Sunday, June 6, 2010

Praying for Poop

So by now many of you know my sister Starla has cancer. Just for background, I am the oldest of seven. In order: 1. Melissa, 2. Starla, 3. Joshua, 4. Luke, 5. Matthew, 6. Suzy, 7. Christy. Starla and I are 16 months or so apart. My youngest sister was born a week after my 16th birthday. I vividly remember changing diapers from Luke on down. Star and I didn't always get a long but we have gotten really close over the years and she is one of my closest friends. Treatment has been going well and she is expected to recover fully. But chemo has side affects and this is going to be TMI, but since she went public with it ( I will share. One of the side effects is constipation. In her blog she talked about literally praying for poop. It has been something I've been going over in my mind ever since then. I can only imagine the dramatic effect cancer has had on Star since she is the one experiencing it first hand, but one can't help be affected by something like this when it hits close to home. Being the oldest I have a special love for my siblings. I feel like a protector of sorts, I feel their pain even when they don't know it. It is a huge responsibility, I can't explain it but when something goes wrong I look inward, what did I do wrong, how could I have helped. Whenever my siblings suffer I want to take their pain. I have prayed to take their pain, that prayer is always answered by it is something they need to go through. I would do anything to keep my siblings from suffering. So Star going through this has been doubly hard because I'm 3000 miles away, literally, and there isn't anything I can do. It's crazy how after something like this your perspective changes. Before this who would have seen poop as a blessing or answer to prayer? This post is kinda disjointed but just bear with me, not that it is going to get any less disjointed or any more purposeful it is really just a stream of consciousness as evidenced by this sentence. In ways it has made me more sympathetic and in other ways less. I am more sympathetic to those who have experienced real tragedy and less sympathetic to people who act like spilled milk is the end of the world. To some people I just want to yell, well my sister has cancer, so I have no sympathy for you. This whole thing has been a lot harder on me than I want to admit and I'm not going to talk about that. But so often in my life when dealing with tragedy, heartache, disappointment, failure, trials, tribulation, and the like I have never prayed for poop. So often when the "poo" hits the fan I'm covered in it, unable to see either the past or the future and I just wallow in the stinky present. Life is almost never what we expect it to be. So we can either wallow in the poop or pray for it. We can either take what life gives us look for meaning and move forward or we can just sit staring at a pile of poop and wonder when it's going to go away. For anyone who has owned dogs, you know poop just doesn't disappear instantaneously. If you want it to go away you have to shovel it. You have to get up and decide that you aren't going to stare at poop. Over the years Starla has taught me so much about faith. Star has a stubborn streak. I remember I was on my mission when President Hinckley made the announcement about piercings and tattoos. Star and I both had multiple piercings, but as a missionary giving up the extra sets of earrings was no big deal because I had already done that. But I must admit I wondered how Star would take it. When I talked to my mom she related that after hearing that Star went quietly into her room and removed her extra piercings. I knew then that she would decide to serve a mission and she did. She has since married in the temple and has taken on the role of the big sister in my prolonged absence from my family. She is the glue that holds us all together. Prior to the start of her chemo she had to go have a post inserted into her vein for the administration of the treatments. I called my mom afterwards to see how it went. In typical big sister fashion I was worried and wanted to show my support and offer words of comfort, but true to form it was Star that comforted me. Here she was facing cancer and a world of unknowns and she was worried about me. Over the last few weeks I have found it difficult (although not impossible) to complain. I just think to myself, if Star can face cancer with such optimism, then come what may I can deal with it. I just want my lil sis to know how much I love and admire her and I'm glad she's my sister.


The Muries said...

What a nice post to your sister. You are a strong person too. I always have thought of you as someone who I could look to when I need extra strength.

strbrte said...

Thanks sis! That was sweet of you.

Jeff said...

I can't even imagine what it is like to face cancer and chemotherapy. I always admire those who keep their optimism amidst adversity. Thanks for sharing some of the experiences of your sister.

House of Joy said...

You are so wonderful. We miss you so much! Congratulations on your good grades.
Love you forever,