I never quite understood what my husband and his family went through when his mother underwent breast cancer surgery. She had it before I met him, and she’d been cancer-free for years. It wasn’t until my sister was diagnosed with uterine cancer in the early 2000s that I really understood. It was devastating. I lived in Kansas at the time and my sister lived in Pennsylvania, near my parents. Every time I’d call home, I’d hear the latest news, all eventually spiraling into the horrifying word of terminal. But my sister put on a happy face and didn’t share a lot of the news with her coworkers at the school where she taught. Even her principal didn’t understand the toll on her, assigning my sister to parking lot duty about a month before she died, which really left my sister with no energy for quite a few days.
My family was angry. Not only was this disease taking my oldest sister from us, but the general public didn’t seem to understand the front my sister was putting up to others, just so she wouldn’t get pity. She even made a tape to be read at her funeral. She said ‘find out your mission and get it done. You’re stronger than you think you are.’ So even at her own funeral, she put on a front to the rest of the world, telling everyone to get their mission done in this world, because time is short. She impressed my younger sister so much, that she became a celebrant (eulogist) in Los Angeles, so that everyone could have the funeral they wanted. (The minister at my dying sister’s funeral didn’t allow many of her wishes allowed in the funeral.)
The entire experience brought my family closer together. While I was snowed in up here in Wisconsin, my brother and two other sisters went to Pennsylvania to see my oldest sister. She was diagnosed as having only weeks to live on her 49th birthday, in February. It was heart wrenching, but my sister took it in stride, surrounded by the rest of my family while I was on the phone with her.
Cancer is a horrible silent disease, no matter what kind it is. My wish is for that disease to be cured so much, that future generations don’t even know what it means, on a personal basis. I hope for all cancer patient caregivers not to have to endure the physical and emotional toll of watching their loved one go through chemo and radiation, seeing doctor after doctor for treatment, or even having to sit in on that meeting where the doctor tells the patient they have cancer at all.
To give everyone hope for life after breast cancer, I wrote ‘Whisper a Prayer,’ where the main character, Pam, is a breast cancer survivor who’s hunting for her real parents. She’d been adopted as a child, and finds herself in Austin, Texas, with a private detective named Jake. Jake wants to date Pam, but she considers herself ‘damaged goods’ because of the chemo. Jake won’t let that stop him, because his sister-in-law has had the disease. He’s ready for the challenge, if the cancer returns, and doesn’t even consider that a hurdle for them to date, surprising Pam.
The book is written for the Christian market, but it’s what I call ‘Christian lite’ with very little religion in the story. However, I suspect that many cancer patients do get closer to their faith, as did my oldest sister.
If you’d like, I’m offering a download of this book, free, on Smashwords. Go to www.smashwords.com/books/view/96940. Use coupon SJ92K when checking out.
Bless you all,