Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bald is beautiful, a diffiuclt update

Well, some of you might be wondering what I am looking like these days and so here I am, this is a very recent photo. As promised, the radiation has caused 100 percent hair loss........ so it's completely bald again for me. To be honest, I didn't expect to leave the whole breast cancer treatment scene with hair, so it isn't really a big deal. Plus, a little comfort that the radiation is doing what it is supposed to be doing!

I am feeling quite fine these days, and thanks to my web of support, I am able to enjoy every minute of every day quite well. I am not exaggerating when I say that I can't wait for each new day to begin.

I had an oncologist appointment this week at which we were to discuss chemo, and whether or not it could bring me any benefit. Well, the time has come, and my oncologist does NOT feel like he can offier me very much via chemo, either through time, and definitely NOT through quality of life. It wasn't exactly new news, but still hit kind of hard, as this was kind of the final bridge to be crossed in decision making related to my active cancer treatment.

SO.... what this means is that I have decided that it is time to stop active treatment. I do have a very high level of trust in my oncologist, and I would want all my family and friends know that he has known my goals (more time even if it is chemo time) right from the start and has been both respectful and cooperative towards that end.

The focus of my care now becomes comfort. I will have any treatment that would improve my care and treatment, but nothing aimed primariy for stopping the cancer. And so, the time I have been given by the palliative radiation is the time I have. And that, as we all know is a mystery that none of us can begin to guess at, but of course, I can't help hoping for the most there can be, life is just too darn good to leave.

It's yet more emotional adjustment for the family, but I would say that everyone, kids, my parents, siblings etc... are all graceful and very focused on helping me. It is humbling, but also it is so nice that I cannot utter one thing except my love and gratitude.

I'm getting questions about visits again. This is a very tough call, because I must budget my energy with care and I would please ask you to check with my mom or Gord or myself. My energy is very limited, and especially when the kids are all home, Ifeel that my time must be their's.

I usually am very good with short phone calls now, I seem to have regained my strength for that, although and email or snail mail is ALWAYS managable. Email is the very easiast and so far, I get from my bed to desk pretty easily.

I send lots of love to all you, my wonderful friends and family, without you over these several years, I simply don't know what I would have done. Joanne


Joan said...

100% hair loss? Waddaya mean? I see a whole bunch of hair on the bureau behind you!!! :-)


Ah, Joanne. You are the epitome of grace. You truly are. Grace and widsom and nurturing. It shines from your every word. My only comfort from all of this, my only comfort, is that you are sincerely comfortable and happy and content. I pray and hope that this also helps your family to cope, although I know it's not nearly enough.

I'm holding your hand right now Jo, whether you know it or not.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, Joanne. You are always able to share your news (good or bad)in a clear and honest way and that is appreciated more than you can possibly know. We are ALL holding your hand right now - and the hands of all members of your family. We love you and pray that you are granted comfort and a continued enjoyment of life for as long as possible. Love, N & L

Anonymous said...

Well, girlfriend, you know what's right for you and have since I metcha. :)

I'll make sure to email you often. :)

You look beautiful. And you KNOW I ain't lyin'. :)

Love ya ta bits, swee'pea

Anonymous said...

Joanne, the header of your blog seems even more poignant now... "God asks no person whether they will accept life. That is not the choice. You must take it. The only choice is how." Mattie Stepanek, a physically challenged 11-year-old, wrote a book called Journey Through Heartsongs... maybe you know it. It's a book of poems. He wrote: "Our life is an echo of our spirt today, of our essence, as it is caught between our yesterday and our tomorrow. It is the resounding reality of who we are, as a result of where we have been, and where we will be, for eternity." Isn't that incredible? I think you are a perfect example of that Jo. Keep on living each and every day to it's fullest Joanne, something you do so well. Love you sister!


Anonymous said...

Joanne,It helps to know that you are not in pain and are physically feeling better. Don't worry about how you choose to spend your time. Your family comes first and it shouldn't be any other way.We all love you and miss you and as much as I would love to see you, your family deserves you more and you need this time together. I know you and that you think about your friends and what we need but we all understand that your family gets you first - as it should be! As Always I love you.


Anonymous said...

God asks no person whether they will accept life. That is not the choice. You must take it. The only choice is how. Henry Ward Beecher

From the beginning of this long journey you have been on you have shown all of your family and friends everyday HOW TO LIVE. I have people stop me on the street to ask how you are. You have to know that you have touched so many of us along your journey. Love Judy

Anonymous said...

Joanne, full of grace, bald and very, very beautiful. Your posts are so moving in their honesty, eloquence and clarity. You are continually in my thoughts and prayers and I send wishes for continued comfort in all your days.


Fe said...

Darling Joanne,

I read this the other day, and I thought of you.

"There is no joy without hardship. If not for death, would we appreciate life? If not for hate, would we know the ultimate goal is love?...At these moments you can either hold on to negativity and look for blame, or you can choose to heal and keep on loving. Those who learned to know death, rather than to fear and fight it, become our teachers about life."
Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

You are such a wise teacher to me.


Anonymous said...

Joanne, Thanks for the picture, I was wondering how you looked and the photo is beautiful. Other's have used the word "grace" when talking about you and that is the word that comes into my mind and heart as well. Incredible grace in the most difficult of times. Thank you for being you and including us on this journey. I am holding your hands along with the others. Claire

Anonymous said...

Ah, Joanne, what a difficult letter that must have been to write. Gracious, beautiful, eloquent, wise, compassionate - the words have all been used. Please know there are many hands joined together holding you in an energy just for you, each one whispering the same words, each hoping the same thing, and in the silence of our hearts, asking for you and your family everything beautiful and good that still can be.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanne,
I "know" you through Fe, and I admire you and the way you look at life, although that must be very hard. You give and receive a lot of love. Please know, I'm thinking of you too.
love Trui

apprentice said...

Dear Joanne,

A clear sighted honest appraisal of the toughest of circumstances.

I'm glad you are feeling good enough to enjoy your days and that your wonderful web of support is there to help you.

As Joan said you are the epitome of grace and I'm glad to have kept company with you these last few years.

Rest up and spend treasured time with the kids.

Much love

apprentice said...

ps it's Mother's Day here. I came across this on a Scottish musician's site:

It says it all I think.

L ove

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanne,
It's good to hear from you again. As is expected, each time I check your blog to catch up, I find you dealing with your challenges with courage and acceptance. You have always managed to be positive and grateful for what ever blessings come your way and you remind me to remember mine.
There are no new words I can say that you have not already heard, your circle of family and friends is so loving and so sincere. The quality and quantity of their comments speaks volumes on the difference you make each time you drop us a line.
We continue to keep you in our prayers and wish you everything good. God Bless.


Tareion said...

I found your blog in a google search about lung nodules (my doctor found one in my chest and I'm researching them).

I've spent the past 2 hours reading your blog and I am inspired by your positivity, fighting spirit and grace.

Peace and Blessings to you and your family.

Patricia said...

You are so brave and always thinking of others. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you always. Love,Pat,John,Harry