just over 2 weeks ago, my sister and her family flew home from london for their easter holiday. i couldn't have been more excited to bust through the door of my parent's house and into the arms of my sister, sobbing and hugging tighter than ever before, quickly feeling all the moments we missed with each other over the last 6 months. all the holidays. my entire cancer diagnosis and treatment. but the visit had a gray cloud over it from the start. heather found a lump in her breast a few weeks before coming home, and immediately had the feeling that it wasn't good. she scheduled several doctor's appointments the monday after they arrived. by tuesday, we were quickly thrown back into the cancer world. it was confirmed that she had ductal carcinoma, and it was highly encouraged that she have surgery and that she stay in the states for the duration of her treatment. within 8 days of being diagnosed, after numerous doctor appointments, phone calls, texts, e-mails, weighing decisions upon decisions upon decisions, she was in surgery for a double mastectomy. our brother, chris, flew in for a few days to be with us. and today, a week post-surgery, as she's oh-so-slowly healing physically, she had to say goodbye to her husband and her boys who are flying back to england to return to work and school. they'll be back within 5 weeks, but right now, no one wants to make that damn lemonade.
so, here's where my head is at. once she got this diagnosis, something became very clear to me. the why. the reason why i may have had to endure my cancer diagnosis and therapy. i truly think it was for heather. i think that God said, hey, i'm going to give you a little bit of this cancer thing. it won't be much. it will be small and it will be quick and you will heal. but you need to know what your sister is going to go through. and you need to be there for her and understand her in every sense of this journey. and while my journey is a mole hill compared to the mountain that she is going to climb, i totally and completely and fully understand every single emotion that she has come to these last 2 weeks. i get that she's scared and empty and lonely, even in a room full of people. i understand that she is on a roller coaster of emotion and she doesn't know what decisions to make. i have felt what it's like to feel the love of hundreds of friends and family through e-mails, texts and facebook messages, and yet feel so overwhelmed that you just want to turn it all off and not respond to anyone or anything. i know how scary and apprehensive surgery and treatment can be and how you have to completely trust your doctors. and i know the heartache of not being able to be with your children while you try to heal your body, and gosh, that is what hurts the most. all of that. i get it. i don't think it's just a fluke that i received my all clear 2-months-post treatment scans only the day before her big surgery. God absolutely had his hand in that.
all my life, i've been 9 years and 9 months behind heather. she's done everything first and being the older sister, she had the responsibility (and felt it her duty) to tell me what i should do and not do. save your money. don't overspend. date. don't date him. drive safely, and let me teach you how in the parking lot of a middle school when you're 14. go to college and get a good degree. graduate and gain some employment. get married. have babies. i have looked up to heather for my entire life, and i've listened to every piece of advice she has doled out. and i think this time, i had to do it first. i am now engaged in every step of what she will go through and i can be the one closest to her to tell her, it's ok. i've been there. i'm here with you. i'm listening. and we'll do this together.
so, heboo, listen up. it's scary. it hurts. it's not fair and it sucks so bad you want to scream. but i love you more than you know and i am so grateful that i get to share this journey right along with you. i promise i will stand by you whatever comes our way and we'll come out the other side of all this stronger and wiser and healthier and even more amazing mamas for our kids. and one day soon, we'll sit together, we'll talk about this journey, we'll laugh, we'll cry. and we'll be drinking a whole lot of lemonade.