Published on Ciao
We were three girls, I was the oldest then there was my sister Linda, and my baby sister Debbie. We never grew up together. I did visit Linda sometimes when my mother would take me to see her in the home she was living with until she was nine years old. Then the elderly man died and Linda went to live with my mother and so I saw more of her even though I lived with my grandmother. Debbie was a different matter, I only saw her twice when I was growing up. Then the family who were taking care of her moved away and nobody saw her again.
My mother managed to get in touch with her by putting an ad in the newspaper and Debbie came back to us as grown women with three children and going by her middle name Joyce. My sister had a hard life; she had three children and still not married. The father of her first child was her high school teacher who left for parts unknown when he found out she was pregnant. Patrick, my nephew was already 16 when he came into our life. Joyce was living with the father of her youngest child and they were dirt poor.
Patrick committed suicide when he was 21, his girlfriend broke up with him and he saw no reason to live anymore. My sister took it badly and over the course of the next two years she too tried to commit suicide but did not succeed.
The ironic part of it all is that after she got well again and decided she truly had a reason to live she ended up with bone marrow cancer. At the same time my best friend’s daughter just had her second child and she too had bone cancer. I watched two mothers suffer through the disease until they were just skeletons of their former selves. I tell you there is nothing more heartbreaking then seeing two healthy women you love waste away to nothing and there is nothing you can do about it.
My friend’s daughter passed away first, she was a true fighter, and inspiration to all but in 3 years time the cancer got the best of her and she closed her eyes for good leaving a young husband and a 4 year old and a two year old behind.
My sister was not as lucky she lingered on first with bone cancer and then three strokes and throat cancer which finally took her life five long years afterward.
There was nothing we could do for her. My sister had all that modern medicine could offer her but she got so sick that she was no longer a suitable match for a bone marrow transfusion. We the family could not even help her, we took the test but we were not a good match and the doctors decided that they would not keep her on the national list for bone marrow donor recipients as she was too weak to survive the procedure while taking a chance away from someone who could have a successful transplant.
Basically she was left to die. My sister was a strong willed woman and she did not want hospice or palliative care, so she stayed at home until the throat cancer when she transported to the hospital for the last time. The last words she ever said was, ” I love you,” to my mother and then she closed her eyes for good.
The causes of bone cancer are still unknown at this time though extensive research is being done. It is thought that an injury to the bone might be a cause and that would certainly hold true for my friend’s daughter who fell down the stairs and hurt her back when she was carrying her second child, but my sister never had an injury. The doctors never had an answer for her or for us when we asked why it happened.
My sister just woke up one morning with a pain in her lower back that would not go away two weeks later she went to the hospital and they found she had cancer.
They immediately started her on chemotherapy when they detected the cancerous cells but it did not do any good, the cancer spread throughout her system and it was the throat cancer where it metastasized, that finally killed her.
The only positive thing I can say is that I pray that one day there will be a cure for all cancers so that young children and other family members will not lose their mothers, and sisters, and daughters way too soon. I pray that one day every human being will be free from cancer and live a long rich full life.