If it weren't for the fact that 1) we need your help, and 2) my mother has a billion friends who love her and want to know what is going on, I'd be inclined to grieve privately as I'm absolutely overcome with sorrow. It's a sacred, difficult time that I don't necessarily feel ready to publicize. I'm not entirely sure how to feel yet. I would likely become an appendage of my bed without my sweet, supportive husband and a little girl who's bright smile gets me up in the morning and reassures me that I can do hard things. My child is relying on me to be her mom and now more than ever, I understand the importance of this holy calling. My mother is a bright spot in the lives of so many, and I simply can't imagine a life without her. Frankly, I don't want to imagine a life without her.
To help you better understand, here's how the events of this past week unfolded...
On Sunday, March 11, my step-dad (Keith) returned home from church at the same time my sister arrived to cook dinner, only to find my mom in an unusually incoherent (almost unconscious) and confused state. She'd not been herself for a few days leading up to this time and had slept almost continuously. We were all already worried about her; though, this behavior wasn't totally uncommon post-chemotherapy from her original cancer diagnosis in April 2015. Collectively, they made the decision to take her into the Emergency Room, and thank heavens they did as it would have otherwise cut our time with her much shorter. Doc Rich says she wouldn't have survived the week.
She'd been having awful back pain for several weeks prior, with the misunderstanding that she had a couple bulging discs. She was in so much pain that we feared she may have taken some medication, forgotten she'd taken it, and taken some more. We fully expected the doctor to deliver this report. However, when the doctor returned and asked to speak with my step-dad privately, we knew something was terribly wrong. He then pulled us all into a private room and explained...
The breast cancer she'd been diagnosed with three years ago had returned as metastatic bone cancer in her hips and spine and had possibly spread to various other organs. Further testing would be required to determine the level of it's invasion. This was not what we'd expected, and we are all still in a state of shock. Seems there's a good chance my mother is going to pass away and I don't much like it.
My mom hadn't received the news yet.
After completing the necessary radiology scans, they quietly wheeled her back to her room where we all gathered around her. She looked at Keith, and asked, "Is everything okay?" Keith hesitated, then through breaking sobs replied, "No it's not okay." My mom asked, "Is my cancer back?" To which Keith replied, "Yes, I'm so sorry." She didn't, even for a moment, think of herself. Instead, she hugged him and said, “I'm sorry for my dorky body."
This news has left us all with our heads spinning and severely aching hearts. We've got so much to think about, but most importantly...
How are we going to make this time with her beautiful and memorable, regardless of the outcome? (Shouldn't this have always been the focus of our lives?)
Dr. Rich, expects that she will likely live 2 months to 2+ years, depending on how well she responds to treatment. My mother has a fighting spirit--she says she's not ready to die yet, and she'll do whatever is necessary to stick around as long as possible.
For various and some unfortunate reasons, my parents are in a difficult financial situation. One being, my mother's previous battle with cancer only a few short years ago. We can't bear the thought that not only will my step-dad potentially be left without my mom, the light and love of his life; but, he'll also be left with the weight and worries of a poor financial situation. Not to mention, rather than spending my mother's remaining days helping her check off her "bucket list" items, without help, he'll be spending this precious time seated behind a desk, working to keep them financially afloat and afford required treatment to help my mom fight as long and hard as she wishes. Possible treatment to include: radiation, chemotherapy, alternative medicine, and appropriate clinical studies as available--some of which are only partially, or not covered at all by insurance. All that said, we’re determined to help create a more peaceful situation for my mother to spend these last moments well, however long that may be. If you are able, we could really use your help...however big or small.
My mother is a woman who is always in the service of others. Always. The reverse, however, is very difficult for her--she has a hard time receiving service from others. This Go Fund Me campaign is my humble attempt to do what she would never do for herself. She's given so much of herself to the world and those around her, and we’d love to give it back tenfold. If we exceed our goal, all the better.
Additionally, we've started a blog to record both her legacy, as well as the progress of her current hospital treatment and subsequent cancer treatment. She is such a special person--there is no one quite like my mother. We, as a family, feel strongly that her story deserves to be shared. If you decide to follow "Jorji's Story" via the blog (https://jorjisstory.blogspot.com/), be prepared for some very raw emotion that covers the entire gamut of human feelings. There will be many contributors and no editing. If you have stories about my mother that you would like to contribute, please send them to [email redacted]. You can't imagine how much we would love to stockpile a collection from all of the people who have ever known her. Please forward this information to anyone within your reach that knows my mother.
We feel God near. How thankful we are for Him, for our knowledge of the gospel, eternal families, and eternal life. With every ounce of courage and faith inside us, we do our best to look to the Lord and say, "Thy will be done." We’re certain a miracle will come of this, even if it's not the miracle we hope for. Although, we haven't fully given up on the idea that she could recover--sometimes "unexplainable" things happen.
A couple final favors...
Would you keep us in your prayers? We can use as many as we can get :-)
Would you please share this with everyone you know? The more we spread the word, the greater the impact. Thank you seems to be insufficient to express our gratitude, but thank you. We love you!
~Heidi (one of many members of the Jorji Fan Club!)
- Russ & Betsy Jones
- Katie Burke
- Kim Sadowski
- Dwight Muse
- Cynthia Conk
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