As I write this column, I’m visiting with my sister through a closed bedroom door. I’ve written about her before — when she went into heart failure shortly after having her fifth baby last June then in the following months when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Since then, many of you have expressed concern and sent well wishes. I’m grateful for all of you. It’s a blessing to feel support from friends and even strangers during times of suffering.
I wanted to give you an update on her situation and send our gratitude for all of your kindnesses.
Casandra had her thyroid removed in December, and in the process her vocal chords were paralyzed. She’s had some movement return in one vocal chord, allowing her to speak again. She still wheezes from lack of airflow because the vocal chords can’t expand to allow air into her lungs.
But she’s never complained about that. She’s happy with her progress.
This week, she received her radioactive iodine treatment to kill off any remaining cancer. Following a two-week special diet, she got her treatment Wednesday. That means she has to stay in quarantine for 48 hours, then she can only be within six feet of adults — no children — for a week.
That brings us to now.
She’s radioactive and a little lonely. She sits alone on a cot in my mom’s spare bedroom all day and all night until the toxic chemicals run their course.
So we’re talking through the door.
And the topic has turned to darkness. How we always use expressions, like “come into the light,” and “shed light on it.”
Sunlight is a metaphor for happiness.
But there’s no escaping darkness, and while we shouldn’t plan on living in the gloom, there are lessons to be learned there.
Sometimes we try so hard to avoid feeling malaise we miss the insight and personal growth that only comes through times of great hardship.
We realize during those times what’s most important in our lives. We strengthen our relationship with deity. And we find out who we are, deep down in our core.
This darkness has tested and fortified our faith, our patience and love. And through it all, her baby, Maggie Lou, has shined as a beacon, proving that hope and laughter — and chubby little legs — can break through any clouds of woe.
Throughout this past year and a half, the joy has eclipsed the heartache, there has been wisdom in the darkness.
But, truth be told, I’m hoping and praying this is the final stage in her recovery, that her health will be restored. I’m ready for sunlight.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.