Saturday, July 3, 2010

My youngest sister: some news

I've been trying to get used to having only one sister, but it's not working.  It would probably be easiest if I could forget, but so far, no luck.

My youngest sister, Carla, 6 years my junior, was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor in December 08.  Not long afterward, she made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with my parents or me or my other sister, Martine.  Of course there's a lot more to it, but all that really matters is that we have had essentially no contact since November 09.

It's pretty awful.  I never know what to say really when people ask me about her, since honestly, I don't know.  It's not like we were that close in the years leading up to her diagnosis, but I did expect to be of assistance to her in some way.  Somehow as her big sister that seemed right.

But it is emphatically not what she wants.  

Not a day goes by that I don't think about her.  I confess to holding my breath a little when reading the obituaries (which I've always done), fully expecting that when that time comes, I'll read about it like every other stranger opening the paper to that page.

In all of this, I have been conscious of how deeply this hurts my parents.  I can easily put myself in their place, imagine the degree of pain I would feel were my own child to push me out of his life in this manner when facing a life-threatening illness.  I would be out of my mind with grief.  As they are, though putting a brave face on it as always, staying strong and bright and beautiful in the face of it, always an inspiration.

Now finally there's some news.  

I am sharing it here even though I have mixed feelings about doing so.  After all, it wasn't written to me and people are entitled to their privacy, right?  Yeah, no, I don't agree.  As it turns out, I do feel like I owe something to the family we grew up in, not just our parents, but the many loving neighbors and friends who, in addition to our parents, brought us up in this world.  I'm re-posting the news here so that all of you who've been asking and wondering can know as much as we do.  

Even though my sister has effectively disowned us, she is still alive and kicking.  That's just so great.  It made me so happy to read her words, to hear her voice after such a long silence.  Even though she was quite deliberately not talking to us.

So here she is, my baby sister, Carla Marcella:
Well, after three months of enjoying life sans chemotherapy, I just had another MRI on June 28th. After Dr. Clarke (my neuro-oncologist) presented my case to the tumor board at UCSF last night, the consensus was that I should go back on the Avastin chemotherapy. The most recent scan showed vascular leakage which indicates tumor growth and the medical team does not think that a "watch-and-see" kind of approach is prudent. So I will begin the same chemotherapy regime first thing next week - an hour-long infusion of the medication once every two weeks for four treatments (8 weeks in total) followed by another MRI to ascertain the status of the tumors.
Once again Sidino, Elizabeth and I will be living life in 8 week increments, always awaiting the results of the next MRI. I will admit that I was disappointed at the news, but then I quickly returned to thankfulness as the Lord has provided some form of treatment for me. I also continue to pray that whatever progress I make and whatever we learn from my treatment experience will help other people in their battle with this disease. I am also thankful that we will not need to add any additional chemo treatment on top of the Avastin which notoriously causes weakening of the white blood cell count & entire immune system.
On a lighter note, I am continuing with my pottery class and would love making something for my wonderful family and friends. It'll also help me to not riddle our cupboards with cups and bowls (which drives Sidino nuts!) Please let me know if there is something you'd like me to make for you and I'll begin working on it right away. I made a set of Winnie the Pooh bowls for Elizabeth, a butter dish for Sylvia, a flower vase for Cathe and a platter for Gabrielle. I can make pretty much anything (within reason of course!) and would love your ideas!
Thank you for all of your warm thoughts and prayers and may God Bless each and every one of you!


Hilary Hattenbach said...

Well, she's a Trélaün whether she likes it or not. Such an articulate and well composed email. Thanks for the update, Ariane. I think about Carla from time to time and hope she's doing okay. I'm happy to hear she's making pottery and being creative. She's very talented, just like her sisters.
Big hug. xoxo

Katherine said...

I must agree with Hilary. Very eloquent and sharp as a tack! A true Trelaun! I've often thought about how things are with Carla and know it's been a difficult journey for you and your parents since she has chosen to cease contact. It's a shame and very sad. But I continue to pray for her recovery and hope that everyone can find some type of comfort and peace through all of this. Much love to you!!!