Well, this is embarrassing. It’s been seven months since I’ve written and in that time I’ve had more than enough to talk about. But, life hasn’t stopped moving once and in my defense, I did get another cat, take on another writing gig (which has come and gone), continued Portland After Dark, and started my big girl job as a radio news anchor. I may have stopped writing, but this world never stopped spinning and through it all you never stopped fighting. Even though I know some days it I know it felt as if you were the only one.
Your diagnosis was a hard blow to all of us. There were days when fear, anger, and doubt closed in, suffocating good spirits and hope. And I can only speak for myself. I can’t imagine how you felt, but we often forget that it was you who had cancer.
In those first few months, I felt as if I wanted to be suffering with you and for you. I wished I could sit next to you, tubes in my arms, the chemo pumping into my system as we gossiped, laughed, and complained. Almost like our pedicures. And there you have it. Comparing your months of chemo, dry skin, hair loss, nausea, and pain to a pedicure just shows how estranged I really was. And when it was all said and done, though it will never truly be said and done, I was absent altogether. When the glitz, glamour, and show was over, I was out of the auditorium before the curtain dropped.
Abby, I am sorry I was never there. I’m sorry I never saw a chemo treatment, I’m sorry I never drove you to the doctor, and most of all I am sorry I was never around to talk because some days that’s probably what you needed most.
When you have cancer or any disease, I imagine at first it feels as if everyone is behind you and fighting for you. You can hear their war cries and the beat of their drums, but as the days pass, the treatments continue, the acceptance settles in, I wonder if you ever looked back to see that we’d all left to go back home.
If you did ever feel that way, I want you to know that while I may have taken a detour to fight some smaller battles of my own, I will always be your second in command and you can rest assured that our roads will forever intersect.
So let’s get to it. Monday is the big day. You’ll complete your double mastectomy with the removal of your right breast and then you’ll go straight into reconstructive surgery, which I’ve been told is called Autologous or Flap reconstruction. Let’s stick with the former as it sounds much more serious and will certainly garner more shock and concern. ;)
Sister, I don’t know how many more times I can say it, but I’ll say it until the end- I am so extremely proud of you, your life, the paths you’ve taken, and the way you’ve traveled them.
Our lives are so far apart these days. While you’re cleaning up after a beautiful, mischievous four-year-old, I am cleaning the poop of two wicked cats. As you drive to yet another doctor’s appointment, I head to the station to announce that local game wardens put down a deer. And when you’re driving home through the Pennsylvania hills, I’m losing my shit on a woman who won’t let me parallel park.
As divided as our lives may be, we’re bonded perpetually by our mother’s blood- and her appreciation of stretch pants, Garth Brooks, and baked mac and cheese.
Sister, you’ve reached the halfway point of your journey and while it may be a never ending one with some lonely paths, I promise there is no wrong turn that could lead me too far from you. See you at our crossroads.