Monday, February 3, 2014

My big sister and the egg sandwich that might cure her cancer

I usually like to keep things light hearted here At Home With Ann.  Simple recipes, awkward jokes, toddler antics and kitchen fiascos.  But we all experience times in life when we are thrown for a loop and face something that stops us in our tracks.  I, like a classic control freak, tend to keep things to myself.  Everything is under control, see? My house is clean, dinner is cooked, the dishes are done, I'm on schedule, I blow dried my hair, I don't need help.  See?  See?  But this time it's not about me, it's not something I can control, and wishing it away won't actually make it go away.

Me, my Mom and Sarah last Summer

Three years ago my sister, Sarah, was diagnosed with a form of leukemia called AML (acute myeloid leukemia).  My reaction was typical.  This happens to other people.  Not my 33 year old sister who lives by the ocean, gets tons of fresh air and exercise, and eats healthier than anyone who has ever entered Whole Foods.  She can't be sick.  She has a four year old and a 9 month old who need her.  She can't be sick.

But she was sick, and that fall instead of visiting her at home where her house is always some level of chaos caused by activities, kids, friends and cooking, I visited her a hospital room where I wore a gown and a mask and helped her cut off her shedding hair.  I spent time taking care of my nephews while her husband tried to juggle working, nighttime parenting a baby, and visiting his wife in the hospital.  I was in such shock and crises mode than I never considered what might happen in the future, we were just trying to get through the next day.  I saw her friends, family and acquaintances send more love, support and prayers than I could ever imagine.  And it worked.  By the time 2011 rolled around she was healthy, the cancer was gone, and we could all go back to our normal lives.  My life that year was filled with the happy excitement and anticipation of our baby.  He was born and immediately filled our hearts and all our time.  As his second birthday rolled around, Sarah told me she was getting another bone marrow scan, because her blood work was concerning and she wasn't feeling well.  OK, I thought, well it won't be cancer again.  She has worked for the past three years to ensure she is as healthy as she can be.  It won't be cancer again.  But it is cancer, and she is looking down the barrel of chemo and a bone marrow transplant.

So I am here at home, with my life rolling on, taking care of my family and playing with Colin.  She sits in a hospital room hooked up to various tubes and needles, doing her very best to be patient and cure her disease.  She'll be fine, I say.  She's done this before.  She has an amazing attitude.  She has all the support and medical technology on her side.  She still has little kids who need her.  And most of the time that works, but there are times it all hits me.  This is scary.  This is unknown.  I can't control or fix or clean this.  I just want my sister to be well.

Some days when we talk I can tell how hard it is, but other days it's just like normal.  One such day last week she told me that one of her friends has been bringing her the most amazing egg sandwich every day.  Egg, goat cheese and pesto.  I'm not making any scientific statements here, but she's eaten quite a few of these, and when she gets well, it might just be in part to this egg sandwich.  Just in case, here's my version.

The Egg Sandwich That Might Cure Cancer
1 slice toasted sourdough bread
1 egg, fried or scrambled
Goat Cheese

Layer it all together and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Be well.


  1. Ann, I'm so sorry for what you guys are going through. Your sister is so lucky to have such a strong family behind her. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    1. Thank you Jen, we'll take all the thoughts and prayers we can get!

  2. Ann,
    While we may not have ever met, I have enjoyed reading your recipes, family anecdotes, and daily observations with a smile. As a sister and a mother of toddler myself I can't imagine what you and your family are going through. I send my thoughts and prayers for strength for you all and a successful recovery for your sister.

  3. Thank you, Marian. I think thanks to Jackie we feel like we know we each other well!

  4. I'm so sorry Ann. My heart aches for you and your family. Sarah has always been such a bold, bright, and strong woman...surely she'll beat this. In the meantime your entire family will be in my prayers. As an ode to Sarah I'll be enjoying her egg sandwich soon. Goat cheese and pesto are a bad a$$ combination- I have no doubt it will help to cure her :)

    1. Thank you, Maree. And absolutely give the egg sandwich a try, I've been eating it daily :)

  5. Ann. Thank you for sharing. This is devastating. You have lots of extended family love to draw strength from.

  6. Sending love your way. I am here to help in any way that you need. I think it's so brave that you shared your sister's story with us--thank you. Xo times infinity!

  7. Hi Ann - We just know each other through our common connection to Megan - I have really enjoyed reading your adventures in the kitchen and with Colin. I am so sorry to hear that Sarah's battle with cancer continues. How scary and frustrating and hard. We are all rooting for her and your family!

  8. Ann I'm so sorry to hear about your sister. I can't imagine what it's been like for her and for your family but my thoughts are with you all.



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