Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Sister's Keeper

Erin and me, circa 1990.  As you can tell, I was typically
the more reserved one.
January 10, 1990 has always been one of my favorite days.  It was the day that my younger sister, Erin, was born.  I was an only child for eight years, so the thought of having a sibling thrilled me.  When she came around, everything was so much more fun.  I never felt jealousy towards her, and fighting would have been ridiculous since I was so much older.  In some ways I was like another parent to her.

Our family and those who knew us well described us as, "night and day."  Not only were we different in appearance, her with her lighter, porcelain-like skin, light brown hair and green eyes.  We were also uniquely individual in our personalities.  I always admired her spirit.  From the time she was a toddler, she had no problem making her requests known and not taking anything from anyone.  She didn't care who you were.

Sometimes when Erin smiles, her eyes disappear...isn't she cute?!
She had, and still has, an extra soft spot in her heart for me, though.  When I was in the 7th grade, I made a really bad decision and my parents were scolding me (trust me when I say I deserved it).  She immediately burst into tears and said, "Don't get mad at Sissy (her lifelong nickname for me)!"  We attended an awards ceremony when I was a junior in high school, and immediately after receiving my certificates, she ran up to me, grabbed my hand, and walked me back to my seat, smiling up at me and beaming the entire way.  Suffice it to say she has been one of my greatest fans.

About three months ago, Erin went to see the gynecologist regarding a lump in her pelvic area.  They decided to surgically remove the mass, sent it to a lab and found out that it was Squamos Cell Carcinoma (SCC).  The good news is that the surgery removed it all from the pelvic area and that part of the body does not need further treatment.  The bad news is that after months of tests and lab work, they found five precancerous cells (SCC) in her lungs.  Starting tomorrow morning (Wednesday), Erin will go through eight sessions of chemotherapy, followed by multiple sessions of immunotherapy, in hopes of killing off the cells.

We are optimistic, overall, about the diagnosis and that all will be well in the end.  Erin is now 26 years old and has shown great resolve and strength in the midst of this whole ordeal.  She has told me the dose of chemotherapy she will receive is a low one, and the doctor has said she won't have the usual side effects (hair loss, nausea, etc.).  Ultimately, we won't know how she will react until she has gone through a couple of sessions.

Though she is a full grown woman, I still see her as the little sister that followed me around everywhere when we were younger.  I will likely always see her that way.  This whole process has been a journey for me, too.  I have had moments of great faith, and other times that I have fallen apart at the thought of her suffering.  For a long time growing up, I felt responsible for her, almost to a fault.  It wasn't until I was a mature adult that I realized I was not.  The Lord is her keeper, and will do a much better job caring for her than I ever could.  He has gone before her and will be with her throughout this entire process and will see it to the end.

So I ask that you please keep her and the rest of our family in your prayers.  Pray that she is healed.  Pray that this makes us all better, and not bitter.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:11-13


  1. We're praying for Auntie Erin! God bless!

    1. Thank you so much, Tia Shali! God Bless you all, too!

  2. Praying for Erin and the family and doctors/nurses.

  3. We are praying for Erin to be completely healed. Your family is very dear to us. Love to Rosie, LeRoy and Davona too.

  4. Will be praying for Erin and the family. Love you!

  5. Praying for her! To be completely healed and strength throughout this whole process. And for you guys! For this to strengthen your faith to keep you positive.

  6. Praying for her! To be completely healed and strength throughout this whole process. And for you guys! For this to strengthen your faith to keep you positive.

  7. So wonderful to have such a great relationship with your little sister! Praying for Erin, you and the family.