Sara Whitman

The Roller Coaster

Filed By Sara Whitman | August 18, 2009 5:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: death in the family, family problems, lymphoma, personal stories, sick sister

I can hear the sound of a roller coaster, as you start up the first hill. Clack clack clack... get ready for your ride...

My sister has been having a low grade fever since she's been home from the hospital. 99. 99.5. Mind you, she's on constant Tylenol.

This means maybe the lymphoma probably wasn't stopped. I know it means that because that's what the oncologist explained before the surgery. If she continued to have a fever, night sweats, she would need more aggressive treatment.

No, I'm not flipped out. Just sad. I had a conversation with her the other day and she said to me, I have five years, tops.

I said, oh c'mon, you don't know that... and proceeded with my best cheerleader speech.

She said, nope, I'm telling you, I just know.

She wasn't upset or morbid. She simply said she wanted to see the land in downeast we know about and put her RV there. Remove the clutter in her life, and soak in her family for the next few years. She was very calm.

I'll be calm with her. The news about the fever isn't good. The biopsy is still not done on the spleen- it was so large, and so much to cover, the doctor explained, it will take longer.

I have the weirdest feeling lately. I feel something shifting inside me. I can't quite explain it yet. Part of it was the time before and just after sister's surgery. I drew boundaries effortlessly, took care of myself. That's never happened before and yet it felt like a pair of worn in shoes. Fit just right.

A part of me, let go. I wasn't at all afraid, nor did I feel powerless. Perhaps a chunk of the armor fell off. Maybe I'm shifting to a place where I don't need to be right- on a deep level. I don't need to be good enough. I don't have to follow rules that don't make sense to me. It feels strange. Peaceful in a way I've never felt before. Yes, my sister is dying. I don't think she only has five years but she does have a terminal disease. She will not live to be 70.

I need to stop the cheerleading. I need to simply hold it with her.

And I also need to be with my family and friends and live and laugh and go swimming, and fishing and love as deeply as I can.

I can hear the wheels cranking. I can't stop the inevitable news, then the inevitable no news, dates, schedules, treatments... I can't change any of that. But I can change how I ride.

Maybe that's all any of us can really do.


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Sara, big hugs to you and to your sister.

I know your a good sister. I know out of everything you've been thru these past few weeks you've done everything for your sister out of unconditional love for her.

Your good people Sara, Major hugs to you.

Sara, my prayers for all of your family, who are going through this together..

You are a very loving sister. There are great times both of you still have yet to experience with one another. All the solutions seem to be written down in your words. We all have NOW in common.