The original idea behind my flat angels was to send them around the world and see where they traveled – similar to the Flat Stanley project that many elementary schools use to study geography. Well, no one ever wanted to send them on! So now I send them to friends as good luck angels. This one is going to Colorado, and hopefully she will bring Barbara back to her house in Haystack.
This angel went to Amarillo, TX, to my sister. She’s going to help my sister get through chemo, since I can’t be there to drive her around, yell at her when I think she’s doing the wrong thing (so I’m sure she’s grateful to have the angel instead!), and cry with her. Her hair is on the fragile side (as is my sister’s; she’s already losing hers) as I felted it onto her head. I probably just didn’t work on it long enough… but from now on, I think I’ll stick to sewing yarn hair onto the angels.
This is certainly not what I want to do with this angel. How can my baby sister get so sick? Without any visible signs? Thank the Goddess that she gets regular checkups, and that most of this will be covered by her health insurance. And thank the Goddess also, that she is being so positive about this experience, and is confident that she will beat those recalcitrant cells in her body into submission.
In January, she was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer, the most common stage of disease identified at the time of diagnosis. Her doctor says she has a good chance of recovery (75-90% chance of five year survival), and her overall health is excellent, which improves her odds. It still seems unreal to me; I want to be positive and upbeat, but then I turn to tears as I think about what she means to me, what she’s going through, and how losing her would affect me. I can’t imagine growing old without her.
Last week in class, we had a discussion about citizen journalists, during which one of the topics that came up, is “how much do you reveal about yourself”. This is one of those times, when I struggled with how much to reveal about my sister’s illness and how it’s affecting me. I haven’t said much to people at home about this, because it’s so surreal, and so many people are affected by similar scenarios, that the reaction I get when I do say something, is a distancing “don’t tell me” body language. So if I haven’t said much in my real life, why should I mention this in my online life? Because women (and the men that love them) need to know about Ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer sneaks up and gets you when you’re not looking. The symptoms are not very specific, and there’s no reliable screening test yet. It is most often diagnosed in women over 50, but younger women can be diagnosed with it too. There’s no known cause, and it’s difficult to detect and diagnose until late in the illness. The biggest risk factor seems to be a history of cancer, either an earlier bout with cancer or your mother, daughter, or sister has/had ovarian cancer. My mother had ovarian cancer, but I didn’t realize the risk involved for me or my sister; in fact, until this happened, I’d forgotten all about my mom’s bout with it.
The links below have considerable information about ovarian cancer. You need to figure out your risk factor, and act accordingly. Me, I’m making a doctor’s appointment, and I’ll see the doc when I get home from Ireland. I have a low risk factor because (TMI* time!) I’ve had a tubal ligation, but the symptoms are so non-specific that I need to set my mind at rest. I don’t want to be making any Get Well Flat Angel for myself!
*acronyms bite sometimes! TMI=too much information