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Celebrating the ugly...

Luminita Laflash

October is Cancer Awareness Month; I thought, why not share the battle my family went through during the pandemic? Who can't forget the struggle we endured during that time? We weren't allowed to connect, we had to stay away from each other, and it was mandatory to wear masks. Everything had to be disinfected, and then it was the vaccines, the lines you must form and wait for hours to get vaccinated. I did it, and the majority of us did it. Who would have thought of the chaos that the whole world has to watch and pray daily for a resolution that took forever? A few years before the pandemic, my brother-in-law got the bad news that he had prostate cancer. He was in denial at the beginning. He and my sister always ate clean and cared for themselves, going to the doctor for annual visits, etcetera. They never see these coming. During the pandemic, Giorgio's health got worse. Despite the doctor's honest communication, he and my sister refuse to believe that his time on earth will end soon. My brother-in-law Giorgio was determined to fight. He did day after day, hoping and praying that one of the treatments would show an improvement. Unfortunately, it got worse one day, and there was no coming back. It took just a week, and it was gone. I often think of his journey and the last years of his continuing struggle. A man with a heart of gold who would go the extra mile to help anybody, rich or poor. For him, it did not matter. How could that happen? Just retired from his own company, ready to travel and enjoy his retirement well deserved after many years of work. What a life! And then I thought about my sister Doina, who stood by his side day and night, keeping him going. She never stops hoping for the better.

I know she told me not to talk about her, but I have to because her strength and dedication to her family are commendable. You see, she not only takes care of him during the pandemic, but she also has to take care of herself because, during the terrible period, she was diagnosed with a severe form of breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and took care of her husband. I was speechless at her inner strength. One day, she called me and said, "Lumi, I have bad news and good news. My heart sank. I had heard these words before when my father died years ago. She then said, "I went to the doctor today, and he told me I am cancer-free. The sad part is that Giorgio is not doing well." We both started crying. The news tore my heart apart. I was happy for her but sad for her husband. Their example is only one of the millions who struggled during the pandemic who lost loved ones and were not allowed to be with them in their last moments. I have the most respect for my sister, who stood beside her husband till the end. Regardless of the severe rules and regulations, she never took no for an answer and fought to be with him till the end. As a last word of advice, I want to share with people the importance of early detection of breast cancer. My sister survived because she took action immediately after being diagnosed with the terrible disease that still kills many women every year. As for prostate cancer, early detection can be found, and let's not forget about the genetic role in the disease. If anybody in the family suffers from a severe illness, early detection can help. As for all of us, let's spread kindness and lend a helping hand to those who struggle. Remember to keep a positive attitude and keep pushing no matter what. Life is worth living.


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