I just watched my younger sister show what it truly means to love someone to the very end; to be by their side every step of the way. As a result, she can hold her head up high and know, in the end, he knew he was loved.
Cancer hit our family, and it hit us hard. First, October 18, 2011 Janice was diagnosed, then not long after Paul. Janice’s was caught at stage one, unfortunately Paul’s was in the latter stages, thus the reason we just said goodbye. My sister and I found ourselves faced with this harsh reality, but we also understood this was our opportunity to allow God to work in and through our lives. I could not be more proud of my sister; living this nightmare myself, I know how hard it was on her. But she never wavered in showing her love and support of her best friend, and love of her life.
One thing my Angel will never have to worry about is fighting this battle alone. The deeper we get, the harder it gets. But for any of us who has been in this position, we also know it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:12 to do to others what we would have them do to us. So I have to ask myself, how would I feel if I was the one in constant pain; the one who has lost their hair twice, the one who has been through six major surgeries, and returning for another surgical procedure next week. Then, there are the countless times she has been so weak and sick she could not get out of bed, in the five times she has been through chemo. You see, I have experienced every moment of this battle with her, and if the roles were reversed, there is no doubt how I would want to be treated.
The truth is, I have no idea of how long the Lord will allow my Angel to stay with me. I have faith that God will take care of us; but that does not always mean we will have the ending we desire, as my sister just experienced. So, all I can do is follow His lead, and help her experience the best life possible, whether that’s five years or fifty years. What I know is, if anyone has a chance of beating this disease, she does. Her strength just amazes me. You guys don’t know half of what she has been through, this cancer has taken away so much of what makes her feel like a woman; and next week will be even more. Yet, she just accepts everything as God’s will. After all, what else can she do!
But, the great news is, we are in the best place possible to help her beat this thing. I cannot say enough good things about the treatment she gets at The Cancer Treatment Center of America in Philadelphia. Friday, when her Oncologist got the results of her CT Scan, she didn’t just go over the results, she dug deep, taking her time, discussing every symptom Janice has been experiencing. The new tumor in her lower back explained the extreme pain she has been having in her back, but not the other new symptoms. The more Janice shared, the clearer it became to her what was going on. So, she setup within a few minutes consults with a Urologist, and the head of Oncology, who performed her surgery in April. So, within a matter of an hour we had three of the brightest minds, stop what they were doing, and came together to discuss the best course of action for my Angel. They, all agreed what the problem was, and set up the procedure, and worked around our schedule. They didn’t just set things up; they called to see what would work best for us.
So, next Thursday we fly back to have the procedure done. We will spend the night in the hospital for observation. Then, Friday evening Janice will begin her new round of chemo, with the new treatment plan. I spoke with our Oncologist yesterday, and she told me she and the head of Oncology will meet to discuss what chemo they will try next. But, whatever it is, we trust God is leading these amazing servants, as they carry out his will here on earth. When we left our last appointment Friday, the last person we saw was Dr. Chura, who is the head of the Oncology department, and the one who performed Janice’s surgery in April. After telling her and everyone in the room how proud he was of her, he gave her the most loving hug before he left. My heart just smiled at the compassion he showed my Angel, further confirming we are exactly where we are meant to be.
You see, it may appear that I am Janice’s Caregiver, but the truth is, she is surrounded by Caregivers. She has an amazing team of specialist at CTCA making sure she has the best chance possible to beat this dreaded disease. Then, she has all of you amazing people here loving and supporting us through this 1,389-day war. Given the circumstances, we are truly blessed, and have every reason to believe we WILL one day emerge from this war in VICTORY.
From my heart to yours!