my cancer-butt-kicking-staying-happy team

My nurse/sister/friend has been my constant companion since February of this year. By constant, I mean she’s been with me almost every second since I had my last surgery. Except the time that she was working and hanging out with friends and sleeping. But even then, she always slept with one ear open, in case I was throwing up in the middle of the night or in pain.

Beyond that, she was the first and maybe only person person to understand (if it can be understood… the doctors are still mystified) and help me with my weird nausea symptoms that started three years ago. She would buy me Wetzel’s Pretzels when we went out shopping and it was the only thing I felt like I could eat. She would sit patiently outside the REI bathroom while I felt nauseous inside. And she didn’t get embarrassed when I finally threw up on a finely manicured Brentwood front lawn. Really, she’s been my other half for about three years now.

On Saturday morning, she began her new life as a grad student living in a different city. The furthest apart we have been since I moved back from Chicago. She is not studying nursing, mind you, but engineering. I’m enormously proud that she has decided to make this leap and excited for her to start this new phase in her life. I am excited for her to have a life and meet boys and make friends and go out and learn and have fun. But she has done so much for me over the years, and in particular these last few months, that since she left i’ve been reeling from how much I miss her company, her good sense, her skill with my TPN, and the fact that she has cooked my meals and cleaned them up and kept track of my appointments and prescriptions and driven me around and tucked me in and ran upstairs to retreive some forgotten item for me for months now. Sara did a lot for me. And that’s not even mentioning all of the donation pillows she has made. It’s exhausting to do all of these things myself. Of course I have other help. My parents help me when they’re not at work and they call me from work to make sure i’m doing OK during the day. They nursed me back to health after my first surgery and they are spectacular caregivers in Germany. My boyfriend and a few friends are also a big support and help to me and that will come in handy when I move back to LA.

My parents have always said that more than a nurse I need someone around with me all the time to keep me happy—especially if I don’t have any activities planned. I’ve been trying to keep myself busy, or as busy as I can be when I don’t have unlimited energy. I do enjoy regaining a little bit of my independence. (My favorite saying used to be: “I’m 27 years old. I can do this all by myself.”) I feel more “normal” now. But I think I still prefer being part of the cancer-butt-kicking-staying-happy-smiling-“livering”-star-trek-enterprise-watching team we had. We still have it. But it’s just not always next to me reminding me.

Nurse Sara says she’s writing a post about her side of the story. I hope she finishes it one of these days so I can post it. Engineers need to know how to write too!


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6 Responses to my cancer-butt-kicking-staying-happy team

  1. Cathy says:

    Now that is one beautiful team!!!!!!

  2. Aunt Francine says:

    Tears in my eyes reading this, Lindsey. If you need me, I can come out to help you. I know I won’t be as good or as much of a companion as Nurse Sara but my offer is sincere.

  3. Matt says:

    I bought a couple of pillows from your sister awhile back .

    My grandkids loved them!

    She really seems wonderful! I almost want to ask you for her number.

    I can imagine the sense of loss as your sister embarks on her new journey.

    Yet, there is a time & place for everything…more lessons to be learned.

    Thank God for such an extensive support system!

    By the way, I know how embarrassing it must have been to hurl on the finely manicured lawns of Brentwood, bit I think I have you beat.

    I threw up on my date.

    From across the table!

    The waiter tried to help me by saying that he didn’t much like the food either, but too many beers would be closer to the truth.

    My date was not amused.

    Needless to say, she quickly kicked me to the curb….and briskly walked away.

    Linda, wherever you are, sweetie…I really am sorry!

    But I digress.

    Hope you are feeling better.

    Now about your sister…

  4. Lindsey, what a beautiful tribute to your sister sara. I am so proud of you, how you handle your life and how you appreciate your sister. may GOD bless all three of the miller sisters and your wonderful parents scott and Debbie. I send you all my love and wish only the best for all of you. grandma miller

  5. Paula says:

    Lindsey, your support team is wonderful and your sister seems terrific. I bought one her pillows for my sister who also has liver disease, but is now feeling better. I told her that I was her caregiver for a long time and she wrote me a beautiful note, which I keep at my desk because my sister and I used to work together, but because her illness, we no longer can, so your sister’s note makes me feel better (see, engineers make good writers too)! Anyway, now that now that my sister is a bit better, she is actually helping me through an illness, which makes me unable to drive for a while. I’m sure you’ll do the same for Sara one day soon!!

  6. Kelly says:

    What an awesome picture!!! I love this post. You guys are both such an inspiration and remind me what family is all about. Thank you for sharing.

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