My Sister’s Celebration: Surviving Breast Cancer

My Sister's Celebration Surviving Breast CancerAs 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!

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

    • says

      Thanks so much love! It was absolutely wonderful being with all my sisters and embracing our sisterhood with laughs and tears and good food and drinks and lots and lots of catching up. Just perfect. :)

  1. says

    Hope you have a GORGEOUS time, and that you laugh and cry and tell stories of your lives and reconnect and laugh more.

    And I hope you behaved yourself on that plane!

    SO glad your sister saved you 😀

    • says

      We did ALL OF THAT!! Oh did we ever!!! And I totally didn’t behave at all- on that plane or anywhere else. You know how I am!! lol

      I’m so glad she saved me too. MWUAH!!!! Love you Lizzi.

      • says

        Hahahah well I really didn’t think you’d behave.

        Or – you end up with the answer I used to give

        “Sometimes I behave goodly, sometimes I behave badly, but I ALWAYS BEHAVE!”

  2. says

    You are all amazing women, Chris! I hope the four of you have a wonderful time this weekend. There is so much to be thankful for. Just the fact that the four of you will be in the same room together is enough to celebrate. Here’s to five more cancer-free years and many more after that!

    • says

      EXACTLY Jen!!! We rarely can all be together just US and be sisters- like only WE can! It was HUGE. And I’m so grateful we all left our busy lives and dedicated this time to our dear sister! It was absolutely beautiful to be there and embrace our sisterhood and LIFE!!

    • says

      Well, she is quick to share that she isn’t cancer free, but she spent five years fighting it off. And that is good! Five years is the big window where her chance of losing the fight was 95%. Thanking God for that 5% victory!!!

  3. says

    What a moving post. My best friend went through it at 34 and again a few years later and may have that fight again in the future. I know you will celebrate with joy and I am glad that your sister was able to find meaning in that whole nasty experience. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • says

      Thank you so much for coming by and sharing and supporting us sisters Susan! It means so very much to me. I’m so sorry to hear about your best friend. It’s awful. Just awful. This past weekend we could celebrate the triumph in it all, and that was beautiful. Praying your bf stays strong and fights the good fight fiercely. XO

    • says

      Oh thank you SO much Katie!! You are so right… love, connection, sisterhood and LIFE!! Exactly. It was just beautiful, and a memory of a lifetime!
      XOXO

  4. says

    What an awesome sister you have! The epitome of Christ’s sacrificial love!! Enjoy your sisters and your precious relationship this weekend!!!!

  5. says

    What an incredible story. My first thought was “your poor sister” but this story is so much more than that…love and hope and life. I hope you have an amazing time and all four of you are filled up with happiness from being together to celebrate!

    • says

      We had the BEST time Stephanie!! It was a celebration indeed! My sister’s story is heartbreaking- and she continues to struggle with it all, BUT she is triumphant and has amazing strength and will. I am so glad we all got to be together and I know the memory will be treasured for our lifetime. SO grateful for my sisters!!

  6. says

    I am thinking of you every minute these few days in TX. . .what a wonderful time my four babies will have together. I have taught you to love each other through happy and sad. . .and this is the happiest of all! I always wanted a sister and I am so happy you have the gift of each other.
    MOM

    • says

      OH MOM!!! I think I must have said about five times, “We need to call MOM!!” – and then we would be so busy catching up and laughing and ‘doing’ and eating and drinking and and and….

      But know we thought about you dozens of times as we celebrated and embraced our SISTERHOOD. It is truly a gift. Our sister-love shined all weekend long!!

  7. says

    Enjoy every single second with your sweet sister(s)!!!
    I hope your sister is in remission and feeling great so she can enjoy this celebration!!

    • says

      Thanks Kim! We had an AWESOME weekend filled with good food and drinks and laughter and long talks and everything in between!! My sister is doing SO WELL!!! Never will be the same healthy woman she once was, but she’s pushing forward and staying strong… forever adjusting to it all. I am so very proud of her.

  8. Beth says

    Celebration indeed …. How proud I feel for Cathy in her bravery, battling breast cancer — and how she “saved” the rest of you, by making you face the possibilities, so that you might avoid the disease.

    I love you all, my sisters. WE ARE FAMILY!
    xoxoxo
    Beth

    • says

      Oh Beth! Thank you SO much for all your love and support with all of us!! Cathy printed out your email and we read it and this comment. YOU were with us. And we are so grateful for you and your loving encouragement through it all. We love you too, sister!!!

    • says

      It’s amazing how life throws things at you when you least expect them. The last five years- have definitely been a whirlwind of angst and trauma for us all…especially my sister. I’m so glad she endured it all, and can only pray the worst is over.

      We had an incredible weekend. A memory of a lifetime. XOXOXO

    • says

      Thanks so much sweet friend!! We celebrated HARD and it was just amazing. SO glad we all were together and I know it will be a memory of a lifetime for us all. XOXO

  9. says

    Celebration. Amazing. Those words about how she lived and always saved the lives of her sisters so they could LIVE.
    And live, you all will.
    Save me a drink and a hug! And a cookie. Are there cookies?

    • says

      Oh girl, there were BROWNIES and yummy DRINKS and AMAZING FOOD and TO DIE FOR Caramel cheesecake!! Shame on us- I don’t remember cookies. :(

      It kills me that I can’t see you and try one of your cookies. I will be thinking about you a TON and PLEASE keep me posted on it all, okay??!!!

  10. says

    That’s a story to celebrate and be thankful for! Cancer is a horrible disease and the fact that she was able to save you all from having to go through what she did is amazing. I hope you all have a wonderful time, celebrating life and each other and the gift she has given you. Hugs!

    • says

      I read this blog at dinner to my sisters one night… and once again, she teared up- and the passion oozes out of her about it all. It was a moment – another tearful and powerful moment. For us all.

      We had a spectacular time together!! We celebrated only like sisters can… oh, how I love that.

  11. says

    This is a beautiful story and I hope you celebrated till the cows came home. I have no sisters but I do have a friend who is like a sister to me. 7 years ago she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She opted to have a double mastectomy with reconstructive surgery at the same time. She is cancer free (thank God) but has lived with pain every day for those 7 years due to a complication (lymphedema). Her mom and her sister have since undergone treatment for breast cancer. Such a horror for them all. I am ending on a happy note, however, so happy for your sister, right now, being cancer free, because right now is all any of us have.

    • says

      Oh my heart is so heavy for your precious friend and her mom and sister! It’s awful- and this monster knows no bounds. I pray for them now, Laurie.

      We celebrated till the cows came HOME!!! It was beautiful.

    • says

      We did just that and more, sweet friend!!! I especially love the laughing to the point of tears streaming down our faces. Only sisters can laugh like that. I know you know this. And I am heart-sick that you can’t laugh with Kay now. I’m realizing over and over again, how precious life truly is… through my sister’s story and through yours love. Through yours. XOXOXO

  12. says

    Wow. Just wow. I am so so happy for your sister hitting the 5-year mark and I hope you had the bestest of best celebrations together! Such a beautiful story of sisters, love, hope, and survival…

    • says

      It’s been an incredible five years… this awful mess has pulled us together in the deepest way. How could it not? Powerful weekend. Amazing story about our sisterhood and triumph thus far.

      Thanks Emily for your sweet support! We had a BLAST celebrating together!!

  13. says

    Chris, I am SO glad that you were able to celebrate with your sister! What a profoundly moving experience and bond that you share!

    Praise God that she has reached the five-year mark! Woo-hoo!

  14. says

    Thanks for sharing your story. Your sister sounds like an amazing person! It really is wonderful that you are celebrating this occasion.

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