Sunday, September 18, 2011


Last week I went to New York to visit Serber and I am so, so, so glad I did. I loved being with her. As hard as it was to see her so sick, it's Sarah. The same vibrant, compassionate, funny Sarah who I love so dearly. It meant so much for me to just be with her. It's been hard being far away and it was healing for me to be able to look in her eyes, to give her hugs, to laugh and cry with her.

Here she is with her amazing oncologist, Dr. Taub. He is the perfect doctor for her. Not only does he specialize in Mesothelioma, but he has a great bedside manner. I watch her light up when he comes in the room and he does a good job joking with her and I can tell he truly cares about her. I met people from all over the world who came to New York just to have this doctor.

Our awesome self-portrait. I think we are trying to be our old "o-po-so" selves. A weird chant we made up when we were little. So, Sarah was in the hospital for the first 3 days I was there. She had been there for 3 weeks already and hated it (to put it mildly). It was psychologically really hard to be there and she was determined to get out. Her abdomen is distended because of all the tumors and problems they are causing with her internal organs. She hasn't eaten a single bite of food now for a month (just doing iv nutrients). She has been in so much pain. But it was great to see her get a little better each day I went back to see her.

This is the day that Dr. Taub told her she was going home!!! (well, her home away from home. She is staying at a place called the Hope Lodge - which is such a great place. It's for cancer patients and their care givers to stay for free while they are being treated. Fran Drescher is a cancer survivor and visited there on Friday. Sarah signed up to meet with her - fun huh?)

Going home finally! / home

Let me just tell you how awesome this guy is. Here he is (appears to be flashing us some gang signs) after a long day of running from pharmacy to pharmacy, meeting with 20 some odd doctors, nurses and social workers, filling out paper work, making phone calls and just being his normal loving-husband self. He also had to be trained by the nurses on how to do a lot of the home care she will be needing. He is so amazing and I can't even begin to express - on behalf of everyone who loves Sarah - how much we appreciate him taking such good care of her. He's a really, really incredible person. I don't know many people with the emotional stamina and strength he has. It was so great to see what a cute and in-love couple they are through this hard time. (sorry for the picture, i couldn't get my camera to work and made him do this 3 times, so he was just laughing at me)

My sister. Oh, I wish I could express how full my heart is with love for her. It's like no matter what is going on in our lives, we can always just stop it all for a minute and return to our childhood bond and pretend that nothing really matters but silliness and each other. I got to just hang out for days with no children, none of my everyday responsibilities and just enjoy my dear sister. We went on walks around the hospital, I washed her hair, did a facial, some foot rubs, we watched funny movies and clips, did deep relaxation exercises and meditations, and talked. That was my favorite. I loved talking and feeling connected and loved. It was so important. So priceless.

Here are some pictures of us as kids...

check out the jellies. this one is a talent show we have on video. It's me singing zip-a-dee-do-da dancing around Sarah as I adjust her by pushing in her tummy - the whole time upstaging her and not letting her do much of anything. She is a sweet little girl and graciously put up with her bossy stage-hog sister.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hi! My name is Hollie.

Hi! My name is Hollie. Shaun and I went to graduate school together and subsequently became great friends. Shaun is one of those people in my life that I never want mad at me because he has far too much dirt on me! I am only kidding, of course! I met Sarah while she and Shaun were dating. I knew immediately that she was "right" for Shaun. They both glow when they are together. I am sure all of you can attest to this fact as well.

Okay, so you're probably wondering why you are hearing from me. Early in August the Cancer Wellness House held its annual event to raise funds to support their efforts. A morning at Snowbird, breakfast, fresh mountain air, and a tram ride was simply too much to resist. My husband, Dennis, and our 22 month old daughter Delanie took to the hills looking for some fun and adventure.

Like you, I have many family members and friends who are battling cancer, have battled cancer and won, and unfortunately those who fought valiantly against cancer and eventually lost the battle. Cancer is not something I would wish on an enemy, let alone a friend or family member. To this end, I attend and participate in events that either provide services for those battling cancer and their families, or fund research to find a cure for cancer.

I do not share this to brag and draw attention to myself. I share this information for a few reasons: I wanted Sarah and others to know that we were thinking of her and them, and we participated in this event for her and the others listed on our bib. Additionally, I know that sometimes I feel like I don't know what I can do to help my friends and family members with cancer. And, by participating in events such as Survivors at the Summit I get the sense that I am doing something...and every something matters.

So, this is me. Hollie. I love Shaun and Sarah like they are my family. I pray for them daily and think about them multiple times daily.

As a friend of mine who recently passed away from cancer would say, "To the fight!"

And we're all in your corner, Sarah!