Friday, August 28, 2009

The Beginning of the End - The Word "Cure"

I chuckled a bit when the system wanted to check the name of this blog for availability. I know other people that have a sister named Clyde but they're all my siblings. At some point I'll get with the discussion about the name thing, but the subject of this blog isn't names.

This story, for me anyway, starts with a phone call to my apartment in Boulder, CO, in January of 1989. It was my Mom calling to inform me that my sister Clyde, Rae Ellen really, had been diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. For most people that won't mean much beyond the knowledge that Lymphoma means cancer. In 1989, having grown up in the '60's and '70's, cancer meant death.

So the journey begins.

For me, the journey hasn't been all that involved. I live 1000 miles away. I haven't had several (read many) rounds of chemo. My hair has never fallen out. The journey has been all Clyde's. Twenty-one years of journey - that's a long time.

For family, it's been a gloriously long time. As many people are aware, when you're not a doctor or other qualified health-care provider, there's little you can do for a cancer patient. We're all deeply grateful that Clyde is still with us. Grateful that her will and fortitude have helped her endure all the un-pleasantries that go along with the label of "Cancer Survivor". Grateful that now, after 21 years (long or short depending on your perspective), the doctors treating her have mentioned the word "cure".

"The Beginning of the End" may seem an ominous title for a blog post about a sister with cancer but understand, this is not about the end for the sister. It's about the end for the sister's cancer.

Over the next month or so, a different approach is going to be employed to treat and ultimatley cure Clyde. I'll do my best to keep the world informed about the progress as we tread off into the previously unknown territory of t-cell transplants.

The writing won't be professional but the subject matter should be gripping.

Be well.