I’m on my real journey of discovery — what about you? In the early weeks of diagnosis, Jodi was not afraid of cancer. In fact, she wanted to inspire and help others see beyond their own challenges and sufferings. She was determined to put aside the awful “chemo side effects” — loss of hair, weight gain, nausea, the summer job, college plans and see it with new eyes. And to those who knew her — know that’s exactly what she intended to do with the deck of cards life dealt her. Where are your eyes seeking?
Tag Archives: Osteosarcoma
Just the other day, I had chatted on the phone with Jodi’s friend, Emily. It was a wonderful and lively conversation that reunited our connection — in some ways more like girlfriends.
I was struck by the essence of time as it had been seven years since Jodi’s diagnosis. It was during our phone call that we both felt the paradox of time — you know what I mean.
“When I think about these past seven years,” said Emily — “there’s been so many changes like college, moving to NYC, three years of a career, friends, relationship commitments, travel and more.” “And yet Jodi had only 18 months . . . and so much had happened in so very little time.”
Later that night, I thought about Emily’s insight and perspective on time. Seven years ago, I had done some research on Lance Armstrong. I remember he wrote that cancer was the best experience in his life. He had found a new perspective on life, new relationships with family and friends and developed a foundation of cancer survivors.
I had asked in the past and even now, is this life experience pointing us to commit our life’s purpose for a greater good? What are your thoughts?
I never thought how hard it would be to write to you today – my birthday.
My thoughts take me back to my birthday – 2004. Here we are celebrating – so much more than your mother aging another year. It was an evening of celebrations – you had traveled that week to Michigan for orientation, the scans showed no signs of cancer, we were all rejuvenated from our month at the shore and life was wonderful again. You even designed a personal card – just for me . . .
July 16, 2004
Happy Birthday! I know that you are approaching that time in your life where you no longer wish to celebrate your birth. However, I believe we should not just celebrate our birth, but each and every day. We should celebrate each new and wonderful day that is given to us.
I hope you continue to live each day to the fullest. I am so very thankful to have you in my life. Your unconditional love and support
has made you more than my mother, but my best friend. I wish you all
the best today, tomorrow, and forever. I love you!
In my fifty-second year, I intend to embrace your words and truly celebrate each and every day . . . thank you for your present!
“We all have a fear of the unknown what one does with that fear will make all the difference in the world.”
I started thinking of today’s date — 07/07 and its significant meaning. It was seven years ago today, when you met Dr. Lackman. We all thought the pain in your shoulder and back was caused from an athletic injury — but then these words were spoken, “it could be an osteosarcoma aka bone cancer.” And you then, passed out.
I don’t think on that day or days to follow we ever asked “why.” Instead we prayed for a miracle and began to face our deepest fears – the unknown. On July 7th, 2003 – our lives were about to be changed forever.
I believe life presents us with choices including our fears. But it’s how we choose to respond that makes all the difference. I only wished you had many more choices.
A few days ago, I called one of the people who mattered to Jodi – her friend Katie. We talked about my new project, LetterstoJodi.com and my passion to collaborate with those who knew Jodi – as a way to help us discover life’s jewels along our way.
Katie shared a special moment with me – as she quoted Jodi’s instructions to her in the form of those Seuss words.
To those who knew Jodi, cancer did not change her essence, instead she now had another chance to lead, love, and live fully. She was able to look at the people closest in her life and tell them what she felt and who she was becoming.
And for us who feel this loss deeply in our heart and soul, we have been changed – and that is what really matters.
I’ve been thinking a lot about these words – “if only.” It seems like this phrase is being said all the time. I’ve noticed it when talking with clients and friends. “I’d be happier if only . . .”
And the problem? I’ve been saying these words, too. How can I possibly be living life fully – “if only” proceeds my intentions? What’s really stopping me from appreciating life’s grandeur?
I started thinking about the weekend before your first surgery. You were playing in Penn’s 2nd Annual West Philly Shoot-Out. I remember how happy you were when Lawrenceville called asking you to be on their team. What was more imaginable? Being on the team of your high school arch rival or playing in a collegiate waterpolo tournament after four months of chemo? You were defying the odds and shaking up PENN Medicine!
Then in August, you decided to pack this photo with your things for Michigan. I remember our conversation and the paradox of this photo. You were starting a new – and this photo held vivid memories of being a cancer patient including all its physical changes. But you appreciated life’s gift in this photo. You told me why you were taking this photo. You said, “when life seems impossible, I’ll be reminded that anything is possible.”
And never did these words “if only” stop you from living your life fully. I believe it’s time for me to do so too.
“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable and then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”
— Christopher Reeve
“Reflections on a new life” – took on a new meaning during fall 2004, with two more spinal surgeries to remove a recurrence. Both Jodi and Christopher Reeve did not allow a spinal cord injury to paralyze their vibrant spirit to live, instead they summoned hope in motion. Jodi loved this quote and it soon became another mantra to live fully.