Its been great knowing you, but later Chemo. Let’s make this last encounter your shining glory, your masterpiece. Let’s hope that in this latest battle you’re like Caesar. Even when the odds weren’t great, you managed to win. We’d rather not need to hear from you again. Now please, take your nemesis and play somewhere else.
Today is my sister’s last day of chemo. Woo hoo. Let’s hope it’s the last she’ll ever need. She’s really pretty amazing about the whole thing. She learned the ins and outs of cancer early, only knowing our mother while losing her fight with breast cancer.
Mim is the bravest one of us. Jeff can’t walk across a balcony or a bridge he’s so afraid of heights. I can’t see a needle without crying and complaining bitterly, even when the needle’s destination is not my arm. Miranda? Mim took it like a champ. She even learned to give herself daily shots to keep her blood counts up. She had a port installed under her skin on her chest to make administering the chemo more convenient and safer for her heart. She lost her beautiful hair and felt crappy for six months and never complained about it. Not even when all her friends left for colleges and new experiences away from home. Experiences she should have been having. Not even when she realized her life would be put on hold for an entire year, an eternity at 18 with the world at your feet. She didn’t even complain about her hair. (I would have taken total advantage of the situation, complaining my ass off and asking all family members to shave their heads in a show of solidarity.)
She just put one foot in front of the other and moved forward. And she’s been told that after chemo, hair comes back curly. She can’t wait to have the prettiest hair in the room again, complete this time with a nice wave. I never once heard her complain or ask why?
Jeff and I did. We asked why many, many times.
And what did Jeff do? He did anything and everything she needed him to do. He continued to live in the family home, with her, our step-dad and our stepbrother. He stayed to be there with her and for her. He altered his work schedule to be available to sit with her on her chemo days and sick days. They didn’t do much on those days, just sat together for the eight to ten hours it took to administer and flush. Mim was in a hospital bed with her laptop. She’d watch her movie. Jeff would watch his. They’d watch action and comic book movies together. He’d fetch her drinks and food, annoy her by keeping track of how many times she’d pee – seven was the average during chemo. Mostly, he was just there, watching out for her, fetching, teasing, and making her laugh. Their relationship is awesome. He is the quintessential protective big brother doing what he could to make sure she was taken care of. He, too, is amazing.
Don’t get me wrong, there were others supporting her. Her dad turned his world upside and managed to stay employed helping his daughter fight a battle his wife lost. Our cousin Michele filled in when Jeff or John could not be at the hospital, making sure Mim was never alone. Our grandma made sure food comfort food was always available even if she had to make it twice because the damn dog learned to lean far over the countertop for those porcupine meatballs.
Mim has excellent doctors and specifically Nurse Nancy to watch over her, take her side in any and all sibling disagreements and make sure she was as comfortable as possible as her little body was lethally poisoned in order for it to heal.
So in April, after she has gotten her strength back and auditions for the drama department in Fredonia, the same college she was supposed to go to last August, she’s coming out here. Jeff will fly out too and we’ll all head off for a siblings vacation in Ireland.
So here’s to the last day of chemo and the count down to Ireland. Way to go little sister.