As of this moment, I am currently in Texas visiting my sister and celebrating her five year survivor-ship of Breast Cancer. She was diagnosed five years ago, May 29th 2009. Soon after, she discovered she had the BRCA1 mutation and urged us three sisters to get tested. I was the first to go, and I too had the mutation. Out of four of us girls, three of us had the BRCA1 mutation. Three of us girls ended up having double mastectomies, reconstruction, and full hysterectomies. One sweet sister was saved from this mess.
I have always said that this story isn’t really about our surgeries, but about my sister’s fierce fight against the monster that tried to take her…
So far? She’s winning this battle.
For any cancer survivor, you know that the five year mark is enormous. This window of time is critical, with a terrifyingly high rate of death. My sister lived through these years of chemo and radiation and tests and procedures and surgeries and more tests and unending medical issues. Each day she faced with the knowledge of uncertainty…
Always threatening her life.
My sister lives far away, and distance has a way of pulling us into the background of our loved one’s lives. Unable to focus our lens on the details of the every day, I can only imagine how she faced her days full of countless appointments, doctors, blood work, phone calls, medical forms, tests and more tests, as she suffered through the changes of her mangled body. Her entire life was invaded and her safe world attacked with the viciousness of a war leaving her bloodied and beaten. She was held captive for these five years, a prisoner of Cancer.
So right now? Her sisters will go to celebrate her triumph thus far.
I can only guess that us four sisters are laughing so hard, we are crying… eating my sister’s finest food and drinking some fun tasty drinks. We will be singing ridiculous songs, reliving the old days, poking fun at each other and certainly throwing some punches like only sisters can. We will be catching up on our busy lives and shedding tears and stories. We will be connecting in our own unique sister-ways…
The last time I saw my sister, we had a difficult time. But I most remember the end of her stay, when she teared up and shared that the only great thing about this horrifying experience~
Was that she was able to save her sisters.
Oh. My. Heart.
This isn’t the first time she has said that. And yet, each time she does, it catapults me into this deeply emotional state of gratitude and grief all at once. I believe this has been her constant hope to cling to during this tormenting season of her life. She was able to save her sisters from this plight she endures every day.
And as I carry on in my life, untouched by the monster of Breast Cancer~ I will always be forever grateful that my sister saved me.
But achingly so.
This weekend, we celebrate life. This weekend we celebrate our sisterhood full of joy and pain and everything in between. This weekend will be one of those treasured memories of a lifetime. All of us together, as the three of us sisters leave our worlds to enter into hers. And embrace the significance of her victory.
A celebration indeed!