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Shannon M.
Shannon's e-mail:
  shannonmccarley@yahoo.com

My Sister is Dying from Breast Cancer

I am not sure why I write, but I feel as though I need to talk about my story as much as possible. Today is June 22nd, 2005, and I sit here as my sister lies dying from cancer. We all knew that this day would come, but we thought not for many years.

Rose was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer that had metastasized to her lungs shortly after her 30th birthday. She got the best doctor here in the Seattle area, and had the highest hopes. She was young, healthy and ready to jump this huge obstacle. Rose had gone undiagnosed for about 2 years. She found the lump herself after a monthly self-breast exam. Her Grandmother and Aunt are both survivors, and her father carries the gene (we are only half- sisters, though you wouldn’t know it).

She immediately started chemo- therapy, and did really well. She was sick for 1 week out of every month, but functional the rest of the time. Rose has two sons, 3 and 5 and a wonderful husband. We did what we could with the children when she felt well enough, and played at home when she didn’t. 

After a little over a year of chemotherapy, her doctor declared her cancer- free and she underwent surgery to remove both breasts. They couldn’t see a 1 mm size lesion still in her lung. At her six-week scan they saw that the cancer hadn’t completely disappeared. She started chemotherapy again. Six weeks later she had more scans to determine how well the cancer was responding. The doctor’s were amazed at how well the chemo had worked against the cancer. Six weeks later, there wasn’t much change, and six weeks later than that she was hospitalized with neuropathy problems. Everyone thought that the chemo was affecting her nerves too much to be tolerated, so her doctor opted to stop this particular chemo. She underwent every scan, CT, and MRI you could imagine. They found that the cancer had spread in her lungs, and then to her brain and spine. Rose was sent home about a month ago to live out the rest of her life with her family. 

That was a month ago, and when she left the hospital the doctor’s gave her two weeks, if that. She is slowly declining, but we take care of her to the best of our ability. We have different hospice nurses come out to do everything from cleaning to art therapy with the children, but nothing they do can take away the anger, and sadness that we feel. At times we wish God would take her, and end her suffering, and then at other times, we are selfish and want to hold her forever.

Whether she goes today or next month, we will love her and support her in all her decisions. We also know that we will see her again one day in all her brilliance and happiness that we remember her having not so long ago.

Shannon's e-mail:  shannonmccarley@yahoo.com

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