The time had come where the tables were turned. I headed to my sister’s house as her surgery was nearing. My sister was a breath of fresh air when I went through my mastectomy surgery and was there during the first week of recovery. We both knew I would be there just as much for her if the time ever came. Unfortunately, it came sooner than we thought.
My sister was diagnosed with pre-cancer, however, we have learned that cancer could surprise you after all the initial diagnosis. It can pop up undetected – as my sister put it, “They are ticking time bombs.” The stage could change quickly. We come from a family that has multiple occurrences of breast cancer, we were not going to take the chances our mother and grandmother took years ago.
My sister had her spirits up and tried to stay on the positive side of life. We’ve lived through so much cancer that staying positive and upbeat is one of the best ways to be. No matter how fresh my mastectomy surgery was in my mind, it was just as fresh in hers. Staying positive became a necessity, a way of life.
I arranged to take a week and a half off from work. Guilt ridiculed me for a second time in just over a year. I was taking yet another absence due to cancer. An absence, which though necessary, was extensive for my surgery, and could easily hinder the students I taught. This would hopefully be my last long break from my students for many years to come. Not only were my students affected, but so was my family. Both my husband and daughter had to live through another one of my absences as well. This time, it was not because of my cancer, but my sister’s cancer.
It’s interesting how life changes the tables on you. One minute I’m dealing with my mastectomies, and the next minute I’m sitting in the waiting room while my sister has her mastectomies. One year I’m a patient, the next year I’m the caregiver. Neither of which are roles you want to take on. In the perfect world, cancer wouldn’t exist and the survivor/caregiver roles wouldn’t be needed. Alas, here I am 14 months after my patient role changing the tables to be the best caregiver I could be to the best caregiver I had my first week. I was ready for this role.
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