My Sister’s Celebration: Surviving Breast Cancer

Posted on May 30 2014 - 2:58pm by momcafe

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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46 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Beth Teliho May 30, 2014 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Have a magical time in Texas with your sisters. This is such a powerful story, Chris. Thanks for sharing.
    Beth Teliho recently posted..The Shenis, Goats, and the Alaskan Bush. A post about nothing.My Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      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. :)

  2. Considerer May 30, 2014 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    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 :D
    Considerer recently posted..#YesAllWomen…Now What?My Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      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.

      • Considerer June 4, 2014 at 4:11 pm - Reply

        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!”
        Considerer recently posted..GOODBYE BLOGGER/HELLO WORDPRESSMy Profile

        • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 4:15 pm - Reply

          I love it!!! Oh Lizzi- you should have been there. I am STILL laughing at some of the things I did. Oh, it was good. SO good!!! :) :) :)

  3. another jennifer May 30, 2014 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    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!
    another jennifer recently posted..Philanthropy Friday: Making an Impact Through CollaborationMy Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:57 pm - Reply

      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!!

  4. Janine Huldie May 30, 2014 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    A true celebration indeed and just so happy to hear that she is cancer free for over 10 years now!! That is awesome and amazing :)
    Janine Huldie recently posted..The Fit Female Club – Preparing Myself for Bathing Suit SeasonMy Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:55 pm - Reply

      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!!!

  5. Susan Maccarelli May 30, 2014 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    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.
    Susan Maccarelli recently posted..Craigslist Chuckles: Strange And Hilarious Listings (Knoxville, TN)My Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:51 pm - Reply

      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

  6. Katie @ Pick Any Two May 30, 2014 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    Wow, what a powerful and amazing story—of love, of connection, of sisterhood, of LIFE. Have a wonderful time celebrating it all!
    Katie @ Pick Any Two recently posted..Feel Good Friday: Phenomenal WomanMy Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      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

  7. Karmen May 30, 2014 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    What an awesome sister you have! The epitome of Christ’s sacrificial love!! Enjoy your sisters and your precious relationship this weekend!!!!
    Karmen recently posted..May is a MarathonMy Profile

  8. Stephanie May 30, 2014 at 11:08 pm - Reply

    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!
    Stephanie recently posted..HomeMy Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm - Reply

      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!!

  9. Sue Theimer May 31, 2014 at 12:02 am - Reply

    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

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:17 pm - Reply

      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!!

  10. Kim May 31, 2014 at 1:08 am - Reply

    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!!
    Kim recently posted..There Are Some Things I Just Don’t GetMy Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm - Reply

      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.

  11. Beth May 31, 2014 at 1:20 am - Reply

    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

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      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!!!

  12. Susannah May 31, 2014 at 5:12 am - Reply

    Oh my sweet CC. I had no idea. Blessings to you and your sisters and enjoy this beautiful time of joy with them!!! ♡♡♡♡♡
    Susannah recently posted..Oh DeerMy Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      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

  13. Ginny Marie May 31, 2014 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    Five years is huge! Congratulations to your sister! What a wonderful thing it is that all of you are celebrating together!
    Ginny Marie recently posted..Betsy Ross and Patriotism {Spin Cycle}My Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:09 pm - Reply

      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

  14. Tamara May 31, 2014 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    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?
    Tamara recently posted..What Will Blogging Be Like In 100 Years?My Profile

    • Laurie June 1, 2014 at 2:36 pm - Reply

      Saw your comment and just had to say that I love how you love cookies because I’m a cookie monster…er connoisseur myself.
      Laurie recently posted..Mama Said What?My Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm - Reply

      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??!!!

  15. Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life May 31, 2014 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    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!
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted..Tomato, Basil and Feta Summer SaladMy Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm - Reply

      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.

  16. Laurie June 1, 2014 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    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.
    Laurie recently posted..Mama Said What?My Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:03 pm - Reply

      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.

  17. My Inner Chick June 1, 2014 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    Savor. Love. Hug. Drink. Pray. Eat Fattening Food. Laugh.

    CELEBRATE!

    Sending Kisses from Minnesota. xxxx
    My Inner Chick recently posted..You Rise Over & Over AgainMy Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 3:01 pm - Reply

      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

  18. Emily June 3, 2014 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    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…
    Emily recently posted..Drinking Lemonade and Fighting Childhood Cancer…………One Cup At A TimeMy Profile

    • momcafe June 4, 2014 at 2:59 pm - Reply

      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!!

  19. Robin Kramer June 4, 2014 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    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!
    Robin Kramer recently posted..Teaching Kids Not To Be the Center of Their Own UniversesMy Profile

  20. Sarah June 4, 2014 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    What a fabulous celebration! Cheers! Hope you had an amazing time! Have a great week!

  21. Stephanie June 5, 2014 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Congratulations to your sister. How wonderful that you could all celebrate together. I’m sure you had a grand time in TX!
    Stephanie recently posted..Trail Mix Oatmeal BarsMy Profile

  22. Tarana June 6, 2014 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story. Your sister sounds like an amazing person! It really is wonderful that you are celebrating this occasion.
    Tarana recently posted..14 (more) things that drive your readers awayMy Profile

  23. henry June 23, 2014 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    I’m glad that your sister made it through breast cancer and you can stay together as a family.
    henry recently posted..MILK AND BREAST CANCER.My Profile

    • momcafe June 26, 2014 at 2:33 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for coming by to celebrate her health Henry! I so grateful. I pray she continues to ‘survive’.

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