|Barbara as a young girl in Milwaukee|
The lung cancer treatment has been ongoing since 2009, requiring the deployment of chemotherapy and radiation, an often debilitating combination of approaches that can force the strongest of people to succumb. Mom, however, has continued to soldier on. Until early this winter she was still going to work (at age 78), volunteering at the Shorewood Public Library, and hanging out with friends at Gilda's Club, whose meetings at the Milwaukee Jewish Community Center Karl Campus have been a source of great comfort and strength. Not really a person to dwell on her feelings, Barbara focused on arts and crafts projects, teaching her friends a handy trick or two with baskets, knitting, and making DIY greeting cards. Until recently she was an excellent gardner, knitter, needlepointer and, while raising her children, a conjurer of homemade clothes for her kids. So, you know, she has what to say on these matters.
Late in the autumn and into the winter of 2012, Mom began experiencing new pains and her doctors determined that the breast cancer, which we thought had been defeated, had in fact metastasized into leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, a particularly virulent form of cancer that attacks the spine and brain. Needless to say, this was depressing news for Mom. "Can you blame me for thinking that I was going to defeat this thing?" she said recently.
Last week Mom asked if we'd create occasional posts, updates and other such news on a blog and so here you have it.
Really, what she'd like is for you, her friends and neighbors, to be able to get periodic updates on her condition and have a space to leave comments, prayers, and good wishes, which she'll read or have read to her.
At various stages in this five year battle, we got her a cell phone (she hated it and rejected it) and tried convincing her of the merits of a laptop or iPad (zero interest). Her appetite for working her way through her reading list (from books printed on paper and held in her beautiful hands) and devotion to the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club (television with the sound down, Uecker on the radio) remain unimpaired. She remains an avid political animal and looks forward to casting her recall vote against Governor Walker.
Mom would like nothing more than for you to share a thought, a wish, a prayer that can bring a smile to her face. Please feel free to do that in the comments section here on this blog and we'll make sure she knows you're sending your love.
And remember to check back for periodic updates.
With deep gratitude for all your concern and good wishes.
Robin, Jackie, Andy & Steven