The sun broke through a thick fog yesterday morning as we made our way to Milwaukee to celebrate my sister Kathy’s last day of chemo.
After 20 weeks of treatment, Kathy deserved much more than a bouquet of flowers, a care package and a trio of surprise visitors to mark the happy milestone. Still, our pop in felt great for all concerned.
We found her sitting calmly as the toxic, life-saving Taxol slowly dripped into her patient veins, pink painted toes and jeweled sandals resting on a slight recline. Her view — crystal blue lake, crisp autumn trees, rising golden sun — belied the epic battle underway inside her as the chemo fought Her2 positive breast cancer cells.
Meanwhile, the patient chatted companionably, answered text messages and contemplated a nap.
Her goddaughter Katherine said Kathy was “flicking this cancer off her like a fly,” amazingly, an accurate description.
With a support crew of her husband Keith and stepson Traveain, Kathy spent the summer without complaint, rotating through weekly doctor appointments and treatments, recovering from major surgery and focusing the bulk of her energy on a three-person daily trivia contest among herself, her ultra competitive sister Jenny and her lifelong friend John.
I stood in line for hours with her outside Miller Park earlier this summer as we waited for the gates to open for a Paul McCartney Concert. An unforgiving sun beat mercilessly down and all around us people whined bitterly. I may have mentioned the heat a time or two myself, but Kathy, who probably shouldn’t have been in the sun at all and wore a stifling baseball hat/thick wig on her head, never said a negative word.
We watched the sun climb again yesterday and saluted Kathy’s September triumph. She has another surgery and six weeks of radiation ahead of her.
Today, though, we’re celebrating Kathy, a strong, funny, sweet, wise, positive role model, who is one step closer to flicking this cancer off her for good.