For My Sister, Kristi
As many know, I joke about being a strange, ADHD kid. I didn’t really fit in with the other kids and was really, really small for my age. I was bullied and very much a loner. Growing up, my closest friend was my middle sister, Kristi who is 2 1/2 years younger. She was the golden child- blond hair, blue eyes and very, very sweet. She was so easy-going that she was often frustrated by other kids, so my easy-going, but, hyper personality was preferable to them and we were happy to hang out together.
We grew up in a very rural area of upper Michigan and spent our days playing make believe in the fields and forests around our house on Lake Michigan. When we did move to higher population areas, first in Oregon and then in Virginia, we still hung out with each other than our school mates, even though we attended different schools.
I was the maid of honor at Kristi’s wedding to her husband, Jim and we’d visit when I’d come out to Oregon to visit about once a year. We’d pick up like we’d never been apart, which is common for sisters. I was happy to see that she and our youngest sister, Kimberly, became very close as they had grown up and they have continued with that relationship. It’s hard not to like Kristi, she is simply “likeable”.
She turned 43 this year and as she’s always been a bit of a health-nut, appeared to be in the prime of her life. She had no clear “cancer indicators” when she started having symptoms in January and it wasn’t until February that the doctor’s discovered she had what appeared to be colon cancer. Within weeks, scans came back showing she not only had colon cancer, it had spread to her liver.
Both my parents have had their challenges with cancer. My Mother had a battle with uterine cancer and my father, a version of leukemia, but both bounced back rather quickly with treatment. We respected Kristi’s desire to be private and expected her to make a full recovery.
This hasn’t happened. She is now, just a couple months later, stage 4 colon cancer. No treatment has hindered the progress of the cancer’s spread through her body and she is in her final battle. The ravages of the disease are not just physical, they have brought a horrible financial burden as her family has struggled to save her.
The feeling of helplessness is difficult. I, as many in my field can understand the need to “fix things” or at least make things better and there is so little I can do. My sister’s friend’s have put together a contribution site to assist in their financial struggle to help with the cost of her treatments. It makes the pain a little less knowing I can help ease the financial burden even if I can’t do anything to help save my sister.
If you would like to help Kristi’s and our family, click here.
Update- My middle sister, Kristi Higday, passed away two days after I wrote this post. I had arrived just the night before to spend the final few days of her battle with her and my family and death from cancer is something I wish we could eradicate from the earth. I do have to commend the loving support of her husband, Jim Higday and her children’s love, Meghan and Eric. She will be missed like the sunshine on a rainy day…