Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My Sister, My Friend

Tristi Pinkston so generously dubbed me a "Wonder Woman" on her blog. I don't think I'm such a wonder woman, just an average gal with a few (okay, a lot of) kids, trying to make the most of the life I've been blessed with. And, I have been blessed with an abundant life filled with many wonder women.

Today, though, I'd like to dedicate this "Wonder Woman" award to my sister-in-law, Tammy. A little more than a year ago, Tammy felt as though she had pneumonia. Tests showed it wasn't pneumonia, but instead an infection that the doctors believed was Valley Fever, a common lung infection in Mesa, AZ. When she did not improve on antibiotics, the doctor ordered additional tests which indicated a tumor that had not been noticed previously. When all was said and done, Tammy was diagnosed with a stage 4 lung cancer.

We were all devastated. She was only 47, still had 2 teenage daughters at home, and was looking forward to enjoying her granddaughter. In a second, all of that changed.

She began chemotherapy and targeted radiation. The doctor told her it was terminal, but she chose to undergo treatment in an effort to beat the cancer and live to raise her family.

Tammy is one of the most thoughtful and considerate people I know. She never misses a birthday and is always the first to sent a thank you card for anything and everything. She has such a fun sense of humor. She loves to play games and thinks she is the foremost authority on Boggle. She has faithfully served in Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary. She has always strived to keep the commandments. In addition to her daughters still at home, she and her husband have raised two young men who both served honorable missions. Her oldest son has been married in the temple and is now a father.

After the doctors told her there was nothing more to do for her, she told my husband, "I don't want to live forever, I only want to live long enough to raise my kids." A righteous desire by any standards.

She is now in the very last stages and barring a miraculous intervention, she will succumb to this disease. Because the cancer has invaded many parts of her body, she is in constant, excruciating pain. She takes morphine to help relieve some of the pain, but the result is that she has a hard time focusing and, for the most part, is too "doped up" to have much of a conversation. Yet, after my husband called her recently, she called back to apologize because she didn't want to hurt his feelings for not being able to have a coherent conversation. She was more concerned about his feelings than her own pain. That's Tammy.

She has never blamed God or asked, "Why me?" She has gracefully and faithfully endured this trial. She has a strong testimony of faith in God and in a plan, that though she may not understand it, she still believes it. She has shown me what it means to endure to the end and to do so with courage and never-wavering faith.

She is truly a "Wonder Woman" to me and I will forever be grateful for all that she's taught me through the years and that she's been my sister.


Marcia Mickelson said...

It sounds like she is an amazing woman. I'm sorry your family is dealing with such a hardship. My prayers are with you.

Marsha Ward said...

Oh Rebecca!

My heart aches for you and your husband and family. Your sweet tribute post brought back memories, as my DH died from cancer. Oh my gosh, nine years ago this month. I'd blanked out the date.

My prayers are with you and Tammy.

Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...


Thank you for sharing this wonderful woman with us. I truly feel the pain her husband, children and family must be feeling at this time. As you all know, cling to the Lord, He is the only one who will get you all through this. The only One.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Thank you for this beautiful post.

Rebecca Talley said...

Thank you, everyone. It helps to share. Thank you for your comments and support.

Josi said...

Oh, wow. I'm so sorry, but what a blessing for you both to have a sister as you have. Best of luck to you and your whole family as you deal with such an overwhelming trial.

Sue said...

My prayers are with you and Tammy.