Seemed like yesterday. Sorry, that’s a cliche. And she deserves more than just a cliche. And no matter how much I figure out the way to write this post, there’s no way to describe the feeling. Because it does feel like yesterday when people confused her for Jeanna’s and my daughter. How can a couple of handful of years seem like an eternity? The vivid memory of carrying her to the car when she fell asleep on the couch lingers. Most of those times, she pretended sleep. Ruben and Jeanna and I called her out several times. And try as she might, she could never keep that smile from crawling across her lips. Isabel. Izzy. The youngest. The girl who asked silly questions grew up into a orator in her own right. As a tween and teen, she talked to me about religion, faith, and philosophy. I shiver whenever people say it, but Isabel was (at times) mature of her age.

Even after the decay of the relationship, I still looked at her as something of a younger sister. When a certain coworker made a pass at her, I felt my blood boil. Was this what older brothers felt? Always assumed it was something of fiction.

And just like a snap of a twig underfoot, the years of treasure days came rushing back to me. The word whispered in hallways of hospitals and rooms of clinics. People who never had it stutter and tiptoe around it. A four-letter that expands to a sixth. The big C. The “blind, emotionless alien.”

Izzy is nothing if not a fighter. Well, that’s not true. But for this post, Izzy is nothing if not a fighter. I never doubted her strength. Never doubted the love that carried her through this fight. This battle. This constant war fought by solo soldiers across the world.

And today, the doctors gave her the news. She’s clear. A few more treatments and her battle is over. She goes home a survivor.

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