizing to somebody you have wronged, offended or treated badly out of anger or selfish pride. Pretend that today is the last chance you have to let those you know how much you love them. While this post is about sisters, it is not reserved for sisters. If the shoe fits wear it and apply what you have read accordingly.

The last few years have been almost too much to bear but then there's God the One who makes life all worthwhile. I am forever grateful to Him for bringing me out.

On May 26, 2017, my last sister passed away after fighting a two-year battle with IBC-Inflammatory breast cancer. Prior to her passing, my younger sister died suddenly following an unexpected massive heart attack. Our family had no idea that she was ill nor that she had heart problems. Her cause of death was "degenerative heart disease." She passed away on January 8, 2014. My heart is heavy but with God's help, I will press on, striving to do His will.

About two years ago my oldest sister was diagnosed with (IBC) Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I say about because I am still not sure that she told us the moment she found out. I think she waited. Fast forwarding: In early May 2017 she called me to tell me that her cancer had not only returned but had spread to numerous places in her body.

She also reminded me again that (IBC) is one of the most aggressive forms of cancer. Months before that though her team of doctors had told her she was cancer free following a double-mastectomy, ongoing chemo, and radiation. Imagine my surprise in the first week of May when she told me her cancer had spread to her brain, bone, liver, and tailbone? My first thought was, "how could it have spread if doctors claimed to have gotten it all?" Devastated but still hopeful I began to mentally prepare for visiting her in Atlanta within the next couple of weeks. However, within what seems like hours those plans changed. The next day my sister called again. She said, "I need you to come." My sister is a very independent person. She almost never asks for the help of any kind from others, so by then, I began to feel "some- kind- of- way." Plus, I could tell by the tone of her voice that I needed to get there like yesterday. I immediately made arrangements to get there in two days. She had been in the hospital for a few days by the time I got there but was released the same day I arrived.

The following days of her life had already been planned out by medical staff. They included almost two weeks of radiation treatments to her brain, eight consecutive treatments to be exact, with the possibility left open for more. Her doctor wanted to start them immediately. The good thing, " she was in good spirits."

My sister had not been eating much but thought she had? Three tumors had formed in her brain, one wrapped around an optical nerve. This one was of most concern because it could cause blindness if radiation could not subdue it, while steroids worked to shrink it.

my sister was ill and how her life had changed drastically due to (IBC) inflammatory breast cancer. After I arrived in Atlanta last month the two of us spent every weekday going to doctor appointments, radiation treatments, and the like. As far as we knew the radiation treatments were working. Her appetite had returned, she was in a cheerful mood, we were eating out, even shopping a little; talking a lot about our lives. We had been waiting for May 14th to come around, this was the day that her doctor would be meeting with us to go over my sister's progress reports, discuss the prognosis, and whether any changes in treatment need to be made.

Finally, that day came. It was not a good day but the information we received about the cancer was pretty much expected. Doc told us that it would be a few months before he could determine how successful the radiation treatments and steroids to shrink my sister's brain tumors had been. He asked my sister if she had been in pain, she said no. He said good but she said, "I'm still having trouble with my peripheral vision?" Doc said you are; I don't want you driving anymore." The reason he said that is because my sister was dozing off in his office while he was talking to her. She had been doing that on and off for at least two days. However, I assured the doc that my sister was not driving and would not be for any reason. I had him laughing about how she reaches for her car keys and puts them in her purse as soon as I park the car. He laughed.

When I told him how she gives me driving directions like a live GPS lady. I said, "actually it's like I'm driving Ms. Daisy." He laughed again. I was thinking about my sister's situation as I described the driving ordeal to her doctor. It became clear to me that she was holding on to whatever she had left. After all, she had to give up her home, her job and now her car. So, I could understand why it meant so much to her to hold on to her car keys for as long as she could. Not only did I not fuss with her when she gave me driving directions, "most of the time, LOL," I handed her the car keys with no resistance or comment.

After that conversation concluded Doc said to my sister, I want to talk to you about your prognosis. He asked my sister if she wanted me and one of her adult daughters to sit in, she said yes. Fast-forwarding, Doc said my sister was looking at about (6) months to live but he replied, " we are not God, that number could be more or less." As most would probably expect we were devastated but tried to stay strong for my sister who by the way took the news like a "child of God." In fact, she said 'I'm not believing that report, I am putting it all in God's hands." We all agreed, thanked Doc for his time and left out headed home only to prepare to come back the following day for more radiation. By this time my sister had adjusted to her new life and rigorous treatment schedule. at any rate, over the next few days I noticed that she was becoming weaker, experiencing marked shortness of breath, and for the first time one day, she asked me to park and get a wheelchair for her. Well, I had been trying to get her to let me get a wheelchair for her for more than a week by that time but she would not let me. This change of heart began to worry me. This change in how she navigated through the hospital took place around May 17th.

On the last day of radiation, which marked her 8th treatment I noticed that she was pale, weak and extra short with me. I talked to the nurse about my concerns. She suggested that I follow my instincts, meaning take my sister to the emergency room to be checked out. I decided to do that. She was admitted that evening. Over the next three days, doctors increased her oxygen level from 2 to 12. Another thing, she began to have abdominal pain, which she wrote off as gas from a piece of chicken she had eaten at least 24 hours earlier. Her vitals were going crazy, up and down all day and all night long. My nieces, her daughters and I took turns spending the night at the hospital. At least 4 times that week different doctors asked if my sister had shared her "last wishes" with us. I still did not get it.

Finally, I asked one doctor why they kept asking the same question? She apologized, said they had to do that to make sure that the patient's wishes are honored whenever possible. This time the doctor began having the conversation about "having done all that they could do for my sister." She said that my sister's breast cancer had spread so rapidly that there was nothing they could do to slow it down; it was in the liver, the brain, back and I forget where else. So, I'm thinking to myself, "what are you saying?" You just said two weeks ago that she had 6 months?" The doctor started asking about whether we had spoken with the hospice team? I told her, yes but we didn't discuss putting my sister in hospice. The doctor replied, "you may want to meet with the hospice team to have that discussion."

After talking to the doctor, when I went back in my sister's room I saw her in a different light. I realized that she had made peace with passing through to get to the other side. Having inflammatory breast cancer was no longer a threat. My sister had taken back her power refusing to become a slave to disease. For the last couple of days, she had to be helped onto a bedside commode, assisted when she was done, helped back into the hospital bed; worse, she had started to have severe pain, so much that she started asking for pain meds. This is another thing she had refused before that day. Something was happening to her. She appeared to have made decisions without consulting the family. Perhaps that was best. I'm sure she knew that the family would try and force her to take whatever the doctor wanted to give her if he said it would keep her with us longer. At any rate, on that day, May 25th, 2017 my sister took a turn for the worse. Within hours she was in hospital hospice. On the following day, May 26th, 2017, at 12:20 pm she passed away. She's Gone!

My sister passed away two weeks after she had been given 6 months to live. Her doctor did say that he was not God, was only going by medical data on patients with stage four inflammatory breast cancer, and was in the same age group as my sister. Doc said, "only God knows."
My sister had a relationship with the Lord, and I could see it all over her face when she told her doctor that she put her life in her God's hands." For that, I am so thankful. While we did not want to see her go, we did not want to see her suffer either.

RIP my sweet sister...loving you forever

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Laurie, Mystic1der sent you a prayer.
Admin, Mersea sent you a hug.
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Reading your post makes me want to cry. I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved sister. How difficult it must have been for you and the rest of the family to see her slip away so quickly. I am glad she was at peace with God's will and suffering no more. May God bless you as you deal with your loss. You were a good sister to her.
Thank you so much. I can't believe that I started this blog in 2010 a few years after my mom passed away from breast cancer, and dad 6 months after...and now my oldest sister. It's not easy but I must remember that somebody else is going through the same or worse. God bless!
Smurf likes this comment
Wow, what a powerful post. I am so very sorry to hear of your sister's passing. I am touched to the core. I hope you find some strength in the coming days. Hugs from me to you...
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Thank you so much. Hugs back...
Oh I am so sorry for your loss. That must of been so hard. You have had a rough couple years. I can glad you went out to take care of her in the end. Big long hug to you sweetie!!
MinisterNeecy likes this comment
Thank you. These last several years have been difficult but God kept me. Funny how I happened to be unemployed when my sister asked me to come. God does work in mysterious ways. Be blessed!
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I'm so sorry! Gd hug you real tight!
Thank you Mersea. Hugs back to you!
This is such a sad story, but I am sure having you there to help made all the difference in the world to her. You are a wonderful sister. And thanks to the lord that we have him to lean on in times like this. May she rest in peace.
Amen Deborah. My sister's name was or is Debra but spelled this way. If it was not for the Lord I don't know how I would have gotten through this. Thank you.
Billy Graham is one of my favorite ministers. I like an article he wrote about death. He said for those who go to heaven, it is like one minute you are on earth and the next you are in heaven with God and with the people you love and having a conversation like you didn't miss a beat. It is so good to know she is with the rest of your family and with God and what a celebration of eternal life. For us here we have work to do until that wonderful day when we will be with our Father and all our loved ones.. My prayers are with you . I was thinking back of my father who had started with prostate cancer but ended passing away from 3 tumors in his brain. I took care of him and went to all the radiation treatments with him. Looking back at it all I think it might have been better if he did not have the radiation. He went downhill fast. He stopped eating and drinking and then with hospice and pain meds passed away within a few weeks. I was worn out and so sad and felt empty. I had taken care of him as if he were my child.. It wasn't long after I came down with throat cancer and was going through the same treatment he had just a different place in the head.. I knew what was coming from having already been through it with him. After treatment, I actually died and the doctors brought me back. I don't remember it. God is good. I hope you continue to recover and have lots of happiness in your life. God bless you, MinisterNeecy.. hugs and love and always prayers, Sabina
Hi Sabina, Thanks for the inspirational, uplifting post. Nobody knows what it's like to be a care taker for the terminally ill, especially one related. You did that for your dad because you loved him. When my sister asked me to come, not coming never crossed my mind. In fact, I felt compelled to go. This sister, my oldest sister is only 10.5 months older than me. She cared for took my dad home with her to crossover while in hospice. My younger sister who passed away in 2014, took care of mom, who lived with her for 10+ years after receiving
her breast cancer diagnosis. When you see so much death it's not unusual to start thinking about 'who will take care of me if I become ill?" Although I am married to a wonderful man, the thought still crosses my mind.
you have been through it. I am so sorry to hear of your sisters passing and all the pain she endured.
I had lost my dad and my sister exactly six months apart in 2014 and 5 months later I was diagnosed. What a year it was.
Oh my Nancy, that was tough as well, losing your sister and dad 5 months apart. I know the saying "this too will pass," is painfully true, but it's still hard. I'm sorry for your loss. Your kind words are appreciated.
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Vital Info

Posts

July 26, 2010

Bloggerneecy

Chicago Heights, Illinois 60411

February 11, 1957

Loved One is a Cancer Survivor/Fighter

Cancer Info

Breast Cancer

IBC Inflammatory Breast Cancer

February 25, 2015

Stage 3C

Yes

Yes

There's No Cure!

That it's not a respector of persons.

Support, encourage, share & educate

Pray for strength in times of weakness.

Skin mets, lymph node involvement

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