Living With Two Tough Ladies
I live with two tough ladies who are both fighting disability and disease. My wife, Mary Anne, was diagnosed with breast cancer over two years ago. She had a seven centimeter tumor on her right breast. Initially she underwent two eight week cycles of chemotherapy. Next came a double mastectomy and radiation. Not all the cosmetic surgery went as planned and Maryanne underwent four more surgeries. She exercised throughout all this and lost more than thirty pounds. Perhaps the most impressive thing is the way she cared for our disabled child, Sarah, throughout the entire ordeal. Mary Anne is not only Sarah’s mommy, she is her best friend.
Sarah seemed to be meeting the normal developmental markers until about 15 months. Between 18-24 months she suffered a serious regression in her development. She lost the ability to talk and some physical ability. Initially, she was diagnosed with Autism but subsequent testing later determined that Sarah had Rett Syndrome. Despite her disability and its many problems Sarah has a personality that is like a ray of sunshine. We like to say she is perpetually merry! Much like her mommy she has met each day of her nine years with a “carpe diem” resilience and a smile.
Sadly, Mary Anne’s cancer returned this past year and now is termed metastatic. Scans revealed tumors on the liver, spine, hip, and collar bone. Mary Anne underwent more chemotherapy and has responded very well to it. She continues on a therapeutic treatment regimen every three weeks which brings its own trials. Mary Anne credits Sarah with teaching her how to persevere through the dark moments of fighting cancer. Brightness burns away the moments of obscurity!
It is amazing to see the interaction of Mary Anne and Sarah on a daily basis. Even before their illnesses became known, there was the beautiful bond of mother and child. Sickness has only deepened this bond! Their toughness is found in the way they persevere, smile, and love through the trials they endure. They are teaching me each day to “fight like a girl.”
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.