October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The numbers tell it all: One in eight women will get be diagnosed with Breast Cancer within their lifetime. That affects mothers, sisters, wives and friends.
Like many of you, I too have been affected by this dreadful disease. So I write this today remembering my sister - my best friend.
She was diagnosed at 29.
So young: A wife, daughter and mother of three small children and did I mention the best sister anyone could have?
I got the call my senior year in college. She found a lump, went to the doctor and it was cancer.
I didn't know it then, but it was Stage 4....and it was aggressive. I can't think of a secret we've ever kept from one another, but she kept that news to herself. She never told me how bad it was.
And no one would have known: She went to work everyday, took to her kids to visit the "sick" in our local nursing home and was a Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher.
We talked every day, even though I was busy getting my career started in Florida & North Carolina. Somehow, someway I landed a job back home in Kansas City...I wasn't even looking at the time.
I now call it Divine Intervention.
So for an entire year, my sister and I were able to do any and everything together: Shop, take trips, stay up all night - talking about nothing (well we did that anyway- but now we were able to do it in person).
Little did I know our time would be cut short. Just like the doctors told her five years prior...her days were numbered.
She ended up in the hospital around Thanksgiving.
I remember spending the holiday there with her - not even thinking about turkey or dressing that day.
I just wanted to be with my sister. We would talk, laugh and sometimes just sit in silence. She finally told me how serious it was.
The doctor said she didn't have much time. But we were both hopeful, optimistic - that's the way we had been the last five years...and look - she was still there.
I remember - walking in on her and her husband saying their goodbyes...
And that's when it hit me.
I may lose my sister.
We didn't say "goodbye"
She said we didn't need to -
We knew where we stood.
We were sisters.
The only sister each other had.
I remember rushing to the hospital after work one day that next week. My brother had been there and said she'd been asking for me all day.
Something wasn't right.
I could feel it.
That night...the fight was over.
My sister took her last breath.
34 years old.
I held her hand, and was there beside her, until the end.
That is why this month means so much to me.
I'll never forget - Beth -my sister, my friend.
I know I'm not alone.
The numbers don't lie: one in eight.
How has this disease affected you?
I'd love to hear your story.
Get Your Mammograms - ladies!!!!
Do it in honor of all the "Beths" out there.
Until Next Time,