Angela’s Corner: Help from Afar

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2004 07 30_5459I was pretty devastated at my sister’s diagnosis.  I knew she was going to have a battle on her hands.  Finding out her sentinel node was inundated with cancer cells almost guaranteed there were more nodes involved.  A second surgery was definitely needed to remove more lymph nodes.

Once my sister had a cancer stage, I knew I wanted to help.  I knew I wouldn’t be as available as I could be because of work — and the winter weather did not always leave the best road conditions over the two passes I would have been traveling.  I spent much time trying to figure out how I could help her from afar.

Many phone calls to my sister were needed.  It was needed more for my own benefit than hers.  I found my sister’s diagnosis to be much harder to handle than my own.  Keeping positive was easy when I talked to her, but as soon as I would hang up, a few tears would always fall.  Why was it so hard?  I guess it was because her cancer was not caught in one of the earlier stages.  Because I knew that I could easily handle my own outcomes – I could control it; I couldn’t control anything with my sister.  Because no matter how positive I tried to remain, the worst case scenarios wanted to creep into my thoughts.

I knew worrying myself was not an ideal situation.  If I was going to be thinking about my sister and her situation, I was going to put it to good use.  I jumped on my computer during my free time and researched.  I found local programs, support groups, and exercises that would benefit her during her surgery recovery and chemotherapy treatments.  I acquired a list of Facebook pages she might be interested in following.  I found myself looking into just about everything.  I compiled my list of “stuff” and sent it to my sister via email.  I knew she’d look at the information, and then determine what she needed to know and utilize it on her own time.

Even to this day I have difficulty not tearing up when I think of my sister and what she has had to endure.  I often close my eyes, say a silent prayer, cry, wipe the tears, and exhale the breath I was holding.  I may have been the sibling that irritated her the most, and vice versa, but she always holds a special place in my heart.  And, I would do anything to help see her through her hurdles.

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Angela Banker
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