Wednesday, August 22, 2012

XENI: MY DEEPEST CONDOLENCES

Trigger Alert.....

This is a link to the blog of Xeni Jardin.  Before you click the link, I would be irresponsible if I failed to share the contents of her blog post.

Xeni is a breast cancer patient.  She is currently is the middle of treatment.  She is not supposed to be a breast cancer patient, but then, who is?

Xeni is one of the people beyond the computer screen that I have come to know and yes, to love.  I think I felt an immediate bond with her because I was "with" her when she tweeted her way through her baseline, routine mammography. That was in December.

She was wise-cracking her way from the coffee shop to the radiology office.  She was trading barbs with her friends.  I was watching the tweets flying back and forth.  It was humorous.  Some of the tweets were laugh out loud funny.  As the day progressed, the tweets began to take on a more serious tone.  The last tweet was her announcement to the twitter universe that she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was there.  In real time.  Horrified.  Saddened.

Yesterday, Xeni was on a death watch.  Her boyfriend's sister lay dying in a hospice facility on this coast as she traveled back to the west coast.  She spent time with Aileen.  She was with Aileen until she  was no longer conscious.  Xeni is still in treatment for her own breast cancer.  She had no choice but to return home on Monday.  Yesterday afternoon, Aileen died.

Shortly before she took her last breath, Aileen's brother, Xeni's boyfriend, brought her dog to her hospice bedside so Jethro could say goodbye.  The picture is difficult to view.  But it's real.  This is what breast cancer looks like..... in real life.  It's not a pink ribbon.  It's not a stupid cupcake.  It's not boobstagram or saving TaTa's.  It should have been about saving the life of Aileen.

Instead, she is gone..... two young daughters devastated.  A brother, heartbroken.  Xeni, who is a member of that family grieving the loss of a "sister."

Jethro, saying his goodbye, will stay with you for a long time.  May this photo spur you to remember the reality that is breast cancer.  Close to half a million people around the world will die of this disease this year...... I'd like to strangle someone with that ribbon right about now.  This is wrong.

I hope you will join me in offering your condolences to Xeni, Miles and Aileen's daughters.

It bears repeating.  This is as real as it gets.  It's hard to see but it's important for each of us to bear witness to the reality behind the ribbon.  This is why I fight.  This is why I have no patience for Estee Lauder ads or Java Jugs cupcakes.  Where would you put any of that into a scene LIKE THIS.

13 comments:

  1. Beautiful! I am sitting with tears running down my face. My sympathy to her family, what a hard road they are traveling.

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    1. Yes, it's an awful road. Those girls are too young to bury their mom. She was too young. This is so sad.

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  2. Ann Marie,

    I follow Xeni on Twitter and like you I love her wise-cracking spin she puts on things. I'm so sorry to hear about this loss in her family. Reading this is heartbreaking. Again. And the photo transports me back to almost five years ago now when my parents' little cairn terrier visited my mom while she was dying from metastatic breast cancer. Yes, this is why we keep at it isn't it? Thanks so much for sharing this.

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    1. You know it, Nancy.... This IS why we keep at it. I'm so sorry for everything you have gone through, too.

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  3. AnnMarie...Thank you for sharing this. I also know Xeni from Twitter and #bcsm and when we met for lunch I almost got to see her in person but she couldn't come. Another death from breast cancer-It's heartbreaking. This is happening in the US every 14 minutes-there is another death from MBC. I am determined as a patient advocate to see a change, especially with those that get mets. It's inhumane what happens as they go down the line of chemo drugs till the QOL is no longer balancing the effects of the disease.
    My thoughts and prayers go to Xeni, Aileen's daughters Aileen and Katie, her brother Miles, their dog, Jethro, and the rest of her family and friends.

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    1. Your comments remind me of Jenny who make that decision-choosing quality over quantity. I get so sad when I think of her. She had such a short time (if any) between chemo side effects waning and the liver mets killing her. I don't know when we will see meaningful change but I hope it's coming soon.

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  4. From one Ann Marie to another...from one breast cancer woman to another....heavy hearted and with strong love I send. This just solidifies my fight! Thanks for sharing....
    Stupiddumbbreastcancer.blogspot.com

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    1. And, I might add, from one NY-er to another, too. And one Italian to another, too. Love the photos in your blog. THEY are real, too. Glad to "meet" you....

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    2. Haha love it! Actually I went to school with a Ciccarella, not sure of the spelling. Thanks so much the photos have helps me and I have gotten lots of emails about them helping others. Every Bc woman has a story and every story is ready to help someone. I really believe in spreading the awareness. Early detection saved my life, literally! Please spread my story and I will spread yours! Peace sister

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  5. This picture makes me numb, because I know I will be Aileen someday down the road. My heart breaks for this family. The raw emotion that I fight this disease with is so tried and so very discouraged that the cure will not come soon enough for me, Aileen and our family.
    My Prayers and Thoughts
    Chris, Texas

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    1. Chris,

      I hope you NEVER run out of treatment options. You have come to mean TOO much to me. You take care of YOU and let the rest of us do the fighting to make sure there are new treatments available.

      I send you love. Always...

      xoxox

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  6. You'd think by now we'd be used to it right? One more life snuffed out because of this bloody cancer
    We will never get used to it. as long as there is no cure .
    How do we keep justifying this supposed war on Breast Cancer when nothing really changes?
    I didn't know this lovely lady, mother, someones daughter. I am a twit at Twitter haven't quite figured it out.
    I don't know anymore. What will it really take?
    Love Alli XX

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    1. I don't know either... but I know it's exhausting. I do know I can't give up. Too much breast cancer in my immediate family-mom 2x, younger sister, other sister (with an almost)..... Now, it's all about my daughter.

      It's very disheartening but I feel like some of what I am seeing in the medical feeds holds promise. Maybe I'm just looking at all of it through rose colored glasses....

      xoxo

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