Guest Author: Ruth Sidransky

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Two years have passed and I awake startled. Carrie, my 55 year old daughter is at my bedside, gently nudging me awake. I open one eye. It is 4 in the morning. I listen.

“Mom, call me an ambulance. I need a shot.”

It is only a dream, a fragmented memory of the nights she reached out, touched my face when I rose from my bed to her urgent need for a strong shot, a pain killer stronger than morphine. The pills she had at hand did not relieve the cancer pain coursing through her body.

I called 911, the fastest route to relieve the pain twisting her face. Not a word of complaint, except a plea: “Mom, don’t wake the kids, let them sleep.”

Most nights it was cold, the chill of predawn in western Massachusetts was unforgiving. Not to add to the severity of her request, I rose slowly from the bed, reached for my warm down coat, and said, “Carrie, they will be here in five minutes, come lie down with me under the covers. Rest.”

“OK Mom, but remember we are just friends.” Always wisecracking, taking the edge off her fear and mine.

The police arrive; the ambulance arrived. They knew Carrie by name; they knew the route to the house. It was not the first time, nor would it be the last time. As soon as the EMT men arrived with a stretcher Carrie’s face relaxed. They lifted her from my bed, and carefully, slowly wrapped her in blankets and wheeled her out to the ambulance. No sirens, just blaring red lights to warn of their road speed, lest other cars hinder their race to get Carrie to the hospital. I hugged my coat to my body roused from sleep warm. Back to bed, the children still asleep. Good.

I was relieved.

Soon, soon she would receive a shot and be free of pain, at least for several hours. And so the journey went, the struggle against an invasive, insidious disease replicating throughout her intestinal tract.
Two years have passed.

I received a letter from one of her physicians last week. I sent him a copy of BRAVO CARRIE, notes from my journal, notes I had to write to keep me sane, notes that offered relief. The journal was my “go-to” place for comfort, for hope and understanding why Carrie after 25 years of remission had to fight another bout of cancer.

I never meant to publish this short book. I meant it as a record for the family and a few close friends. Before I sent BRAVO CARRIE off to a select few I edited some paragraphs in my journal for clarity’s sake.

I quote a line from this physician’s letter: Thank you for allowing me to glimpse intimately into it. (Carrie’s struggle) I think of Carrie often. She quickly changed from patient into friend.”

Carrie’s light shines.

Her children are well, on their way to their own lives. Her son is a college student. Her daughter will soon graduate from high school.

I miss her, my daughter, my best friend.


To order Bravo Carrie, click on the title.

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  1. I cannot imagine going through this ordeal. How generous of Ms. Sidransky to share her experience with other mothers and families so they don’t feel so alone. Bravo Ruth.


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