My 2nd cousin, Jennifer, has been battling brain cancer since 1999. The fact she’s even here is a miracle and yet she continues to show such strength and character through pain and trauma. I’m in awe.

Her brother, TR set up a web page on the website The Caring Bridge. I have never heard of this website, but it’s a fantastic way to keep a wide range of people from all over the country up-to-date on the progress she is making.

As I was reading the posts and Jennifer’s story, and realizing just how long she has been battling this, it struck close to home. It hit me that only a little over a year ago I may not have been here and here she is being so brave and putting on a strong face when she’s in so much pain………I got very emotional. It just hit me suddenly. I’m small change compared to what she has had to endure. I don’t know why it’s hitting me so strange…..perhaps I’ll find out when I see my therapist next week. Survivor’s guilt?

I also have two other 1st cousins who have battled aneurysms and thankfully, we’ve all WON, but with three 1st cousins with annies and the daughter of another with brain cancer, I’d think all of our cousins would be running to have MRI’s and angiograms….they SHOULD. I know my cousin Toby has had an MRI (I believe) since her sister and I had our annies coiled…and thank God everything looked good, but I worry about my two older (40’s & 50’s) sisters who are heavy coffee drinkers, drink alcohol and have been smokers for many years. All things I’ve read that make them at risk for annies. Hereditary, smoking and age – it makes me scared.

I’m scared for Jennifer and yet I’m hopeful the new and progressive treatments she is about to undertake will help her. God has kept her on this planet for a reason and hopefully he still has other plans for her here.

For those of you with family members battling illness, check out The Caring Bridge website. It’s a terrific vehicle for sharing and sending messages to those who need it.

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