Thursday, May 10, 2012

My sister, the Survivor...

I wrote this post well over a year ago, but never published it. I made the trip detailed below to see my sister on May 10th, 2010. What a difference two years have made. I am beyond thankful that she is alive... 

Have you ever received a call that changed your life? If you have, chances are you are able to remember it right now without much effort. April 4th, 2010 was such a day for me, and one word, in one phone call, brought that change. The caller? My sister, Sharon. The word? Cancer.

I cannot lie, my initial reaction was "NO! God, what are you thinking?" I know, such a faithless response, but at least I am honest, and you should also know, I did not stay in that state. (I did revisit it from time to time though... )

Micah and I made plans for me to take, what would prove to be an emotionally difficult trip home to see her. I was not prepared for the sister who normally has a hot meal waiting for me, along with "just because" gifts, to be laying in a bed in the middle of the day. I was not prepared for the way she looked. I was not prepared for the frailty of life to be a palpable cloud hanging overhead. I climbed into bed with her and as we hugged and wept, she simply said, "I know, I look like sh*t. Its ok, I know." I told her she looked beautiful. It is hard to describe the mix of emotions you feel at that point. The way happy, old memories clash with fearful visions of the future.

We stayed up all night as Sharon was in constant pain, vomiting violently, and unable to keep even water down. I can't describe it with words, it was unbelievable, and I was just witnessing it, trying to help, not having to actually endure it like Sharon. She was amazing. All that pain, and not a cross word, not a bit of impatience with us, no anger at all.

When she felt (a little) better and we were talking, I asked her, was she afraid?  "Yes," was her simple reply. "I don't want to die, but it is ok. God is in control, and whether I live or die, He is in control. I have to believe that." WOW. I even told her I was surprised, that I had a whole encouraging speech to give her when she declared that God was not fair. She told me to give my presentation anyway... haha. What Sharon had, and has... is that "peace that passes all understanding." That is not something you can buy, earn, or get from others. As she even said just the other day, "Grace is always enough".

So while she endured the last few months, the highs "you can be cured!" to the lows, "scratch that, there is still a cloudy area, let's give you say, a 50% chance of survival." Sharon has continued to be strong, determined, and faithful. She is human, and has had her moments, she will admit. BUT... she has not dwelt there. That is the key.

I am elated, excited, and super happy to report... her final biopsy came back last week. NO ACTIVE CANCER CELLS AT THIS TIME. I cannot lie, I had prepared for the worst... was already planning a more extended visit since her next chemo rounds would be even more aggressive. I was looking into donating the bone marrow she would have to have, etc. It was like God said, "Hello? Remember ME? The Great Physician?" I didn't even let myself believe it was possible, yet He did it. Why guard my heart from the one who holds it? Oh me of little faith...

(this is Sharon and her family, and friend Rhonda this past summer. She kept the short hair, but not the bald... go figure?!?!)


  1. This was great, Jude. I'm starting a short series with the students on Sunday titled "Are You There?". All surrounding the topic of pain, suffering, death, and all those other things that seem to knock us down and make us question God. How great is it to be reminded that God is in control and even in suffering, He is still sovereign. Your sister is amazing. Thanks for sharing

  2. I'm so glad to hear your sister is doing well. I've been meaning to ask you for a while. what a wonderful blessing. ♥

  3. This is great great great news. :)