She had a call from her doctor on Thursday afternoon explaining the results of her blood tests. She was in the hospital Thursday night, and receiving chemotherapy Friday.
Initially I was in denial, asking questions, and trying to make sense of what I was hearing. I called her and felt calmer upon hearing her voice, and knowing she was optimistic and hopeful. I cried like a baby. Nothing could contain my fear, frustration, hurt, and unfairness.
I visited her in the hospital on Saturday. Room 1135. A sign at the entrance of her oncology wing read something like, “No fresh flowers, fruit, vegetables, or children twelve and under allowed beyond these doors.”
I pushed the doors open and found her room; first one on the left. I took a deep breath and stepped inside. When I saw her she looked good, better than she had in a long while. She was sitting on the side of the bed in a hospital gown and white robe eating a late breakfast omelet. Three bags of liquid hung from a pole on wheels and tubes ran inside the right sleeve of her flowered gown. Oxygen tubes were in her nose.
She said she felt great and gave chemo the credit.
Her husband, and our oldest sister were also in the room. We chatted about everything and nothing. We all pretended to be positive, spoke about the good care she was receiving, and her treatment schedule: Two types of chemo, both dripping into her veins 24/7; the first one for three days and the next for seven days; the chemicals will kill her blood cells, both white and red; they will rebuild her blood with transfusions and plasma, and wait; if her body does not produce healthy white cells, they will consider bone marrow transplants or stem cell infusions; she will be in the hospital for four to six weeks.
Initially she told the doctor she did not want drugs, and he said, “Without chemo you will not live thirty days. With it, you have a 50/50 chance.”
She yielded to treatment and we are now hanging onto fifty percent.
She prays and asks for prayers. She envisions little Pac Man figures chomping away at the cancer. She listens to meditation tapes to bring rest and sleep. She enjoys visits and phone calls, and told me on Tuesday, “I’m feeling the love!”
I want a fraction of my sister’s strength and faith.
Until the next time: Live while you live!