Angela’s Corner: Help from AfarAngela Banker
I was pretty devastated at my sister’s diagnosis. I knew she was going to have a battle on her hands. Finding out her sentinel node was inundated with cancer cells almost guaranteed there were more nodes involved. A second surgery was definitely needed to remove more lymph nodes.
Once my sister had a cancer stage, I knew I wanted to help. I knew I wouldn’t be as available as I could be because of work — and the winter weather did not always leave the best road conditions over the two passes I would have been traveling. I spent much time trying to figure out how I could help her from afar.
Many phone calls to my sister were needed. It was needed more for my own benefit than hers. I found my sister’s diagnosis to be much harder to handle than my own. Keeping positive was easy when I talked to her, but as soon as I would hang up, a few tears would always fall. Why was it so hard? I guess it was because her cancer was not caught in one of the earlier stages. Because I knew that I could easily handle my own outcomes – I could control it; I couldn’t control anything with my sister. Because no matter how positive I tried to remain, the worst case scenarios wanted to creep into my thoughts.
I knew worrying myself was not an ideal situation. If I was going to be thinking about my sister and her situation, I was going to put it to good use. I jumped on my computer during my free time and researched. I found local programs, support groups, and exercises that would benefit her during her surgery recovery and chemotherapy treatments. I acquired a list of Facebook pages she might be interested in following. I found myself looking into just about everything. I compiled my list of “stuff” and sent it to my sister via email. I knew she’d look at the information, and then determine what she needed to know and utilize it on her own time.
Even to this day I have difficulty not tearing up when I think of my sister and what she has had to endure. I often close my eyes, say a silent prayer, cry, wipe the tears, and exhale the breath I was holding. I may have been the sibling that irritated her the most, and vice versa, but she always holds a special place in my heart. And, I would do anything to help see her through her hurdles.
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