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My Sister Has Cancer

my sister has cancerI have known people who have successfully fought the battle against breast cancer.  I have lost a very dear friend who left behind 3 boys.  I have even had guests on my radio show fighting the disease and was so impressed with their strength and resilience.

You always remember where you are when you get the phone calls that alter your life.  When my father called to tell me he had had terminal cancer, I was driving down the Mount Rose Highway to get to an appointment with a client.  It was surreal walking into the Starbucks and meeting with the client.  Life just suddenly had to move on right then no matter what call I had just received.  I felt that way as he died when I looked out the window and a golfer was looking in for a brief second as he retrieved his bad shot that almost hit my dad’s window.  He just picked up his ball and walked off to go hit his next bad shot.  We made brief eye contact and I am sure he knew he was looking at a man who had just died.

When my sister called to tell me that she found a lump in her breast and was getting an ultrasound I just knew.  I knew it was going to be cancer.  My sister Kristy is not an alarmist and she wouldn’t call with that type of news unless she was very concerned.  I never once believed it was anything but cancer as much as I wanted it to just be a cyst.  She was diagnosed with cancer in December 2015 and had surgery the Monday before Christmas.  We were so hopeful that she would only need radiation but the tests revealed that chemotherapy was also going to be on her menu of cancer treatments.

That scared her the most I believe.  The diagnosis shocked us all.  The surgery was somewhat of a relief to get the cancer out of there but the need for chemo just scared everyone.  She will no longer be able to finish her school year as a first grade teacher.  She will lose her hair.  She will have side effects that make it hard to be a single mom as if that wasn’t hard enough.  Ironically, I was scheduled for my own mammogram during her surgery and checking the box that we had a family history of breast cancer was upsetting and all too real.

They say the whole family gets cancer when someone is diagnosed and now I think I know what they mean.  We all just feel sick and sitting in an oncologist’s office is depressing as you look around at all of the people fighting this cruel disease.  My sister wasn’t supposed to be here.  She is too well – she is just too everything.  She is too nice, too loyal, too sweet, too innocent.  Her kids need her healthy.  Her students need her healthy.  I need her healthy.  I’m sure everyone feels this way when they have a family member get diagnosed.

I have watched her go through an emotional roller coaster and it breaks my heart.  She has been brave and then terrified.  She has cried, yelled, laughed, and just stared off into the distance at times.  We feel that it was caught early enough that she will be ok in the long run but not before a very difficult journey.  She starts chemo tomorrow and I just don’t want that to be the case.  I don’t want something that will feel like poison running through her veins but that is the reality and I have to accept it.  She won’t be able to return to her job as a 1st grade teacher until next school year and this breaks her heart and mine too.  She is more worried about her students than herself it seems.

We have a big supportive family and we will all be there for her night and day.  We have had some pretty interesting conversations including her telling me that cancer is fu&%#ing boring.  I agree Kristy.  It is!  There are better things to do with life than have to fight this disease that nobody deserves.  I’m biased to say that you deserved it the least.  I would take your place if I could just to make your life feel easier right now.  I’m so sorry.  I love you and we have you from start to finish.   I still am willing to shave my head with you but so far she doesn’t agree with that!  We shall see.  Nobody should feel alone when they are going through cancer treatments.  Especially my big sis.

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About Katie Coombs

Katie Coombs
Katie Coombs is a native Nevadan that calls Reno home with her husband Chris and their blended family of four boys, three girls. By day, she’s a small business owner and financial advisor, but has recently added radio show host, RGJ columnist, blogger and newborn mom (again) to her résumé. Her radio show, “Uncommon Sense,” column and blog focus on family values and parental leadership through the simple use of common sense. When she is not working on her radio show, fulfilling her duties as a business owner, or raising the small country that is her family, she enjoys camping, cheering for her kids at their sporting events and watching the Giants and the 49ers.

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