Posted by Tammy Adams in Uncategorized April 12, 2013
Many nights as a child, I slept clutching my sister’s nightgown, for fear the dark shadows would peel off the walls and take her away. Being only seventeen months apart, I don’t know a life without her in it. She’s my best friend, my confidant, my champion…meet my little sister Tricia.
Tricia was a shy child, painfully so, for she buried her face in my shoulder blades and whispered what she wanted me to say. In contrast, Momma claims I could talk a cow to sleep. To be clear, this is a theory that has never been tested. Growing up, Tricia hated conflict, when bullied she ran to me, and I tortured that bully with my talking, which put many bullies on the righteous path.
Tricia grew up faster than I, common when it comes to the youngest, like a race car careening behind the one in front, with little wind resistance. All of the teenage milestones from wearing makeup to dating, she did earlier. She also became a mother at the tender age of 18.
Caleb changed my sister for the better. She became confident and found her voice in motherhood. Sometimes, it’s finding what you’re meant to do, when you find out who you truly are.
Tricia married Thomas Baines, and they later added two more children to their nest. Their son Cody is now 18 years old, and a daughter named Peyton who is 8. After Peyton’s birth, Thomas, a firefighter, was diagnosed with MS. The news sent my sister reeling with the reality she could be left to raise the children on her own.
As life would have it, disease was not done with the Baines family yet. In January of 2010, Tricia found a lump in her right breast, and in February she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer Stage 3.
I attempted to convince her to move in with me. I scheduled a face to face with one of MD Anderson’s top breast cancer doctors, only to have her sit me down that night.
“You cannot save me,” Tricia said. “I have to go home to Virginia and do treatment there.”
“But it’s my job.” I swallowed back the words.
She returned to Virginia for treatment. After a double mastectomy, the strongest chemotherapy available, and radiation, Tricia was released with a pat on her back and a good luck, but just as her hair began to grow back in she found another lump.
Once again, she was in the valley. Who knew cancer could grow in a breast removed? It was spreading rapidly through the vast organ of skin. She was diagnosed the second time around with Triple Negative Breast Cancer Stage 4. I rolled up my sleeves and went to work getting Tricia moved into my home. This time I insisted she go to MD Anderson, and everyone agreed.
I decorated a room for Peyton and enrolled her in my sons’ school. Consecutively, for three weeks, Tricia had chemotherapy, with one week off. At first, the cancer on her abdomen seemed to be breaking down as her skin tissue softened, but in January there were new cancer spots sprouting in other areas. Her body was building a resistance to the chemo.
On January 24th, Dr. Shah examined Tricia’s skin mets. She explained she needed to take her off the chemotherapy and administer it again when the cancer entered her organs and bones. The word “when” hung heavily in the air. It was clear the doctors didn’t know what else to do for her but wait for the inevitable.
That afternoon, Tricia thought of her daughter Peyton. She was only eight and needed a mother. Her husband already dealing with MS would be left to raise a daughter on his own. Her sons would maneuver marriage and start families without her guidance. Throughout all of this, January 24th is the only day I’ve seen my sister mourn her situation. She is a fighter and always cheerful, no matter what the circumstance.
Since January, we’ve reminded ourselves God is good. His mercy is great. He is the great Creator and Healer. Although He provides the light in the valley of the shadow of death, it only shows you where to place your foot, for to illuminate the whole valley would overwhelm us. It requires faith to follow God without knowing the end.
Recently God has shown us the next step, and we are stepping out. Tricia met a breast cancer survivor at Peyton’s school who went to Germany for a treatment called Hyperthermia. After two trips to the hospital in Germany, she returned home and found her cancer in remission.
There is hope for my sister, but hope comes at a great financial cost.
The two treatments may cost upwards of $40,000, and we are unable to send her without financial help. If you are able to contribute to help my sister and her family, it would be greatly appreciated and rewarded. For I know God blesses those who bless others.
We do not know who will read this, but can only pray you are touched by our story. My hope is one day I will be able to thank you personally for any contribution you may make on our behalf. If you cannot contribute, please say a prayer for my sister.
Tricia has touched many with her positive attitude and her loving spirit. Prayers are lifted all over the United States for her recovery. To be honest, cancer is the biggest bully of all, and my attempts to save her have failed. I am only a sister who is her constant voice, and continuing to desperately clutch her nightgown.
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