Jo March has always been a character I could relate to. It’s wasteful to spend too much time thinking about the past but, if I try, one of the earliest memories I have is watching the 1949 version of Little Women. I really identified with Jo as a little girl. In the roughly 25 years since, I’ve drawn from Jo quite a few times. Now is one of those times.
Last week Greg and I were driving up and down the Big Sur coast on our first vacation in over 2 years. I told Jessica about it exactly one month ago on our date to see The National Canadian Ballet perform Romeo and Juliet. There in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, seated on the ledge of the planter, we were two sisters in the center of a hurricane of purple jumpsuits. She told me about the hemp oil and I told her about my vacation. Three weeks later at a rest stop in Carmel, I finally got cell service. A text from my mom had come in on Tuesday while Greg and I camped in Big Sur, laying in the sun and eating nuts and olives. That exact moment wasn’t so peaceful about 6 hours south in Los Angeles. I had to read the text twice:
Hey family I just want to give you a heads up on what’s going on with Jess. The tumors have taken over 50% of her liver and she is starting to lose her liver function. They gave her an ultrasound this morning to see if it is possible to place a stint to help her liver continue to function at it’s already minimum capacity. The doctor said that based on her last tests that the progression of the disease is more likely the case and for them to set up hospice care. Jessica asked her nurse to give her straight talk to know what she would be experiencing and how long she has. She said she has seen the deterioration come in as soon as 3 weeks. She also said that once the liver starts to shut down (so to speak) that she will lose her awareness of what’s going on around her. She’s at home resting and she’s tired from fighting this FUCKING disease!!!! I can’t speak for how she feels about having company so if y’all want to text her to say “hey” I know she would like to know you care and are thinking of her.
In the story, Jo leaves for home from New York in haste after learning her youngest sister, Beth, is dying of Scarlett Fever. The next day I was on the road back to LA.
The hemp oil (Rick Simpson Oil) was doing wonders for Jess. At the ballet, she had already been using for about three weeks and being “gangster high” is hard work, especially when you have metastatic cancer. Or so I have been told. The week before I left for Big Sur, my mom explained that there was a trial she qualified for (her blog talks more about it) but was told she would need to stop taking the hemp oil. Once she did, her tumor markers grew and the technical stuff gets hazy from there but the short version is that there’s a shot in hell. I’m officially taking the positive stance on the matter, but I’m not religious, so it’s kind of all I have. It’s all any of us have. Western medicine has told us that we should keep her comfortable until her organs shut down. Jess is taking an offensive move by following protocols of people who have beat cancer even in stage four, though I don’t know how much of what I hear is true.
We arrived on Friday afternoon in sandals and dirty summer clothes, skin still warm from the desert sun. The house was quiet and we found David and Ashely on 2nd floor balcony, overlooking the back yard. Jess was asleep on a bench in the sunlight. Ashely arrived earlier that week with research in-hand and worked with the family and the staff to put together Jessica’s protocol, as dictated by Jess. Sunlight is part of her protocol. Over the next few days, we were witches working our brews and potions until everyone found a good rhythm for making sure Jess gets what she needs. And now we wait and see.
If you’re reading this then thanks for the support! You give a shit! That’s why I wrote this blog. Thanks to those of you who reached out already. If you haven’t, don’t feel badly. Just do whatever your religion tells you will fix this situation and that will be all the help we need.