Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Today would have been my only sister's 68th. Birthday

Happy Birthday Nancy

My only sister died on May 28th . 1983. Her funeral was June 1st. She would have turned 43 in Sept. of 83. She died from breast cancer. Even though she had a radical mastectomy in April of 82, apparently she already had spots in her lungs that the technician did not catch while they did her first chest x-ray when they removed her left breast. It wasn't until Aug. of 82 when she found a lump in the right breast and told the doctor she wanted it removed whether it was cancer or not, she didn't want to worry about it all the time.

Again, as part of the pre op back then, they did a chest x-ray, and found spots in both lungs. Since they wanted to check this out first, they put the breast surgery on hold. They also got out the x-ray from April and since they now knew where the spots were located, they also saw them on the April x-ray. Of course it was a little late to find them now, since her doctor told her they got it all and she wouldn’t need any follow up treatment. So for four months, she received no follow up treatment of any kind, and these spots were just growing.

I kept asking her, are you sure you shouldn’t be doing something more, but she had a lot of faith in her doctor.
The technician got fired, big deal, all he/she had to do was go to another hospital and get hired on. That’s why you need to ask questions. Plus I think doctors now a day seem to start treatments and so forth so much earlier and just seem to take better care in general then they did even 25 years ago. And like my oncologist says, every year they come up with something new or a different way of doing things.

They sent her home, and they started her on some type of chemo, where she would take so many pills a week and several shots. By Thanksgiving she wasn’t improving, so she was sent to a specialist in the field of lung cancer. He started her on some kind of chemo that caused her hair to fall out after the first treatment. Then her husband got laid off work, they had no hospitalization, and when he found a new job several months later, their company would not insure my sister.

Thank goodness her church members, friends and family came together to help them out to pay for the treatments. Also back then she got the treatment at the doctor’s office and I believe it ran around $300.00 including blood work. But it would still take almost all day for it to drip through her body. She did a total of seven treatments, when she found it wasn’t shrinking the tumors; in fact she was getting them all through her esophagus and even had one on the back of her head which was very visible. She said since they weren’t doing any good, and since she was so sick between treatments, why keep doing them. She said she just wanted to live long enough to see her youngest child, a son, turn 16, which he did on April 18th.

The last few months she was alive, I tried to have a small bouquet of flowers sent to her house every two weeks. And I can remember as people came through the line at her viewing, one young woman asked if I was her sister and when I said yes, she said, you’re the one that sent her flowers all the time. She had many, many people, come to her viewing. In fact the funeral director said they usually have to remove pages from the guest book, but they had to add pages to her book.

Her husband was brought up in a German Baptist home; he did not join the church, but instead joined the Church of the Brethren where my sister belonged. But even though he wasn’t a member of the German Baptist, his family was, and almost all that came through the line handed him an envelope which I’m sure was money to help him out with the expenses.
Today would have been my sister’s 68th. ,
Happy Birthday Nancy, Love You

This photo I believe Nancy was around 3 and I was around 7

This photo was taken in Oct. of 82. Nancy and me


Melissa said...

I was thinking today was her birthday. I didn't realize all that about the insurance or Kenny losing his job until I just read this. Of course I was only what, 10 years old back then. I still miss her too.

Gramma Ann said...

It is always sad when we loose a loved one in death. I'm a few years late, but would like to extend my love and sympathy to you Patty. The loving memories we have of our loved ones can always bring us some comfort. The love you had for your sister shines through your memories today.

Abraham Lincoln said...

I miss Nancy too. But not in the same way. I miss being invited to her house for a get together and Ed and Vera would come. I miss going to visit Kenny and Nancy and just talking. I guess I miss her and those times a lot more than I realized.

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

My much belated sympathies, Mrs. L. We never "get over" the loss of our loved ones, nor should we.

Chica said...

Such a touching story, she sounds like a wonderful woman.

Melinda said...

I think I must have blocked out different portions of my life mom, because I too don't remember Kenny losing his job or the details about the insurance issues......but maybe they did not really go around telling us kids all that. I may have also been too caught up in my own world at the time.

I miss her too......and yes the visits ....being invited for the dinners and get togethers. Nancy was the only one in the family who really seemed to keep that tradition going. When she passed away it seemed that was the beginning of the slow end to family visiting family and company coming over.....for dinner or to play cards, etc.

I spent many weeks during many different summers at her house and always enjoyed my time there. Nancy was a "FUN" aunt and always let us do many fun things and activities. She was also a great cook and made many many great meals and desserts.

I still have 2 books she got for me when I was very young....one she gave me at Christmas "Mrs. Wiggs and the Cabbage Patch" and the second was a Bible. Even when we all went camping one summer we STILL made sure to go to church! I will never forget that......we all got ready at the campsite showers to still make it to church on time no matter if we were on a mini-vacation of sorts or not.

Those books have meant a lot to me over the years and still do.....and the Bible actually was part of my life changing around. Nancy really helped bring God into my life and I am forever grateful to her for that.

Martin Stickland said...

Oh boy that is a sad story Patty, she was so young as well. Our thoughts are with you today on what would have been her birthday.

So tragic.


Martin & family

Mississippi Songbird said...

awww. I am so sorry.. I know this must be an especially bittersweet day. I hope all your wonderful memories bring you smiles often of your lovely sister.. God Bless you.. Bunches of hugs....

Libertine said...

I'm sorry you lost your sister so young. I miss my parents the same way you miss your sister. If I were there with you, I'd give you a hug.

You looked a lot like Melissa when you were younger; you have the same smile.

carl h. sr. said...

Happy Birthday Nancy.For you Patty here are
some true and comforting words from New American translation(Catholic).Hope this is not out of line.
Corinthians;And if I have the gift of prophecy
and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge;
if I have all faith so as to move mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own,
and if I hand my body over so that I may boast
but do not have love, I gain nothing.....Love never fails.
If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing;
if tongues, they will cease;
if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing....Love endures all things,Love never fails..So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.

Betsy said...

I'm sorry your sister isn't here to celebrate her day. Losing a loved one is hard. I love the sweet sentiments here of those who knew her. Happy memories are great! Big hugs to you today remembering her!

Jack and Joann said...

I'm for once lost for words to write to you. Such a sad story. Such a wonderful sister. Such a young death that should have been prevented with proper doctor care. I hope time has helped heal your grief over losing her. Peace.

Renie Burghardt said...

What a sad story, Patty. I am so sorry that she didn't have better care. Love the picture of the two of you as little girls. Very sweet. I'm sure you were remembering all the good times together, along with the sad times.

Hugs and prayers,


Rosy said...

Your story about your sister had touch me in a special way and even though I never met her I like to offer my sympathy to you and your family and her friends.

Reader Wil said...

It's a sad story. You two must have been very close. Ypu'll always miss her and especially on this day.She had suffered a lot. How awful to see a loved one suffering and not being able to end it. It was a very good idea to send her flowers. Lots of love Patty! God bless you.

Melinda said...

something else I remember about Nancy....is she was almost always smiling. Even if she was serious her face still looked like she was smiling.

And I will never forget hearing her yell "DANIEL! GO TO THE FIELDS!"

Kathiesbirds said...

What a nice tribute to your sister. What a cautionary tale! I have a younger sister too and I would be devasated without her. She lives far away from me and I only get to see her once a year. We talk on the phone when we can. I miss her very much. I have read Abe's praise of you and seen your lovley photo on his blog. I thought I'd just come over here and say "HI." I love the photo of the 2 of you.

Wanda said...

I was saddened when I read your post about Nancy... How sad to lose a sister. Since my sister and I shared a wonderful day together this week, I realize just how special sisters are. I'm your sister's age..(real close 67)
Patty I love both the pictures of you and your Nancy.

Happy Birthday...I'm so glad we will see out loved ones again someday.


Merle said...

Dear Patty ~~ Wonderful tribute post to your sister and also nice comments from your daughter. I never had a sister and
always wished I had. The photo of you and Nancy as children is priceless - two little beauties. It is such a shame she didn't have much better care. I am glad you all have such lovely memories of her. Too, too sad. Take care, Love,, Merle.

The 4th Sister said...

sweet sisters

Rebeckah said...

She had a beautiful life. Did you ever see the short movie called the dash? I put it on my blog a few weeks ago when our dear neighbor Luella died. It is so good. Go check it out if you have a chance. I am sorry for your loss! God bless.