When my mother was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer my sister Carolann and I both took leave from work to take care of her. Carolann took on most of the burden, having to use up all her sick time before she could take family medical leave. She took care of mom, without an aide, day and night 5 days a week for several months while I took mostly weekends. It gives me comfort in knowing my mom was able to spend her last days at home with her daughters.
I never thought that my family would be hit with this ugly disease again, but Carolann was diagnosed in February with stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer. She has a large tumor in her upper right lung. Because her cancer has already metasized to the surrounding lymph nodes, surgery is not an option.
Carolann will be starting treatment soon. She will start with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy... radiation five days a week for six weeks along with 2 rounds of chemotherapy over 8 weeks. We are hoping that she will also be a good candidate for immunotherapy.
On top of dealing with her illness and all the fears and concerns that come along with the diagnosis of cancer, Carolann also worries about how she will manage to pay the family's bills. My sister is sole financial supporter in her household. Her husband is diabetic and suffers badly from neuropathy, making a full time job impossible for him. She also has a 15-year-old son to support.
Carolann's job is very physical, requiring her to lift and carry heavy objects. Because the tumor is blocking her bronchial tube (causing pneumonia and a partially collapsed lung) she gets out of breath easily. The tumor is also rubbing against the lining around her lung causing her pain. She can no longer preform her job. Carolann has already exhausted her sick time and will have no income until disability and retirement kicks in. This may take several months.
If I could help Carolann all on my own, I would. My sister is a kind, caring and giving person. She will say hello to anyone and everyone. Carolann is always there to help her friends and family. Now, it's our time to help her and show her how much we care.
Carolann has the kindest heart I’ve ever known. She truly finds happiness in giving. She is the first to offer help regardless of the situation. And although she likes to talk and may have the quirkiest of stories, she is also a good listener and is very empathetic.
She was there for me when I was diagnosed with cancer five years ago, always showing support and giving reassurance that I would be fine. She visited me when I was out of work, sometimes bringing food from my favorite places. She would call and text to see if I needed anything. She would always find a way to make me laugh, which is something that I really needed.
Without hesitation, she’s has helped others, monetarily, who were going through hardships, even though she really wasn’t in the best of financial situations herself. But that’s the type of person she is. If you have a cause that you’re supporting, Carolann is guaranteed to make a donation.
Any time there was a PTA fundraiser, whether it be a Penny Auction, Bingo night or Paint night, she would always get a table or two of friends and co-workers together to support the PTA and to have a night of fun. She also helped sell 50/50 tickets for Homecoming and even volunteered her time to help at the Homecoming every year. She truly has given herself to Hicksville School District, where she works.
Just as Janet has asked, I too am asking you to make a donation to help get Carolann through this very difficult time.
- GLENN MULLEN
- Pat Reilly
- Hilda Rodriguez
- Susan Castellano