Mon, 31 December 2007
As is always the case when a family member says that they have something to tell you, you mentally prepare yourself for all sorts of unsettling news. My Mom and Dad normally just blurt it out with no preamble necessary. This news was shocking. They held an uncomfortable pause then informed me that my Aunt Wendy has breast cancer. WHAT?!? Is she sure? How? When? **deep breath**. Much as I didn’t want to hear the rest, it’s true. On December 8th she found a suspicious lump. December 12th she had 2 mammograms and an ultrasound. On December 14th, a biopsy, and finally on December 18th test results revealed cancer…ductile carcinoma. The oncologist determined that it is stage III cancer from which 1 in 30 patients survive. Since the cancer has spread to her lymphnodes, there is a risk that the cancer is in other parts of her body, all of which will be tested over the next few days.
Apparently Aunt Wendy has had this for quite a while undetected. Regular mammograms cannot detect some kinds of cancer. A simple ultrasound would have revealed the issue, but this is not a standard procedure in preventative care. I’ve got a couple of doctors in the family, so I’ll try not to pretend to be one. However, I can’t stay away from Google and its ability to find guidance that shows women should be getting ultrasounds in addition to their mammograms, and that the National Cancer Institute is testing a variety of methods of detection. Plus, it is very likely there is a link between prolonged use of the pill and breast cancer. This is enough sour grapes (I guess) on how she got here.
Let me give my personal testimony about Aunt Wendy before I ask for prayers for her. Wendy Vosper (nee Rzepkowski) has been my kindred spirit from birth. She became my aunt on her 10th birthday in 1975, giving us a closeness in age that almost makes her a big sister. Ever since then, she has given me a special kind of unconditional love that no parent, wife or even my own children can offer. When I was a kid, she was the “cool aunt” who would play with me when my parents had enough. Christmas time was ALWAYS my favorite because she went nuts for it. From her famously over-taped wrappings, to the ever-present stuffed animals (she’s a stuffed animal freak), Christmas was a spectacle.
As we grew older, Aunt Wendy became a stunning beauty who always had a boyfriend. That didn’t stop her from taking my sister and I with her on dates to the Putt-Putt or the ice cream parlor. Through my most awkward teenage years, she was the one who built me up and called me handsome, even though I always felt like such a dork. That kind of encouragement from someone so beautiful on the outside showed me what I always knew – how beautiful she is on the inside. In adulthood, Aunt Wendy has remained a positive influence on my life. She, along with my grandmother have the most faith-filled life of anyone I know. Through the ups and downs of money, marriage, and jobs I can always talk to Aunt Wendy about anything. After we talk, we always come out the other side knowing that we’re there for each other.
Now is my time to be there for her. If there is anything I’ve learned from Aunt Wendy, it is how to be there for someone you love. We live far apart, so I can’t physically be in South Carolina with her. The best I can do is pray to God every day, and ask that he take me to be with she who has been my Guardian Angel in her times of need. I ask everyone who reads this blog entry to add my Aunt Wendy to your prayers. Ask that God’s will be done, and that his grace be given to someone who so deserves it. Aunt Wendy has the fight of her life ahead of her, our collective prayers will give her strength. If you’d like to provide direct words of encouragement to Aunt Wendy, view her CarePage where she will be keeping us up to date on her treatment.
This summer, I had the chance to be a part of her wedding to Ian Vosper. At the time I’m sure ‘in sickness and in health’ was furthest from both of their minds. Now Ian has to provide her with support. Please pray for Ian to be strong to support Aunt Wendy. Pray for God’s grace on Ian as he takes on a bigger challenge than he has ever had to tackle.
I’m hoping through this to continue to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure who seems to provide some of the best information and support for those who battle breast cancer.