Thursday, March 3, 2011

It’s my sister’s birthday!

My big sis is a year older today.  She always celebrates throughout the entire month of March.  And why not?  I only wish I had thought of the idea first. Birthdays are wonderful!

I wish we could put on huge bashes for every birthday.  A big party is such a cool way to celebrate life and relationships.  The alternative, of course, is to just celebrate the whole month. 

My sister was misdiagnosed several years ago with panic attacks.  She began biofeedback therapy to try controlling her reactions to … fear?  But the panic attacks weren’t happening when she was anxious.  Unfortunately, her doctor heard her describe, with fear, the events of being unable to speak or move and assumed it was fear that stopped her from speaking and moving.  But who wouldn’t be upset at random bursts of paralysis? Two years later, while her husband was deployed and her son was on a missionary trip, she fell to the floor of her kitchen with a grand mal seizure.

She was flown to the hospital where it was discovered she had a very large brain tumor that had been growing unchecked for all that time in spite of the petite seizures that could have allowed for earlier detection if the doctor hadn’t written her off as another woman with anxiety issues.—Do you detect a touch of bitterness?  I share it with most of my family members except the one to whom it is most entitled.

It was a dramatic time, facing the possible loss of such a wonderful person who really was the glue of our family.  She is the one who maintains relationships with the scattered members of our large family.  She is the one who has shown loyalty and acceptance when someone has ‘strayed.’  She is the go-to gal in any situation.  And we realized we might lose her.

I think each family member walked through a very private time during that month or so of acute uncertainty.  We tend to live life oblivious to its gifts.  My sister’s illness shook us from that state of grace to one where we are actively thankful for family, friends and life.

Now we celebrate another birthday for her—one we may not have had without God’s merciful ordering of events.  Her prognosis is a shortened life full of daily meds with a high likelihood of the tumor returning.  This awareness affects the decisions she makes with her husband about their future.  I would prefer to forget it all, but she never can.

So, we live with gratefulness, knowing each day is a gift.  This day, indeed the whole month, is worthy of celebration.

Happy birthday, Diane!


  1. You made me cry. I just love your family. I am so blessed to have been given the chance to meet all of you. Thank you for sharing.
    love always

  2. I've read this before, but not commented. To be fair to my doctor (she is a PA), I had researched panic attacks and went in with myself pre-diagnosed. She only agreed with me. :)

    Lesson learned. I am not really a doctor. I just play one in my imagination. :)


Thanks for taking the time to talk with me!