Last weekend was my sister's birthday. This is not remarkable in the usual way as I have four sisters. However, this sister's birthday marked her one year anniversary of being free of breast cancer. She still has a way to go to make sure that they got everything, but I am so thankful that she's still around that I just had to write about it in this blog.

About 2 years ago, she called me and told me she had found some lumps in her breast and had already talked to a doctor about the next step. She needed to cry a little and complain a little and I was the one chosen. Even though she lives in Louisiana and I live in British Columbia, I think the distance enabled her to say some things out loud that she felt she couldn't say to her husband, children or friends. After all, what are sisters for?

She decided to go with a lumpectomy followed by chemical and radiation treatments. The lumpectomy was a success and the doctors felt they'd gotten everything out. But she was swollen and sore and it took longer than they expected for the swelling to go down.

Finally, the swelling did go down and she started the treatments. By this time I was calling her every other week. She said the chemical treatments weren't as bad as she expected, but the first week after the treatment she was so tired about all she did was sleep. The second week, she had more energy and by the third week, she felt fairly normal and got caught up on everything she hadn't been able to do the first two weeks. She still tired easily in the third week but at least she was able to have a more normal life. Then it was time to start the cycle over again.

After the chemical treatments were over, she had radiation treatments and she lost her hair. I thought it would really upset her, but it didn't. She was laughing about having more hair on her pillow than was on her head. She said her head got a little cold, so she made herself some wonderful scarves to wear. I just had to send her a toque and matching scarf like the ones the Canadian athletes wore in the 2011 Olympics. She loved them!

Near her birthday in 2012, all the treatments were over. With doctor visits now only every three months, she decided she needed a treat, a really big treat. So in June 2012, she took a two week holiday with her son and visited family in Oregon and Washington states. But she said her biggest gift to herself was coming to Canada for the first time. We hadn't seen each other for almost 12 years and we had a wonderful time visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver Aquarium and Steveston Harbour in Richmond. It was one of the best times I ever had.

So last weekend was a special day for me with many, many thanks to God for letting my sister stay here with me.

Linda Brenner


  1. So very happy for you Linda that there has been a positive outcome to your sister's ordeal.. hoping for Many More birthdays for you to celebrate with her... family is... well family....

  2. Thank you for sharing this very touching story. Almost all of us have had friends, family and loved ones who have gone through a bout with cancer. Today research has made huge strides in helping people live with this disease. She is so lucky to have such a loving sister and also her family.

  3. I am so pleased you shared this Linda. We sometimes forget how fragile life is and how important family is. I am glad your sister has passed her first milestone and wish her no setbacks. I am delighted for both of you that you got to have an "in the flesh" visit.
    Sue T.

  4. It was good to read about your sister and her success in fighting cancer. I am happy you had such a good visit together!


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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

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