Sara Whitman

Bad News

Filed By Sara Whitman | May 12, 2010 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: bad news, cancer treatment, chemotherapy, ill sister, sick sister

Sorry, but I have bad news. I hate bad news. But you know, when I'm gone for a while, it usually means bad news.

chemotherapy.jpgMy sister starts chemo this week. It is hard to be hopeful, but hopeful is what we have to be. She's been slowly feeling worse and worse over the last month. Now we know why. It was much easier to think she had caught germs from one of the kids but that was wishful thinking.

I want to be confident she will be fine, that this is a minor bump in the road and there is much road to travel still. The house directly behind us is for sale and we looked at it together a couple weekend ago- for a brief moment, I saw her in it, the kids running back and forth between the houses, a happy moment for all.

That's not going to happen. (Mostly because the people selling it are nuts and asking about 200K more than it's worth) House hunting needs to be on hold for a while.

I wish I could know, just know, what was going to happen. I honestly can deal with whatever comes our way, but a little heads up would be nice. Because instead, I start to write the whole story in my head, and I'm not what you would call an optimist.

How much do I tell the kids? The word "chemo" makes no sense to Jake, but the other two know exactly what it is. How do I frame it so they don't get scared- or is it ok for them to be scared?

How do I best support my sister? Do I play Suzy Sunshine? As if she wouldn't see through that in about half a second. Sometimes she wants answers, sometimes she does not. I want to be a good advocate for her and not push her to a place she doesn't want to go.

I have no answers. Just a lot of questions. She starts tomorrow so please send all the best loving, positive thoughts her way. She's a Jesus/God/Religion person- prayers are welcome, too.

Recent Entries Filed under Living:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


My best to both you and your sister. I lost a sister to cancer, but know others who have beat it, including my former wife. Hang in there and drop me a note if you want a sympathetic ear.

Our thoughts are with you, Sara!

All I can really do is suggest you don't lie to the kids about what is going on. Oh, wait, I've got another, try to be genuinely positive. This may sound like woo, but having a positive attitude really does help improve the chances. After all, the cancer was caught and treatment is being done. Doctors don't put people through chemo unless there's a real chance.

Both of you and the kids are in my thoughts and prayers

Michael @ | May 12, 2010 8:20 PM

Sent, with my hand on your heart.

holding each of you, and everyone together, in the light!

Tom Brown | May 13, 2010 7:09 AM

One thing you can do is be a fierce advocate for your sister in the healthcare system, making sure the doctors, hospital and especially the insurance providers do the right thing. My prayers for you and your sister and the children.

thank you all for your kind words.

I did tell the kids that she was having chemo, that it was a way to make the cancer go into remission. And remission doesn't mean cured, it means at bay.

Day one went well, no reactions. She's tired and scared.

the two of us have been through the wringer before and made it out. we'll get through this, too.

the reality is, this is what the rest of her life will be like. chemo, perhaps stem cell replacement... I am grateful she is at one of the very best cancer centers in the world- the Dana Farber. I cannot tell you how great they are.

as for the insurance? that's why she moved to massachusetts. she's covered. always will be. it's the law.

My brother went through chemo and radiation treatment at Dana Farber in Milford last year.They are great at what they do hopefully things will go well for your sister but bear in mind you must take care of yourself to.Good luck to both of you