Brother and Sister

Almost four years ago, my sister telephoned to tell me she was expecting her fifth child. She was very happy about it and in good health. Shortly afterwards, she phoned me, this time in great anguish and asking for prayer.  She had just had a pre-natal test to reassure herself that eveything was alright, but instead was told that there was a chromosome defect and  that there was a 1:200 chance that her child might not come to term. It could die in the womb or shortly after birth.Some time later, my sister phoned again with more bad news.  Her third child began vomiting and developed high fever a few days before Christmas. At first, the doctor believed it was an ordinary virus, but it persisted  and when she began to have difficulties walking,  she was sent to hospital for further examination. She was diagnosed with cancer. She had a 25cm tumour on one kidney and shadows on her lungs. It was necesary to commence chemotherapy straight away and remove the kidney. Although the cancer was aggressive, recovery rates were  said to be good, and she was an otherwise strong and healthy six year old. Her sixth birthday was spent in hospital.
 
Thankfully she has a loving and supportive husband. He took the news of the chrosome defect more calmly and said they should put it in God´s hands. They never considered an abortion: it was simply not an option for them.
 
My sister came through her pregnancy and brought their child to birth while struggling with the cancer of their six year old daughter. They saw her through her chemotherapy and an operation to remove her kidney, while looking looking after their three other children. Thankfully, they received great spiritual support and concrete help from family, friends, neighbours and the medical profession, as well as people whom they didn´t know. They were often touched by their kind and generous gestures. It was a very hard time, but their daughter recovered and the child in my sister´s  womb - a boy - was born completley healthy. He entered the world, weighing more than four kilos! In April 2007, my niece was said to be in remission. She won´t get the "all clear" until 5 years after treatment ceased and will then be monitored very closely throughout her teens for late effects. She is a happy, active child and, in July 2006, was strong enough to act as flower-girl at her uncle´s wedding. Her little brother is now a robust two year old.I am proud of my sister and her husband. They have taught me something about courage, perseverence, faith and love. I am also happy to say that all they have been through has enriched their marriage, deepened their love and helped them value each other and each moment together as a family. 
 
Knowing something of my sister´s anguish, I think of the parents who receive frightening news such as she did; the suffering they go through; and the many babies that are aborted because of such diagnosis. Thank you for your work and your support for parents facing such challenging and anguishing news. It is my hope that this story will be a source of courage, hope and strength to many.  

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-The support, information and encouragement provided by the PPFL parents is not meant to take the place of medical advice by a medical professional. Any specific questions about care should be directed to a health care professional familiar with the situation.