Sunday, August 18, 2013

Breast Cancer Strikes Too Close For Comfort

I haven’t written in a couple of weeks. It’s been a doozie of a month so far.

I took a quick trip to Tennessee to visit three of my favorite women: my daughter, sister and mom. Last month, my sister, Kim, was diagnosed with breast cancer. It came at her out of the blue. She had a mammogram last November which was clear. These cancer cells are aggressive enough to have spread to her lymph nodes and clavicle before she even knew anything was wrong.

Kim is an inspiration for strength and positivity. As soon as she was diagnosed, the doctors moved swiftly to get treatment started, and Kim had to quickly get things in order to be able to take a leave of absence from work. She’s such a trooper. Her attitude is that of taking one day and one thing at a time, doing what needs to be done, and putting the rest in God’s hands. And thank God for the awesome support system of family and friends she has around her.

The treatment strategy is to do four rounds of chemotherapy and then surgery. After surgery I believe they’ll assess next steps. Last week she began her second round of chemotherapy. So far the treatments haven’t made her extremely sick like we feared. She has, however, lost most of her hair, and I had the privilege of going with her to an appointment at a wig shop. Kim looked so natural and beautiful trying on the different styles. The week before I visited, my daughter Shelby (who lives in the same city in TN as Kim) went with Kim to a Look Good Feel Better appointment. They taught her makeup tips and gave her name-brand make up to take with her. That first day I saw her after I arrived in TN, she had her makeup on and was wearing a ball cap. She looked beautiful, full of life, and happy.

Now that someone very dear to me is fighting cancer, I’ve noticed the tremendous amount of support based organizations that pour love onto cancer patients. And the more I read and research (which is my tendency when faced with an unexpected difficult situation), the more I find people who unselfishly step up to provide assistance, knowledge, encouragement and love when needed most.

Diesel, Shelby's dog, playing with the toy I bought her.
The days I spent in TN were wonderfully full of girl-time. I was able to reconnect with the three most important women in my life. I’m sort of a nomad, introvert type of person and admittedly sometimes let my family relationships take a back seat to other things. I vow to be more intentional from now on to keep those relationships active and close.

Clothes from Mom's closet that I brought home. :)

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