It was this time last year when my wife, Joan, began to lose weight.  I tossed it off to being exhausted as we prepared to see all three of the kids (and their kids) for the first time in a long time all together at our home.  The wry New Mexico oldest and her wonderful husband (plus their canine terribilis),  the group from China (with P and M from a recent post), and Fletcher (from a recent post) and his parents from Australia.

In August, the day after everyone left, Joan went to our family doc.  He took one look at her, and sent her to the gastroenterologist. A hurry-up colonoscopy followed by further probes at the hospital that same day revealed cancer. A rush to the medical oncologist followed by a visit to the radiation oncologist mapped out an aggressive treatment regimen. Then months and months of chemotherapy and radiation therapy followed. The chemo and radiation therapy were administered together.  The chemo was awful but the radiation, literally frying the lower abdomen and the nether regions, was far worse.* But, it worked. The cancer is gone, at least for now.

Below is a photo of flowers Joan picked yesterday in her garden.  She loves to garden, and she is very good at it.  With her strength returning, and although remaining very thin, Joan spends hours on her knees in the dirt.

Some things are more important than others.


*Being a good Catholic, Joan never complained, not even once.  This was just another “gift” from God.  It took all I could to restrain myself from saying, “If cancer, chemo and radiation are gifts from the almighty, he is one sick son of a bitch.”  But, then again, I accept all gods, even ones from Rome, at arm’s length, sorta like the way I approach everything else.

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7 responses

  1. Some things are more important than others… are so wise and Joan is such a strong woman.

  2. Trish,

    You are right about Joan, and too nice to me. But, then again, that’s what dear friends are for.

    All the best.


  3. The flowers are beautiful. It is so good to hear that your wife is getting stronger and active in
    her daily life, including gardening.

  4. Judge K,

    Joan’s influence made a lasting impression on me. She is one of the most caring, funny, smart, and selfless people I’ve ever met. She was so gracious in dealing with the pressing problems of sorority girls, always letting us reach our own conclusions, taking in all of our discussions, and then very calmly and wisely making “suggestions.” I was shocked to learn of her cancer but not surprised at all in how she dealt with it. I can just hear her matter-of-fact response. Please tell her hello.

  5. Michelle,

    Thank you ever so much for your nice note. I will surely pass it along to Joan.

    I hope your law practice, your pretty kids, and your ornery husband (who I well remember fondly for his impressive performances in trial advocacy) are doing well.

    All the best.


  6. That was a tearful story. Hopefully joan will survive to that illness. And i hope those flowers can be a good help to relieve her sadness now. I will pray for joan’s recovery. Just be courage!

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