Friday, July 22, 2016

A Most Incredible Update

Two days before the start of chemotherapy, a very fancy doctor with cold eyes informed us that the pathologists no longer agreed. He said there were some who now questioned that Jessica age 38 Mother to four young children and my precious daughter had lymphoma. He said more time and tests were needed. 

Four weeks later, this Wednesday, a different doctor, this one engaged and kind pronounced that a misdiagnosis had been made. He said an inflammation had been mistaken for lymphoma. He told Jessica to step back into her life and live it as she had before. 

Lucky. It was not an easy seven weeks at all but luck won out. 

In seven weeks I learned (again) without a sliver of doubt that I would give my life for Jessica. I would on the spot die. (I like myself even more because of this.) I also learned that Cancer and even Fancer (Jess' term for 'fake cancer') shakes up the snow globe of a  life in ways that if you're lucky enough you end up appreciating more not less.

Which brings me to this poem I wrote for Jessica some years back. Slightly edited, but still the same….

(Thank you so much for your support and prayers. It's meant a lot.)

Jessica

Take both eyes, both hands,
My legs and arms, 
Even take the precious German clock
And every special book.

Take my bank account,
All twenty photo albums,
My garden in August
And the miraculous April rain.

Take it all if you can promise. 
I knew in the instant this would be so.
I’m in to any burning house,
On to a frigid raft at sea,
I’m ripping the mangled steel with my bare hands.

Anything, anything for this girl.
The edgeless corners of the truest love
And the endless reserve of cavernous protection
Surround this child who lives within and without,
This fantabulous kid with the crack up wit
And the tender expansive heart.

Take it all, whether you are a son-of-a-bitch
Or an evolving angel, 
Whether the cost is temporary or forever,
Take it all, and then shelter this child
Through every molecular motion and moment. 

She sits at a prestigious desk; 
Makes decisions, honors words;
Seeks out  bargains and eats salads; 
And on Sundays shebrings Sprite to her grandmother.
She is an anchor in an unsteady world.
She is hybrid fuel to those who love her.
She is a reason to push
And the forever foremost answer
To everything that could ever matter

Given the chance to love like this, 
The price of my sightless limbless body
And wiped clean barren possessions
Amounts to nothing more than shiny pennies and
And effortless will. 


This kind of devotion can't be bought. 
It has no price.

love
kj

39 comments:

  1. That is GREAT news regarding your daughter. Here we just had an oncologist prosecuted and sent to jail because he would have gone ahead with treatments just to get the cash. He probably cost 6 people their lives and many more made needlessly ill. I am happy the results were questioned by someone in the food chain and Jess was retested.

    Many, not all, but many parents would give all they had including their life bit by bit to secure a future for their child. But I question kj, at what point does the parent have to think about allowing fate and time to run its course so the parent can be there for the offspring of their child? Fortunately you were not in this position after the second set of test results came back. Hopefully it is a question that will never need an answer in our lives.

    Be Well kiddo

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    1. mark, i'm pretty convinced that a good parent will outweigh a good grandparent any day of the week. jess and her husband were within hours of telling their kids she had cancer when the chemo was canceled (a lot of alliteration here!). i know mr ryan at age 9 would have understood the implications very well. i'm glad they and all of us have been spared that. thanks always, mark.
      love
      kj

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    2. It's also true that a grandparent your age simply wouldn't have the physical stamina to deal with child-rearing as it should be done, and there is another consideration. My own parents were a lot older than other kid’s parents, and I was embarrassed by this, so how must it be with kids who are raised by grandparents? I really don’t know. It’s so common anymore that maybe it’s not a big deal.

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  2. Jessica's good health and your beautiful words, that echo my feeling for my son and indeed any of my family, will be the start of an even more beautiful day.

    I'm so grateful.

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    1. thanks cindi. sacrificing for our kids is pretty easy for most parents to understand and agree with.

      hope all is well with you.
      love
      kj

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  3. I believe this happens more often than people know. My sister was told she had had a heart attack and she told them to go and check their records or machines, she KNEW she had not! Turns out, SHE was right! I love your poem, it is spot on the way we feel about our children. xx

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    1. hi kay, i think you're right. in this case there is not the rush with lymphoma as there is with so many other cancers and it takes time to confirm it all. i wish we had known that early on.

      that's a story about your sister! she was smart and fortunate.
      love
      kj

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  4. What wonderful news! And a beautiful poem. I feel the same way about my own children. I would rather die than watch them suffer.

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    1. deb, your last sentence says it all.
      love
      kj

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  5. Praise God! I am so happy for your family.

    Lovelovelove,
    Deb

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    1. thanks, deb. it's been a roller coaster of emotion and we're as stunned at the ending as we were at the beginning.

      i think of you often. hope you know.
      lovelovelove2
      kj

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  6. Oh my gosh KJ - this is incredible to hear - I am so relieved and happy for your daughter and your entire family. I am so sorry you all had to live through that hell, but what a blessing to have such wonderful news delivered from the doctor. And this poem is pure love. Sending big hugs and love,

    Amanda
    xoxoxoxoxo

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    1. thanks, amanda. seven weeks of uncertainty (and doses of fear) is pretty mild compared to the heartlessness cancer drops on so many families. i know that and i'm grateful for a result that we were equally not prepared for! hope all is well with you, as always,
      love
      kj

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  7. Wow. Just, wow. Such perfect news.

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    1. hi birdie, thank you.

      i hope i left a comment on your blog yesterday. i'm not sure it registered and i'm not sure i know how to navigate visiting you! i'll keep trying!
      love
      kj

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  8. "Edgeless corners",,,,,,absolutely perfect.

    I'm celebrating Jess today. And God, and you.
    XO Babs

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  9. Babs, this is one of many reasons why I miss you on the blogs. 'Edgeless corners' is special to me too.
    I love love love you, babs
    kj

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  10. From the very beginning something told me that this was off, wrong, not real....and I don't mean that in a 'feelings" sort of way. It just didn't click, it didn't. And I am glad, glad glad that it wasn't. You've all had a journey that is, in it's own way, remarkable. You dropped everything to be with Jess - both of you will never forget the need for each other and the response. Sending love to all, Mim

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    1. Mim, yes, Jess and I will always know the love and need for eachother. What an unexpected gift.

      Thanks for your neverending friendship.

      Love
      kj

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  11. Great news! The trouble with having someone in your life that you would die to save is that you might not be able to, and then what? I have no idea that I would continue to live without Peggy, so, for me, dying for her would be far easier than facing life without her.

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    1. Snow, a heartbreak of love is that sometimes our sacrifice is not enough; sometimes it cannot protect.

      But I'm glad to know how much love I'm capable of.
      Love
      kj

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    2. KJ, you often read a post of mine, say that it’s bad time to comment, and promise to comment more later, but you seldom if ever do. I feel sad about this because I love your comments, and because it tells me that I can’t take you at your word.

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    3. Snow, I don't like your criticism especially since I make the effort. But I like your honesty and I appreciate your backhanded compliment.

      I do disappoint when I don't match my intent and my follow through. I have a lot on my plate, I have people who depend on me, I juggle. With you I probably visit your blog more often than I do others because I know it matters to you. And I make a note in my head to find the time to thoughtfully attend to your posts. That much I can say.
      Love
      kj

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    4. As condescending as it might seem, I was pointing it out primarily for you to think about, because I had no thought that it would change how often you comment, that is, unless it made you so mad that you commented less.

      Love to you too,

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  12. Oh, what a relief! So happy for you both.

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    1. Thank you, Rosario's. Whew.
      Love
      kj

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  13. So, so good to hear this!! More power to u folks!! U just made my day.. again. I had read this post, but coming back to read it again still feels as good, if not better. What can be better than this? ? Very little!

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    1. Thank you hdwk, nothing better for sure. I hope you are well and thinking brilliantly as you do. Always nice to hear from you !
      Love
      kj

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  14. Wowza! That's unbelievably amazing news, KJ! I'm so happy for her and for you, too.

    And yes, I had the same "I'd happily lay down my life for yours" experience when my son had brain surgery. In a heartbeat, no question.

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  15. I think devotion is bought. Take Jessica. She’s your child, it is true, but would you so willingly give your life and possessions for her no matter what she did and what your history with he was like? I feel about Peggy as you feel about Jessica, but the mere fact that she’s my wife of 44 years isn’t enough to account for it. Rather she bought my devotion by being a good woman just as you believe that your daughter is a good woman, and therefore a person for whom you would give your all. I’m at an age when I would do as much for a child. The little girl next door is eight, and how could I, at 67, let her die if I could jump in front of a bus to save her. She’s a loving and happy with girl with decades to live, and I’m nearing the end, so it would make no sense for me to value my life over hers.

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    1. Hi snow, interesting thoughts. I believe most mothers would give their lives for even their errant children: I wonder if that's so

      I cannot say I would make that sacrifice for a child I didn't know: I don't think I would. A neighbor: I honestly don't know what I would or might do.

      Love
      kj

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    2. My hesitation would be due to the pain I would cause Peggy. Aside from that, for a 67 year old man to die for an eight year old child would be enough to justify his entire life. It would also comfort to know that I died nobly rather than of natural causes. Your idea that you would die for a bad child of your own but not for the good child of a neighbor leaves me perplexed. What if that bad child of your own adopted—would this make you any less willing to die. Blood kin is important to me, but the quality of a person’s life is a thousand times more important.

      KJ, I posted last week about a lynching in the town I grew-up, and I thought of you often when I was writing it because I know how upset you are by current police killings. I see these lynchings as much worse because they were committed with unabashed impunity. The next one I’m going to write about occurred in public, in daylight, in front of a busy courthouse, by three men who could kill shamelessly in the belief that they wouldn’t be prosecuted because no one would testify against them, and they were right. Writing about these things make me feel closer to you because whereas we think very differently about police killings today, I can promise you that I’m even more horrified by you by killings that were done in my town, sometimes by people I knew, and who were kind to me.

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  16. Snow, there is no child I would mother who would be 'bad' to me, even if his/her behavior or choices were bad. I already know how much I love my grandchildren even as they are forming who they are and will be and I would clearly die for them too. There is a family loyalty, I guess, not bound by blood but by love

    I will respond to the rest of your comment soon
    Love
    kj

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    1. I don't know that I could love anyone no matter what they did, but if you can love your child without regard to behavior, why stop there?

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    2. Snow, I simply say loving your child is a love like no other.

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    3. For you, it surely is, and a lot of people would say the same, but it's not a universal truth.

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  17. Wow. I believe there are miracles. Beautiful words for a beautiful love.

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  18. incredible. You must have been pleased that it wasn't cancer. But all of you must have gone through hell.
    Very sorry to hear about your other, BTW.

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