Thursday, August 12, 2010

Art Night

Last night, I hosted a mini-art night. I'm trying to keep busy with things that I truly enjoy.

During art night, the girls were talking about a colleague who recently passed away. He had been battling cancer for a few years, and then recently got diagnosed with a second ailment. He passed shortly after the second diagnosis.

Later, after the girls had gone, Danny and I sat on the patio to visit. I told him that I feel weird, that somehow I'm caught between life and death. I know it's only been four months since I was diagnosed, so I'm trying to keep things in perspective, but I feel like I'm in limbo. I've heard a few people say things like, "Well, we're ALL going to die at some point," or "You could get hit by a bus tomorrow." I think those are pretty simplistic views, and probably from people that have never had to honestly face their own mortality.

I imagine, in time, I'll be able to put things in perspective but at this point I'm still pretty scared. The truth is that I'm closer to death than most people my age. I'm literally battling for my life, both physically and emotionally. Each day I feel the pain in my skull, the tenderness of my left temple, the tightness around my scar, and I remember my reality. I look at everything around me with skepticism, as if the products in my life are trying to kill me. I'm starting to analyze the labels of my foods, my beauty products, reading up on radiation, ph levels of water, basically anything I can get my hands on.

I just want to fight this. Hopefully, at my next MRI, the doctors will be blown away by my health and the lack of growth of my tumor. Of course, in my mind I have to be aware of the reality that no matter what I do, I might still be destined to live a much shorter life than I had hoped or even expected. I have to be able to accept that possibility. It's a fact of life, an incredibly disappointing one, that at some point we all leave this Earth.


  1. Jess all of what you say is so true. You are so young to be faced with such dilemma in your life. I wish you had a really good counselor near your house, a professional who knows coping skills that could possibly ease this path. But Art Night sounds therapeutic, except for some of the conversation. Maybe Art Night could be a think and speak only good thoughts night. xoxoxo

  2. Jess, you raise beautiful points about this "awkwardness" between living and dying. I first dealt with my mortality when I was ten years old, and nearly died. My hospitalization was 35 days, my time at bed rest 2 months, and my follow-up care 18 months. There was lots of time to think.

    We do all hover in a gray area all the time, but most of us don't have physical body reminders to pull us out of the fantasy that we'll just go on and on. That fantasy is not necessarily bad. It allows us to focus on what we are doing and being.

    Five years ago I had a car accident that could have easily killed both Walt and I. I happened in a split second, and reminded me again of my mortality. My point is: we all live on that slender thread, and sometimes we get reminders of the ultimately temporary nature of earthly existence.

    There are usually hidden blessings in these circumstances. Last night Walt said that developing late onset diabetes 14 years ago was a blessing. He changed his diet and lifestyle, and now at the age of 73 feels the best he has in his life.

    One of the already blessings of this is your blog and the huge gift you are being to all who read your words. I hope we can bless you back.


  3. "So Cal" PattiAugust 13, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    I agree with the above post. We all have had things happen in our life that make us question our mortality. But I have done a lot of study on how our thoughts and our words influence the outcome of our situations, not always an easy thing for us to put into practice daily. Just keep focusing on the positive Jessica- I WILL get better, I WILL have a long productive life, etc. And all of us supporting you will have the same thoughts for you!!!

  4. Thanks, So Cal Patti, for your comments as well. Sometimes I find the wording even more effective if I keep it in present tense: I AM getting better, I AM having a long and productive life, etc. I'm also sure that our positive collective consciousness and love of Jessica is registering where it counts.

    All best wishes,

  5. "So Cal" PattiAugust 13, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    Thanks DD- you are right it is much more effective in the present tense! I used to work in hospitals, just in a clerical sense, but noticed over and over again how two patients with the same diagnosis faired according to their frame of mind. Those who gave up, did not have the support of family and friends, etc. didn't do well at all. On the other hand the strong willed patient who knew that they would make it- no matter what- survived and thrived! Jessica certainly has the will and the support of family and friends and even people like myself who have never had the pleasure of meeting her. I have NO doubt that she will "Survive and Thrive"- she just needs to continue to believe it! Best Wishes to you and your family too! Patti

  6. Great post Jess, I'm just grateful that I get to hug you almost everyday, your special, Dad

  7. Reading this for the first time. I agree with your Dad. All of us need to live each moment to the fullest. Regardless of how long we have on earth it is not long enough. We can not change that nor can we see the script to lord has for us. I know you are a wonderful person and you have inspired all that know you. There are only a few in my life that I can say that about. I don't know how I would deal being in the same situation 20 yaers ago. I can tell you I would hope I could handle it with 1/2 the dignity you have. Jess you are always in my prayers. Keep the hugs going to your loved ones!


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