This Article is About
radiation treatments
roller coaster ride
last ditch
household items
c word
comic relief
Letting Go: When It Is Time To Finally Say Goodbye To A Loved One
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Letting Go: When it is Time to Finally Say Goodbye to A Loved One

She is in her early forties, far too young to be faced with her looming death. She spent her entire life trying to eat right and to take good care of herself, doing all of the things that the experts suggest. She was on top of the latest news stories about the dangers of plastics or what type of household items should be replaced as quickly as possible. And yet, nearly three years ago, she found it. It was a lump in her left breast, not huge by any stretch of the imagination but one of the most frightening things she ever faced. After all, she had lost her mother not many years ago from the dreaded "C" word.

The first few weeks after that initial, scary find is a blur, a whirlwind of doctors, tests, treatment plans and teary phone calls to friends and family. Chemo makes her sick, violently so. She loses her hair, her eyebrows and the eyelashes on one eye. Ironically, one patch of hair on the back of her leg not only remains but darkens in color, trying in vain to call attention to itself. It serves, she thinks, as comic relief.

Radiation burns her skin, leaving her with a nasty scar. The biopsy shows that the tumor, while small, is a particularly aggressive form of cancer and must be cut away. She loses her entire left breast and a good chunk of skin under her armpit. Strapless tops and dresses are now out of the question. The surgery goes well and they assure her that it looked "good. The doctors were sure they got it all, or at least that is what they said. They were wrong.

From that moment, she has been plunged onto a roller coaster ride, one where she thinks she has some good news, only to find that she is wrong. Finally, it comes to the moment that the team suggests a last ditch round of radiation. The first treatment ends and she goes home. An hour later she is in her bathroom throwing up so much and so often that they have to put her into the hospital. While there she says that is the end of radiation treatments. From the look on the doctor's face, she is sure that is what he was going to say as well. And then the word "hospice" is used. The team can do no more for her, they say. The cancer is not responding to any treatment option at all. She is tiring, her body too besieged to go on much longer. Three to four weeks, the team tells her quietly.

Like everything else she has ever faced, she takes the news with quiet and polite dignity. If she is afraid, you would not know it.

Street Talk

Hello everyone who has commented on this article. My sister lost her fight on Saturday, August 4th.

  about 7 years ago

I am sorry for your pain. I wish both you and your sister peace. I lost my aunt and mother in law to breast cancer...a terrible disease

  about 7 years ago

Brings back memories.

  about 7 years ago

Did you write this article knowing what I am going through? I am 40, just had a lumpectomy, and they found more cancer. But I'll tell you, I am fighting it tooth and nail. I am taking a spiritual (God centered) and holistic approach, and healing my inner self. Thank you for this. But my end won't be quiet!!! And it won't be soon by the grace of God!

  about 7 years ago

Aw, no, my dear. Stay strong in your fight and never let anyone tell you what they think you should and should not do. That is not up for others to debate or determine. You do what is right for you. I wrote this for my sister who is sadly not going to win her fight. She is tiring and it is nearly time for her to let go. I wish you only the best. xoxoxo for strength, luck and faith.

  about 7 years ago

I kind of wrote my reply above "tounge in cheek"; because you echoed sentiments I feel and what I fear may happen. Amie, have you heard of Essiac Tea? Or Iscador (Mistletoe)? Miracles have happened with these. Just a suggestion. I am so very very sorry for your dear sister, and your family. God bless you!

  about 7 years ago
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