Sharon Marie Krown was more than just my sister; she was my best friend. She was the type of person who could light up any room. Sharon always knew just the right thing to do and say. She had the ability to make even a stranger feel like family. When she was diagnosed with colon cancer eleven years ago, it was already in an advanced stage; but like everything else in life, Sharon faced it with courage, dignity and of course her warped sense of humor. She would tell me that worrying and being afraid, wasn’t going to change anything, so we shouldn’t waste our time with those emotions. I dealt with her cancer, by being there for her as much as I could. She lived in Maryland and I in New Jersey; but we made it a point to get together as often as possible. At least once a month, Sharon, her daughter Kate, our cousin Jennifer and myself would get together, just to have fun and we had a lot of it. Sharon tried never to let her treatment get her down. She even joked about her chemo. She usually had chemo on Monday and a couple of days later she would have bad diarrhea….she would always say, “If it’s Wednesday, then it’s diarrhea day”. Sharon went into remission, several times; but unfortunately the cancer always seemed to come back and spread. But again, she never gave up or lost her sense of humor. She was lucky enough to be here for the birth of her first grandchild and Evie was the apple of her eye.
Sharon’s only objection was that she didn’t have what she called a “glamorous” form of cancer, with cool slogans. When breast cancer came out with their tee-shirt “Fight Like A Girl” Sharon wanted to make a tee-shirt that said “Fight Like An Asshole”. Her daughter Kate gave her a “cancer bracelet” which had a different color stone for each type of cancer. Sharon thought it was hysterical that colon cancer had a brown stone. It was her attitude and humor that kept her going as long as she did. If I learned anything from my sister, it is to try to look at the positive side of even the worst situations. Everything in life, whether good or bad, has a lesson to teach and gives you an opportunity to grow.
When her illness spread, Sharon still kept her positive attitude. She is the only person I know who could laugh and have fun during therapy. I would take extra time from work so I could take Sharon to her treatments. I am lucky enough to work for a man who thinks health and family comes first and allowed me as much time as I needed. Sharon’s last days were filled with love. Her family and friends gathered around and talked to her about all our happy times. Sharon left this planet at 2:29 pm on April 7th 2012, surrounded by the people who loved her. Although she is not physically still here, I know she keeps a close watch over me and gives advice when it’s needed. Just this morning, I was feeling sad and was pondering why some days are so easy and then suddenly I miss her so much…I heard her voice in my head telling me that I should never feel bad about feeling bad. Even two steps forward and one step back, is still progress.
Sharon’s cancer was diagnosed at an advanced stage, because she ignored her symptoms for a long time. Pooping isn’t something people like to talk about, but let’s face it….we all do it. I am no longer embarrassed to discuss bodily functions with people and do so openly. I ask people over 50 or who are having problems, if they have talked to their doctors about having a colonoscopy. If they say no; I ask them why not. I explain that a colonoscopy DOES NOT HURT. When you wake up, you can’t even tell anything happened. The worst part is the prep the night before.
I love the phase “GET YOUR REAR IN GEAR”. To me it means if it’s time to get a colonoscopy, get your butt moving and do it now!