Fighting Cancer with a Loved One

Today was my annual mammogram. I am thankful for the friendly technician, her efficiency and skills.

This visit was very significant for me BECAUSE my sister-in-law, Bindy, underwent a mastectomy two weeks ago. The lymph node status was discouraging, resulting in yesterday’s full body CAT scan (Computed Axial Tomography.)

Bindy has been through five crazy years.

It started on June 14, 2002 when she woke up with a tortuous headache, which quickly proceeded to a grand mall seizure and unconsciousness.

My brother, who is a respiratory therapist, was home and able to do CPR with competence until the ambulance arrived.

The paramedics intubated and transported her to the closest Emergency Room where they quickly diagnosed a brain aneurysm. The mortality rate is high and one out of three survivors sustains permanent disabling neurological symptoms.

An airlift to Harb*rview H*spital in Seattle and the skilled hands of one of the four top Neurosurgeons in the U.S. saved her life.

The hospital staff called Bindy their ‘Miracle” when she woke up within 36 hours of the surgery with everything intact. The only obvious side effect is her inability to deal with stressful situations. She did not return to her teaching career.

In the almost five years since then, she has had two additional major surgeries and a heart attack. No smoking, no drinking, whole grains, low or non fat healthy cooking is a way of life for Bindy and my brother ever since they were married thirty-some years ago. The hubby and I are mystified as to how one person can be so conscientious and yet so afflicted.

Today she told me she feels the strain of being on the front line of battle. Nevertheless, she is ready and willing to march into this fight with every weapon her physicians can provide. She is depending on Her Faith in God for strength, once more, to endure.

Cancer is a menace in my family as it is in so many of yours. My cousin died of breast cancer. My eldest sister, Nelda, died 13 years ago of leukemia. Her husband, NJ, survived prostrate cancer, and their eldest son, Scott, is still in remission from testicular cancer. My 29 year old nephew, Rich, died almost two years ago of a rare form of lung cancer. My brother-in-law, BR, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer one year ago last week. His wife, my sister Sandra, fought breast cancer 20 years ago and survived.

It was in Sandra’s honor and for my daughters and granddaughters that last year I joined the Sister Study, researching the environmental and genetic risk factors of breast cancer.

I recently received an Email from the Sister Study program as follows:

WE NEED YOU NOW MORE THAN EVER to help us recruit women just like you! The Sister Study needs 50,000 women by the end of 2007. We currently have 33,000 women enrolled in the study which means we need to recruit 17,000 more women by the end of this year. Our most successful method of recruitment is through word of mouth, so this is where you can play a pivotal role today.

Through your personal participation in the Sister Study, you are making a tremendous contribution to breast cancer research. But we have another important request. Please forward this email to other women, friends and family members who may be interested. Or give them a call or a brochure about the study (call 1-877-474-7837 for brochures). If each current participant in the Sister Study helps us recruit one other woman this year, we will reach our goal and complete our recruitment phase on time! Remember, breast cancer affects women from every walk of life, so we need women of all backgrounds, occupations, and ethnic groups to join.

The Sister Study is open to all sisters of breast cancer victims - in the United States and in Puerto Rico.

So tonight, on behalf of my lovely sister-in-law, Bindy, who only has brothers – I ask that you please pass the word along.

At a time like this, every woman is her sister.

(Thank you!)


her indoors said…
hope your results are clear, this is uncanny but this is the 2nd post on mammograms, i would gladly be part of the study if i lived nearer, my mother had breast cancer, i have 2 sisters and we are all very much aware of the importance of research.
for a lighter note check photo on my blog, if easily offended dont check it x
Hazel said…
I'm sending up a prayer for Bindy, (she sounds like a survivor)& for her family.

Also, I just passed on the Sister Study nessage to my sister-in-law who lost her big sis to breast cancer. Thanks for getting the word out.
Beccy said…
Unfortunately I live too far away to partake in this great cause.
DesLily said…
I go for a mamagram today also... they are far from fun.. but hopefully we will both be clear.
Susie said…
Bindy sounds like a real fighter. My prayers are certainly with her. Although we have lots of loss in our family due to cancer, thankfully none of them have been from breast cancer.
I'm not clear from the email if the Sister Study is limited to your area or to families affected by breast cancer.
ChrisB said…
pamela your post has left me speechless; there has to be a genetic factor. Bindy has been through so much I'll keep her in my thoughts and prayers; I'll make sure Sam sees this post.
willowtree said…
I've heard that those mamagrams can be really funny, oh wait, you're not talking about the fat old stripper?

Anyway I'm glad that you are more technically advanced than us downunder, our CAT scans consist of letting a stray kitty walk along your back sniffing for carbuncles.

What are you talking about? I am taking this seriously! I too, hope that the results are clear.
willowtree said…
PS, I like the new avatar.
Gattina said…
Every year I have a complete check up done, because in my family especially on my mothers side there have been quite some cancers too ! I think it is very important for a woman to have a check up done each year.
Susie Q said…
I will keep Bindy in my thoughts. She has been through such a rough time and sometimes we just can never understand why. Makes no sense does it?
I have a friend who just turned 40, she has been fighting breast cancer for 2 years. Another friend has a daughter, 27, who is fighting it as well. My cousin is a survivor.

The study is an amazing thing and does so much good. There is genetic links to such things...the studies are so needed. Thank you for your part!

I love the new picture on your profile!

Ooh...your clematis is gorgeous!

Have a sweet rest of the weekend!

angel said…
wow pamela, thats a lot to deal with in 5 short years...! she sounds like an incredible woman!
Karmyn R said…
How come I didn't know Scott had testicular cancer? Or did I and just forgot? Great post, mom - I hope I NEVER have to participate in the Sister Study.
Randi said…
Thanks so much for helping us spread the word about the Sister Study! Here's a little more info for those of you who posted comments that you would be interested in the study if you lived in Pamela's area: The Sister Study is still looking for 13,000 women from all across the U.S. and Puerto Rico whose sisters had breast cancer, but who haven't had it themselves. It is a national effort to determine the environmental and genetic causes of the disease and is being conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of NIH. For more information you can go to our website at
Chloe said…
How would you like to make a difference in breast cancer research? The Sister Study needs your help to determine if breast cancer is caused by something women come in contact with at work, at home, in their communities or in the personal products they use.

The Sister Study is looking for 50,000 women to help discover the environmental and genetic causes of the disease. Women ages 35 to 74 are eligible to join if their sister (living or deceased), related to them by blood, had breast cancer; they have never had breast cancer themselves; and they live in the United States or Puerto Rico.

ENROLL TODAY or simply help spread the word to women in your community! Either way, you can help find the causes of breast cancer!!

For more information visit or Call toll-free 1-877-4SISTER. Deaf/Hard of Hearing call 1-866-TTY-4SIS.

Popular posts from this blog

Sing in Spring

An Old Cold Spot

Earth Friendly