Posted on Saturday 10 April 2021

Lucy’s story: A letter to my sister

Lucy's younger sister Sophie was diagnosed with anaplastic rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare cancer, in 2020. As part of Siblings Day, Lucy shares her feelings in a letter to Sophie:

“To Sophie, 

When people ask me who my hero is, I usually respond with ‘I’m not sure’. But now I’ve realised it’s you Sophie, it was you the whole time. Seeing you at your lowest put me in so much pain and made me so angry – I wondered why it was you and not me, and why you ever deserved it in the first place. 

When I heard that you had cancer I felt like I could barely breathe, like my heart had shattered and my voice was just … lost. Before, I could never have imagined this. I always thought you were so perfect and gifted, but it seems like cancer likes to mess with the best people in life. I was so worried for your future and I had never felt like this before. It was so hard talking to people about it, as when it was mentioned I would find myself crying. 

The first few days were the hardest as we were so clueless to the situation. I remember when the hospital phoned Dad and had to tell him some news after your surgery. No-one would tell me what was happening and all I knew was that Dad was going straight to hospital that night. I was so anxious and nobody could answer my questions. That was the point I realised how serious this actually was. Soon after I found out this news, Mum created a blog to give an in-depth description about your journey. The amount of support from readers is crazy and we are so grateful.

A few weeks later, you started chemo. It was tough seeing the changes in you, especially when your hair started falling out. I felt so bad, as it was hard enough seeing it but nothing compared to actually going through it. I was so worried about you that I couldn’t sleep, and ended up passing out at school and again at home. I found it so hard talking about what was happening and my fear of losing you. Every time I talked about it I would break down, yet you seemed so positive.

Lockdown hit the UK right after you and Mum left for seven weeks of radiotherapy in London. This meant all our plans to visit you were useless. We’d never been apart for that long before. To start with I was coping better than I thought I would, but during the last few weeks I was struggling so much. My mental health went to a really dark place and I felt like I didn’t have the energy to do anything. 

It’s hard, Sophie, as you’re always in and out of hospital. As soon as I think you’re at home, before you know it you’re back in for chemo or because you have a temperature. I feel isolated sometimes as we had become so close and now you’re like my best friend.

To have witnessed what you’ve gone through and felt so helpless has been awful. You’re so brave and courageous, and such a beautiful person. I feel so lucky to have you as my sister and I’ve learnt you’re definitely my hero.  

Sophie, I hope you continue to fight this and be brave. I’ll always be here for you as your older sister protecting you. 

Love you so much,

Lucy”

Sophie has had major surgery, nine rounds of chemotherapy and 31 sessions of radiotherapy. She is now starting maintenance chemotherapy, which will last for 12 months.

My brother or sister has cancer

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Molly - a young cancer patient supported by CLIC Sargent and her sister

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