Thanksgiving

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving or as some call it “Turkey day.” It's the holiday where we give thanks for all we have. The house should be filled with family and friends. The sound of my younger cousin running throughout the rooms chasing my sister’s puppy as the adults yell to be careful. The smell of the turkey in the oven and everything else cooking in the kitchen fills the air. But as I look around me I don’t see that happening this year. I sit in this room and stare at the bleached white walls creeping in on me, making the room get smaller. Beeping sounds coming from the heart monitor snaps me back to reality of where I am. I lay here as my sister whispers, “Thanks for holding my hand and being so strong for me today. I was nervous when they had to put the cord in me. And Crystal, thanks for staying with me all week, I’m sorry you had to miss so much school.”

Strong for her? I was terrified today. The sight of the nurses covering my sister with a blue sheet as they cut into her arm. The fact that I had to wear a mask the whole time because it was such a sterile operation. I hardly ever think of myself as being strong, if anything she is the tough one. Ever since that day nine years ago when the doctors came in the room and diagnosed her with Multiple Sclerosis, I have been scared for what may happen. The thought of losing my sister haunts me everyday.

I could never forget that day we found out she had Multiple Sclerosis. My sister went through so much pain during the whole process. I remember after school my dad would bring me to the hospital to see her. I had been so used to the sight of my sister hooked up to IVs and laying in a hospital bed that I would just climb up and sit with her. I would draw so many pictures for her to hang up in her room and always brought a new book to read to her that I learned in class.

But Diary, no one understand the pain we go through. Everyone just sees a girl in class who puts on makeup or comes late or just doesn’t come to school at all. They can’t see the smile is fake and just a cover up so no one will ask what’s wrong. Or how it feels when it's 3 AM and you’re sitting in the ER holding your sister’s hand while she lays there flushed white and screaming in pain. Or the pain of going everyday and not knowing how much longer you have with your sister. The pain of being eight years old and then growing up always seeing your sister suffer.

Well it’s been about ten years now and there is still no cure. Ten years and it feels like we’re right back where we started. But throughout these years she has just gotten worse as the days go by. She was diagnosed with another autoimmune disease called Lupus. But that’s not even the worst part. Remember about the time I told you she was tested positive for the JC virus? Well, all of the new drugs are immune suppressant which means she has a greater chance of getting PML; it’s a brain disease. So currently my sister is on no medication and by the looks of it, she doesn’t seem to have much longer unless she gets better.

But even though tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we will be spending it in the hospital, I can’t complain. I am thankful this year. It has been a tough year but we will still be spending it with family. The holidays aren’t where you have it or how much food or money is spent. The holiday is about being with those you love no matter where it is. I’m just thankful I got to spend another holiday with both of my sisters and hopefully we will all be together for many more.

Sincerely,

Crystal Sotiropoulos 

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Thanksgiving