Fighting Back

I decided way back in August of 2009 to pursue a project to raise money and awareness of childhood cancer. I wanted to use my blog for something bigger. I had no idea at that time that cancer would touch my life in a much more personal way.

Nothing can prepare you for that phone call from someone you love telling you they have just been diagnosed with cancer – there is a hollowness in your chest, a tightening of the throat, a spasm of fear which wraps around your spine and squeezes until you feel numb. That is the way I felt when my sister, Paula, called me at the end of November and told me that a routine colonoscopy had revealed a large tumor in her ascending colon. Surgery and many tests later provided some relief: the tumor was encapsulated in the colon, the surgery had removed all of it, the 20 lymph nodes tested all came back negative for cancer. We were elated. We celebrated. We felt like we had “dodged the bullet.”

But cancer is unpredictable. Recently new tests are suggesting that my sister’s cancer may have metastasized. There is a possibility of more surgery and chemotherapy.

My sister is the single mother of two wonderful, beautiful teenagers – Samantha and Abby – and together they have decided to take positive action in the face of this scary disease. They have joined a Relay for Life team and will participate in this event on June 4th and 5th in Keene, New Hampshire.

Relay for Life is the largest cancer-fighting movement in the world. There will be more than 230 Relays happening throughout New England this year, and more than 5,000 across the U.S., each uniting communities against a common enemy: cancer.

Relay is a time of reflection, a time to celebrate survivorship, and a time to pledge to take some kind of action to fight a disease that roughly 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with in their lifetimes. It might be a pledge to wear sunscreen, quit smoking, volunteer with the American Cancer Society to drive patients to and from treatment, or remind a loved one to get their annual mammogram. – from The American Cancer Society –

Learn more about Relay for Life here.

My sister, Paula, and her daughters have pledged to raise $300 for Relay for Life – but they would love to beat that goal. If you feel moved to do so, please visit Paula’s personal page where you can (if you wish) make a donation to my sister’s team (all donations go directly to the American Cancer Society in their quest to fight and cure cancer).

Abby, Paula and me at the Lavender Farm in Siskiyou County – Summer 2009

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  1. My prayers go out to your sister in her battle against cancer. My dear friend (age 32) is undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, while my husband’s uncle has terminal colon cancer and is nearing the end. It is not easy watching those we love struggle with the dreaded C. It is a horrible disease that ravages their body (the treatments are not much better). Relay for Life is an amazing organization. I had the privilege of participating several years ago and will never forget the sense of community, of hope, and of survival that permeated the event. It is definitely a worthwhile operation!

    • Kay on May 1, 2010 at 10:27

    Wendy, first of all, hugs to you. Big, big hugs. I thank you so much for honoring us by sharing your sister’s story and pointing us toward a way that we can support her and also her pay it forward effort. I will keep her in my thoughts and prayers in the upcoming days and months. You too!

    I’ve had my own battle with cancer and I know that it is a scary thing. But…you just put one foot in front of the other and push ahead. Again, thanks!

  2. It’s a lovely picture – and the attitude of Paula and her daughters is so admirable. I add my prayers too for Paula and her family.

  3. I am so sorry about your sister. My stepfather is dealing with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma right now, so I can perfectly understand your fear and sadness. I will be visiting her site to see if there is a way for me to help, and you and your family will be in my prayers. I hope your sister continues to stay well and strong.

  4. I’m sorry to hear about your sister too, Wendy. My thoughts are with you all.

    That’s a beautiful picture of the three of you!

  5. I’m so sorry to hear she is facing this again. It is a cruel cruel disease.

  6. This is terrible news! I’m sorry to hear this lets hope that the cancer was nipped in the bud and that all will be well with Paula. I wish you all well

    • Wendy on May 5, 2010 at 08:18

    Michelle: Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story…I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s uncle. Cancer is such a horrible disease.

    Kay: Thank you so much for the hugs and positive words – and for your generosity…it means a lot.

    Rhapsody: Thanks for your positive thoughts and prayers. Paula has a great attitude…which is really, really important.

    Zibilee: I am so sorry to hear about your stepfather…keeping you in my thoughts. Thank you for your kind words and prayers.

    Avis: I love that photo – we had such a wonderful visit last summer. Thank you for your kind thoughts and stopping by.

    Jenners: It is a cruel disease – thanks for your thoughts.

    Serena: We are very hopeful re: treatment…thanks for stopping by.

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