It’s not the kind of news anyone likes to get.
Last year my older sister told us she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Stage II. Serious but beatable.
Still, it wasn’t something I wanted to hear.
My older sister and I are eight years apart. We didn’t have much in common, with that kind of age difference, save for an interest in rocks and fish. In fact, I was still in elementary school when she moved out, then left for California. I never really got to know her.
We had been in minimal — if not seasonal — contact over the years, sending birthday cards and Christmas gifts. That didn’t last too long. We sent e-mail every now and again. Then that stopped, too.
We weren’t conventional sisters, not the kind you read about in teen books or see on TV sitcoms. But we still loved each other, albeit from a distance.
I haven’t seen my sister much since she moved away almost 30 years ago. In fact, in the last 20 years, I may have only seen her once, a family trip to Vegas. (She hates flying, I’m not a fan of Ventura.)
But all that changed with the cancer diagnosis.
After she went underwent surgery to remove the cancerous cells in her right breast, my mom and I flew up to Los Angeles to see her. She was in great spirits, considering, happier to see us than think about the next phase of her treatment.
It’s taken her several months to schedule her first round of chemotherapy, which started today, but she did it and she’s on her way to recovery.
It’s easy to stay positive when you see the statistics: the 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer hovers around 93 percent.
But it’s still scary to think of it: my sister has cancer.
Then I remembered: we’re Toths. We’re tough. We can do this.
But it doesn’t hurt to get help, too.
I posted on Facebook today that I was sending positive vibes in her direction, and I was floored by the love and sharing that started to happen on my page.
So I’m hoping this post will help my sister, who needs that same kind of love and support right about now.
You got a story, advice, some words of encouragement? Post ’em here.