November 19, 2009 was the day my life changed forever. This was the day that the word "cancer" became synonymous with the word "sister." As in, my then 16 year old sister Anna may have cancer.
I remember when it all started vividly; it was the night before all the craziness began. I was on my way to work and on the phone with my mom. One of the things she told me that stuck with me was that Anna had a doctor's appointment tomorrow to find out why she was having hip pain, and that she and my dad were going. This is unusual, so I was surprised and commented (ironically) "this is serious." I really didn't think it was; that's why I said that. Because my sister was an aches and pains kind of girl; something always hurt. So she was having hip pain? Tomorrow she'll get over it, I thought. But I've never forgotten my mom's answer "well, we're hoping it's not." What? I was confused; how could some little hip pain be something serious? It never, not even once occurred me to me that it could be so serious, so life threatening.
The next day is a blur; I was waiting to hear from my mom after the doctors appointment. I remember bits and pieces; I remember that she had a doctor's appointment and the next thing I knew she was in the hospital getting a biopsy. It was hard being so far away, I felt out of the loop and I wanted to be there. I remember my parents were trying not to worry me, so they told me it wasn't serious.
Later that day, I was sitting in my best friend's room checking my facebook when I saw that my aunt had posted on my sister's wall. "I love you," she wrote, "whatever this is you can do it. We'll get through it." "What is she talking about?" I thought. I went to my sister's profile and tons of people had written on her wall. "You can do this," they said. "You are so strong, I know you can fight." Fight? Fight what? At this point, I had no idea that cancer was even a possibility. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read my best friend what people were saying. I called my mom immediately. "Why is everyone telling Anna she can fight and that she'll get through this? What are they talking about?", I asked her through tears. That's when I knew. I knew that this was bad. That it was serious.
It took several days after the biopsy to get an official diagnosis. I went home shortly after that for Thanksgiving break and I remember telling my sister "You probably don't even have Cancer. It's just a scare, you're fine." We both knew I wasn't right, no matter how much we wanted it to be true.
I couldn't sleep for days after the diagnosis. It was cancer. Ewing's Sarcoma, to be exact. And even worse... Stage IV. What was going to happen now? Would she die? The thought of that terrified me and broke my heart into a million pieces.
Two and a half years later, countless chemo and radiation treatments my sister has been through it all. There is no treatment left for her. The cancer is slowly taking over her body but yet her spirit and amazing personality are persevering.
If you are new here from Abolish Cancer, please sign up to pray for Anna here and read her caring bridge. Anna's battle with cancer is chronicled on my blog here from the beginning.
|My amazingly strong sister and I on her high school graduation day.|