This Life...

Time to Fight, Fight, Fight

With permission, I’m going to tell you about what’s been going on in my world for the last few weeks and why I haven’t been as a good a blogger as usual. I’m having a tough time focusing on much of anything right now because my heart and mind are so absorbed by my sister/friend, Dee. She’s in trouble…medical trouble. After seven arduous weeks of testing that included two weeks at Mayo Clinic, she’s been diagnosed with liposarcoma of the retroperitoneum. Google it if you want more details, but suffice to say, she has a malignant tumor in the back of her abdominal cavity and it’s sort of taken over her insides to the point that surgery isn’t an option. In the next couple of weeks, she starts chemo, probably an aggressive treatment, and chemo most likely will be followed by radiation.

Dee has cancer.

What terrifying words. Dee has cancer. My Dee, whose vitality and energy has been my inspiration to get off my ass and move for damn near thirty years, is now exhausted from weeks of biopsies and laparoscopic explorations into her small body. She’s always been slender, but now she’s just plain thin and anticipating the loss of her hair, which is rightfully a point of vanity for her. Her hair is gorgeous, thick and a naturally lovely combination of white and grey. People stop her in the grocery to ask her who does her hair color and she just smiles and replies, “God.” Now she knows she’ll be losing it and has already said that she’ll shave her head and wear a wig.

With that one declaration, “I’ll shave my head and wear a wig,” I knew that she’d come home from Mayo ready to fight for her life. And by God, I intend to fight with her. I’ve never done this before—fought with a friend through cancer. Although I’ve known people with cancer, I’ve never been so close to the battle. But I can’t imagine letting her to do this without me.

So Dee, here’s my promise to you. I’ll be there for you. I’m ready to fight. Ready to make you tasty meals and food that will strengthen and nourish your body, ready to drive you to treatment and hold your hand as you sit through hours of a chemo drip. Ready to hold the puke bucket if you need it, although I’m praying you won’t because I know how much you hate to barf. I’ll be there to listen and be your confident as I have always been. I’ll be right there to laugh with you, pray with you, cry with you… I’ll be by your side whenever you need me.

I’m here, baby. I love you and I will fight with all my heart for you. We will win this wicked battle and in thirty years, we’ll be on the porch, drinking wine and laughing, getting just buzzed enough to shout “f*** you” at folks who drive by and dare to make fun of two old ladies in rocking chairs. We’re gonna be there, Mon Amie—exactly like we’ve always planned.



  • Susanne

    I went through something similar with my sister (breast cancer, she’s okay now) so I have a sense of what you’re going through. Big hug to you and a double hug to your sister.

    I’ll give you a wonderful piece of advice that worked for us. I’d ask my sister if she wanted anything, and she pretty well always said no. No appetite. Well, I’d just quietly leave a little something by her bedside and leave the room. In about five minutes, I’d hear the sound of the fork against the china. She nibbled away.

    A friend of mine had a different way of eating. When her appetite failed her two forkfuls into the meal, she got up from the table, went for a little walk, came back, ate a little more.


  • KarenB

    I just hate that anyone ever has to go through this. FGBVs and prayers for the both of you.

    I can recommend the cookbook “One Bite at a Time” by Rebecca Katz – it’s specifically written for cancer patients and has some fabulous recipes.

  • Deb Huffer

    Nancy – Positive thoughts and prayers are with you and your sister for all of the energy and sister power you need to be together and conquer the battle!!! Know you can do it.

    • Nan

      Thanks everyone for your prayers and good energy. I know Dee feels blessed to have so many people all over the country praying for healing and health. And I am so blessed as well to have such a wondrous support system in my life. I’ll update as we go along.

  • robena grant

    Hugs to you both, Dee and Nan. I love your positive attitude, and Dee’s willingness to fight such a tough battle. I’m praying for your friend. I’m sending strength to you. It won’t be easy but knowing she has you by her side will be huge.


    Nan…sorry you and your friend have to go through this…she is mighty lucky to have you by her side….keep positive thoughts going and we will pray for her to get through this battle! There are many survivors out there….remember that! “HUG”

  • Skye

    Many cancer-fighting thoughts to Dee and lots of energetic thoughts to you, Nan. Dee is lucky to have you in her life, to help her through. Just remember to take breaks, too. you need to recharge your own energy in order to give any to her.

    Chemo and radiation places often have wigs, hats, and scarves for use of the patients for as long as they need them. My mom used those. Also, I spent an afternoon with a friend dying scarves to give my mom interesting headscarves to wear: I gave all but one of them to the radiation facility, so I’d have one of my own to remember her by.

    Remember that sometimes she won’t be able to eat the nourishing food you bring her: try ice cream at such times. Whatever she can eat, let her eat that.

    And feel free to email and chat if you want to vent or ask questions; even though my situation didn’t turn out well, I still remember it all vividly. You can even call me if you like (I’ll give you my phone number over email if you want it). We are all here for you, so you can be there for Dee.

  • Liz Flaherty

    I”m sorry this is happening to both of you, but I know you well enough, Nan, to say with a clear conscience and without doubt you will do exactly this–give’em hell, girls.

    Prayers are with you.