Go Big or Go Home

It is an understatement to say that 2023 is not my sister’s year but there is no better way to describe it. Clearly, my sister was going big...not that this was by choice!

From severe abdominal pain in January to having 3 organs removed by June, to starting chemotherapy. It is only July. I know that even though she shows the world her Dana smile there is a lot going on in that head of hers. That is how I would be if I were her. I would be researching everything, trying to be aware of every scenario, worrying about what is next, and probably preparing for the worst so that if the worst doesn’t come things look really good. That is how I would be if I were her.

I am not her, so I feel oddly disconnected from emotion around Dana’s diagnosis. I was with her when she read the pathology report and when the surgeon called to talk about it. It seemed like hearing the word lymphoma should elicit a certain emotion like shock, sadness, or anger. Yet, I listened intently and calmly to what the surgeon said. I have also listened intently and calmly to Dana recount her first and second oncology appointments. Not having a strong emotion about this situation has bugged me at times, given me guilt, and made me feel like something is wrong with me, but here is what I believe:

  1. Faith in God is strong, my faith, my sister’s, and my family’s. He has a plan, or as Dana might say, SHE has a plan. While this is going to suck in so many ways, we will all grow and learn together and that makes our faith, our love, and our bond stronger.
  2. My belief in science is resolute. I have several friends and acquaintances who have fought cancer and thrived. Science is an amazing gift that will now help my sister to kick the shit out of lymphoma.
  3. Dana is without a doubt the strongest person I know. Dana and I have a running joke, especially in the churches she has served, about who is older. Technically I am, everyone thinks she is. I have learned so much from her, so now, she is my cool older sister who can get through anything.

Just know that if you talk to me about this and I am calm and unemotional, it isn’t because I don’t care, it is because I know that everything will be okay. I am hearing the positive points in every doctor’s appointment and will continue to find the positive points on the worst days because there is always a silver lining or a ray of sunshine.

4 responses to “Go Big or Go Home”

  1. Julie Avatar

    You are correct. Dana is a strong person and her faith in God is strong

  2. Donna Varner Avatar
    Donna Varner

    wow, Denise, you are remarkable.

  3. Sara Avatar

    Great post, Denise- thank you for sharing! ❤️

  4. Margaret Vredeveld Avatar
    Margaret Vredeveld

    Thank you for sharing! I’m so glad Dana and you have each other! I believe I saw you briefly when you brought the bracelets to church Sunday before last. I took two—for me and my husband. God bless you! 💞🙏🏼

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