button updates

button history

button art

button messages

January 18, 2003

Thanks to a team of friends and hospice workers, Mary died quietly last night at home, encircled by friends, lover, sister, birdsong, dogs and so much Love.

It's hard to imagine a world without Mary in it.


Mary's slumber party on December 28 January 9

From Maureen...

It feels lonely writing this update by myself, when this website for the past 15 ½ months has been such a collaboration. Since Christmas, despite being on continuous oxygen, Mary's grown weaker, and struggled with different kinds of pain, and mostly not had the energy to write or read or talk much.

It all seems to have come on fast ... but the fact is Mary's been mustering phenomenal energy for some time now despite her faltering body. Last week, after consulting with trusted advisors in San Francisco, she decided to make the trip to Dallas for the next scheduled set of GVAX vaccinations—a trip that, right up to the moment we left, felt like trying to get to the moon (including having to organize oxygen all along the way plus take the risk of being stranded in Dallas if Mary were unexpectedly hospitalized). We made it safely there and back, but it used just about everything Mary had ... and there's been little respite since.

I'm walking through this with Mary and doing what needs doing, one day at a time, but I have to say my heart is just in shards. Like so many of you, I've never known anyone like Mary—or, as a friend of ours says laughing and shaking her head, "that amazing ... Maryness!"—and the nearly 18 years we've been together have been richer in love and laughter and conversation than I ever dreamed possible.

I watched prayers fall on Mary during this trip to Texas—literally, strangers reaching out to her after the briefest of conversations and praying like she was in their church for her comfort and care—and watched Mary give it right back. And right along with her hope and humor and courage, she of course had the whole human bundle of fear and sorrow and frustration: during a long and worrisome wait through an unexpected diagnostic test in Dallas, Mary told me, "I am so tired of thinking about cancer. I want to be thinking about poetry, or the Supreme Court. Or the Giants." (She then proceeded to recite, in full and from memory, a favorite Emily Dickinson poem.) So much of her energy now is going to the most basic things: sleep, digestion, juggling pain drugs, trying to eat, trying to get into a comfortable position.

The only solace I know is the love and company of the people who've been walking this hard path with us—like the dear friends who came for a sleepover 12/28 and clambered into bed with Mary and me for laughter and stories and tears, and then made breakfast.

And of course we are also tremendously grateful ...

  • ... for the steady outpouring of practical support from friends and loved ones, including grocery runs and dog care and frequent flier miles;
  • ... to the doctors and nurses and staff at UCSF who helped Mary get out of the hospital and back to our own home; and to the UC oncology team and the Infusion Center staff who flocked around Mary like loving mother birds to make her comfortable when she went in for care of a blood clot in her leg;
  • ... to the people at Apria medical supplier and United Airlines who came through so beautifully with oxygen during Mary's trip to Dallas;
  • ... to the Baylor staff in Dallas, who vaccinated Mary and were extraordinarily supportive and kind;
  • ... to our beloved couples counselor and acupuncturist who have both made house-calls to care for us;
  • ... to the city employees who've donated hundreds of hours of sick pay to Mary's Catastrophic Illness account;
  • ... for Benny and Melba, and the birds, and their continuing good health and joyful presence in our days;
  • ... for all of you who've sent messages through this site and by phone and mail and all ways to remind us of your love and support;
  • ... for each other.
I'll continue to print messages out from this site for Mary to read when she can, and of course will update this page as often as I'm able.

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

—Mary Oliver, "In Blackwater Woods"

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day"

December 25

From Maureen...

Oh my, but a lot can happen in a month.

Mary's received two rounds of the GVAX vaccine by now, and has gone from feeling much improved to getting weaker and weaker and needing oxygen. Our best gift this Christmas was not to spend it in a hospital.

  • Mary got such a boost from the first set of vaccinations on November 17, it was as though her immune system said "Aha!" That week in Texas, even before Mary felt better, we drove 70 miles north in the middle of the night, away from city lights, and parked in a rural field and lay on the hood of our car in our parkas in the clear 30-degree night to watch a fantastic meteor shower. And stopped off for waffles at 5 a.m. on the way back to our hotel, caught a few hours sleep, and went in to Baylor for blood draws later that morning. For the next week and a half, Mary dramatically reduced the Tylenol/codeine pills she was taking for pain in her side and her spirits were good. We learned that Benny's tumor, though a scarey one, was less aggressive than first thought and he wouldn't have to go through a second surgery. My brother Rog and his wife Julie hosted a wonderful Thanksgiving on November 28, where we and our loved ones and family laughed and ate gave thanks for the survival of Mary and Rog and Benny the dog! What an unbelievable year it's been.

  • Then, at the beginning of this month, Mary's pain started coming back and grew stronger, which was discouraging, and her various healers supported her in getting onto low-dose morphine to handle it. She also started getting more and more tired, and we attributed this to the vaccine which kicks the immune system into high gear. But Mary's fatigue started going way past the expected side-effects of "flu-like symptoms" and "weakness": occasionally she was having a hard time just standing up and having a conversation at the same time. Even though the Dallas research team was unstintingly kind and encouraging, Mary really dragged her way through the second (overnight) visit to Baylor on December 12 for another 16 injections; and the Procrit (red blood cell boosting) shots they were giving her at UCSF didn't seem to be helping. The fatigue wasn't unrelenting, you understand: sometimes Mary felt better, and she enjoyed herself for hours at the OCC holiday party on December 17—in part I'm sure due to the excellent company!

Well, we found out during an appointment at UC on December 23 that Mary's been doing the equivalent of climbing Everest without oxygen. Her "oxygen saturation" (the thing they measure with the clothespin on your finger) was dangerously low, but her red blood cells (which carry oxygen around the body) were not, so it meant her lungs weren't getting enough oxygen to begin with. She went to the ER immediately where we spent the the next 12 hours waiting while they did a new CT scan and various doctors and residents tried to evaluate possible causes, ranging from the (metastasized) cancer in Mary's lungs to undetected blood clots to side effects of the GVAX vaccine to some pneumonia-like infection. Our main goal was to stay as independent as possible and go home with oxygen (and possibly antibiotics) for Mary, unless there was some condition that could be addressed only in the hospital.

Because we were lucky and in the hands of good people at UCSF, Mary did not have to stay hospitalized for several days. She came back home last night, despite the fact that most of the outside companies handling home-oxygen setups were on a holiday schedule on December 24 and not taking on any new cases. I can't tell you what a relief it is to be in our own home! Mary's been using her oxygen continually, and getting relief, and we're slowly getting our emotional legs under us again in light of this change. We'll be following up with various experts and trusted ones to evaluate what's going on and how to proceed.

The best way to know how Mary's doing is to hear her in own words, so here goes:

From Mary...

Hi, to all our friends and loved ones reading this:

We've reached a crucial juncture in our ongoing cancer battle, I believe. Having had 2 rounds of vaccine therapy in Dallas in November and December, and scheduled for the 3rd round (of 6 total) in early January, I am experiencing some changes, some for the better, some for the worse. The last week or more I suffered great weakness and loss of/inability to hold onto oxygen. After a rough ride including hospitalization 12/23-12/24, and thanks most of all to Maureen (and to some doctors and nurses at UC hospital who understood our resolve to get a home oxygen supply get up on a holiday, with thanks also to Walter and Apria medical supplier), we made it home on 12/24 at 5 p.m.

Being on an oxygen "tether" (yes, Benny and Melba, I understand your frustation with leashes a bit better now), is hard. It's also a big relief.

I am "hanging in", feeling very weak and tired, grounded in the realities, and also hopeful and faithful.

This group of December holidays (we celebrate all of them, really) brought some sweet blessings, including:

  • Maureen and my dear sister Helen, with whom I've grown closer and for whom I've grown more appreciative during cancer, helped me get through some hard hours at UC yesterday. Some other friends gave us wonderful company and love, too, during that adventure.
  • The UCSF nurses rescued a favorite pillow and pillowcase that we left behind and that they almost incinerated (sometimes little things can feel very large).
  • Our dear friends Reneé and Gaylene visited us at home today for real talk, real tears, and real laughter (as well as lots of dog-hugging).
  • Maureen's love for me remains the strongest strand in the weaving/hammock I lie in safely. All your strands hold me up and continue to remind me that I'm provided for and loved.
Thank you, everyone, and Happy Whatever-You-Are-Celebrating!

Here's to 2003, full of blessings, and a Giant Prayer for Peace.

Mary in
Dallas November 10
Mary in Dallas, November 10

running in Pine Lake Park November 22

From Maureen...

Mary has started receiving the GVAX vaccine (very bravely sitting still for 16 shots, 8 in each arm) and appears to be tolerating it quite well. We'll write more about this later.

We were so frustrated and unbelieving and sad to learn, just before the trip to Dallas, that our just-turned-8-year-old dog Benny had a type of cancer on his leg: the little bare spot on his thigh that we'd noticed last month turned out to be a mast cell tumor.

Benny had surgery, and came home to recuperate with a big ole incision in his thigh. Friends—no, angels!—who came by and stayed at the house to take care of Benny, and look after Melba, made it possible for us both to travel as we planned.

We'll get the pathology results on Benny's tumor shortly (we decided to wait until Mary's medical visits in Dallas are done). Meanwhile, right along side my gratitude and great hope that help is on the way for Mary, I am furious that our dear Benny Boy—who has been a comfort to us and daily reminder of pure resilience and joy—is also threatened by cancer. We lost our first dog Eureka to cancer, too.

As our friends and the activists at Breast Cancer Action say, "Cancer Sucks!"

November 10

More great news!!!

At the end of her visit to Dallas (Mary Crowley Research Center at Baylor University) Mary was accepted into the pancreatic cancer vaccine trial, and will return to receive her first set of shots on November 18. We were both very impressed by the warmth and skill of the medical team at Baylor, and felt very welcomed there.

We'll be updating you with details of what all this means shortly. Meanwhile, know we feel great relief and gratitude for the opportunity to try the vaccine approach, which tries to kick-start the immune system into recognizing and combatting cancer. And unlike chemotherapy, the side-effects (erhm, effects) are reported to be pretty bearable.

Thanks again for all your support!

and Maureen in Monterey October 8

From Mary...

Hi, everyone! So this is my brief "share" for here and now:

I'm doing well, all in all. I learned yesterday that I have a reasonably good chance (much better than the odds of surviving to this point, if you believe in "odds"—I reserve my opinion) of getting into an immune (vaccine) therapy trial somewhere in the U.S. during the next 4-8 weeks. (There's a shortage of the vaccine). So the goal is to be strong and well and ready for that experience, as well as to live each day to its fullest and ripest.

There is clinical evidence of cancer in my lungs as well as my liver. Mostly—overall—I am not in great physical pain. However, the big challenge is dealing with fear and dread, of course. On that challenge, I am making steady progress, with the help of my H.P., all the love in my life (including yours), my healing angels (both human and canine and, naturally, all the birds) and by taking risks. I am getting a new psychotherapist (after years of not being in therapy, thinking that after all those years I did go, I had graduated!), taking care of my not-as-vulnerable parts (getting my teeth cleaned, doing chiropractic work). I am maintaining the residence of my spirit, this body, like I will be living in it for a long, long time.

Meanwhile, I have decided to undergo (notice we never say "over-go") oral chemotherapy to hopefully knock the cancer back some while we wait for the magic "GVAX" vaccine door to pop open and admit me.

Please email us, and know that if our updates are irregular, we're busy fighting for my life.

Love to you,
Mary D.

From Maureen....

Thank you to all of you who sent messages of support and wisdom about my brother Roger's brain hemorrhage, as well as Mary's latest CT scan news. Rog stabilized, had a successful surgery to repair an aneurysm (though what caused the original bleed remains a mystery), and is back home in amazingly good shape for what he's been through.

Thank you also to the rockin' amazon housecleaners and menehunes who descended on our house while Mary and I took a much-needed weekend away in Monterey, and who transformed our place into a welcoming, clean home touched by loving hands, while still managing to preserve our very homey clutter of art and photos and books and stuffed animals and altar-y things around the house.

A little added detail on the vaccine trial that Mary spoke of. There are research sites in 5 cities throughout the country—Spokane, Dallas, Tyler TX, Baltimore at Johns Hopkins, and Albany. As more batches of the (scarce) GVAX vaccine become available, patients will be called from the waiting lists (which range from 4 - 20 people at the different sites) to assess their condition and eligibility for a slot at that time.

You can read more about GVAX and the trial on the web. It's described there as "fully enrolled" because more vaccine will not become available until the next month or so, potentially creating one or a few additional slots at each research site involved in the trial.

September 20

From Maureen...

Hoo boy. It's been a roller coaster ride this week. Mary and I geared up the support and research networks again, and the information and supportive messages have been rolling in every day. Thank you so much to all who have been reaching back to us, and also to those of you who've been putting out the word to others.

We're following up on a couple of immunotherapy (cancer vaccine) trials that may help Mary; redoubling her nutritional and other complementary medicine supports; getting lots of TLC and wise care from her amazing acupuncturist and our precious couples counselor; and lining up an appointment with an M.D. who's been referred to us as an excellent mega-researcher for cancer patients in Mary's situation.

But then, just as Mary and I were sort of spiritually getting up and dusting off our knees and seeing our way forward, we heard late Sunday night that my one and only younger brother Roger had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage of unknown cause, and was in intensive care in Redwood City. Rog has pulled through the first crisis, is now speaking and coherent and receiving good care, but it has left the whole family—who, thankfully, all live within driving distance and have rallied around—coping well but awfully shellshocked. OK, left me awfully shellshocked: just what in the world is happening here???!

Mary, in the midst of her own crisis, has turned around and been a huge and loving and practical support for me all this week. I am grateful beyond words for this, and it reminds me in fact of how we've managed to make it through the past year so intact, in the ways that matter most: neither one of us is A Rock. We're small when we need to be, and strong when we need to be, and sometimes this changes a lot even within one (hard) day. This seems to be true of our most supportive and durable friendships, too.

More from us later ...

September 15

From Mary...

I am looking forward to going into work tomorrow at the OCC and seeing and sharing contact and comfort with my co-workers, letting them know I'm going to be out on Catastrophic Illness Leave again, and providing my leadership plans to key staff and the Police Commission's officers.

I will be spending the next month strengthening my body and spirit, resting, preparing as much as a person can for what I hope will be successful further treatments, including possibly immunotherapy (vaccine therapy) starting if and when I am admitted to the trial, which may begin in 1-2 months.

It is extremely hard to be confronted with so many unknowns, so much that is way, way beyond my control. My faith in the essential goodness that is always present in some form—real, potential, imaginable—comforts me deeply. Along with plenty of fear and distress, I am hope-full.

Thanks, Maureen, for this and all these entries. Love to everyone listening.

September 9


From Mary...

I'm sorry and sad to have to convey: the cancer spread to my liver, according to today's just-received CT scan report. This is really hard news for Maureen and myself. It's also surprising to us, just because I've been and am right now feeling strong and healthy.

If you're reading this and feeling bad, just know: so are we, dammit! But, also, we really take strength and hope—yes, hope!—knowing you're out there sharing our crappy crappy news.

One confession of ego: In the shadow of the awful 1-year anniversary of attacks on the people and life of this land, I wanted to be able to post great good news about my health. O well. I am here, so's Maureen, and we are o.k. for today.

So: send us a message or a card. Don't let this scare you away (unless it must). We need and look forward to your words greetings wishes concerns now more than even before.

And, please remember: today we are here, and well, petting our dogs hugging kissing laughing and crying.


War Is Not
the Answer

P.S. We took the dogs, a $5 bag of jellybeans, homemade signs ("Peace", "Invading Iraq is not the answer") and drove to a peace rally in Marin yesterday; passed out jellybeans and encouragement to the human chain for peace; and finished the day at Muir Beach romping and in Mill Valley reading and chomping.

Poster ©2001 Steven Lyons

September 3

From Maureen...

No question, this summer has been a precious gift.

Just about a year ago now, when the dire words "pancreatic cancer" crashed in on our lives, who would've thought Mary would be so well, so strong and—except for a huge need for sleep, a normal result of months of chemotherapy—so herself as she is now? Wow!!

Mary's back at work full-time at the OCC, and I'm wrapping up a satisfying tech project in support of international women's rights and health for the Ford Foundation. We've taken daily joy in our dogs, gotten angry and activated by the news again, and have more to give the people close to us because life sure goes on: this summer two of our friends had their loved ones suddenly thrown into a fight for their lives (our hugs reach out to you Gaylene, and to you Nancy).

And despite a routine that's blessedly normal, I can't say we haven't been scared. Each new CT scan—the next one is scheduled for tomorrow, September 4—brings it all back, from the night Mary's fasting and taking the dyes to when she's lying on the table (joking with the techs of course) to when we're sitting in those little doctor's exam room chairs several days later, our stomachs dropping, waiting for the results.

July's CT results showed a couple of small liver anomalies, two tiny spots on a finer-than-usual scan, and Mary's blood tumor marker number was a wonderfully low 12. Of course we fervently hope that the results of tomorrow's tests will be the same or better...and that there are no new surprises!

We'll post the results when we get them, September 9, and meanwhile please keep Mary and me in your thoughts and prayers and beams and hearts.


and Rhonda
Mary and friend Rhonda, May 2002
July 1

From Maureen...

The past two months have been very full. In May Mary celebrated the end of her treatment (and her excellent test results) with a trip to Hawaii, where we explored the Big Island with Mary's sister, visited an old friend near Hilo and replenished our spirits (and our sleep) on our beloved Kaua'i.

May 25th was Mary's 54th birthday and it was exhilarating to celebrate that milestone among good friends, including several who travelled from the East Coast to be with us. Wendy Williams, you just knocked our socks off when you rang our doorbell, I still don't know how you managed to keep that a surprise!

Then, on May 28, Mary started back to work full-time as Director of the OCC, and has been going strong ever since. She's walking regularly, sleeping a lot when she can, and faithfully keeping up herbs and acupuncture. It's been a busy time but normal busy, which is a huge relief for both of us.

Last week Mary had her first CT scan since the end of her treatments in April, and we are waiting to get the results today. Even though she feels in excellent health, waiting like this just brings back the whole ordeal ... so a special thanks to all the folks who celebrated Gay Pride with us this weekend: you kept up our spirits and made us feel very much alive!

From Mary, later the same day...

The CT scan news is essentially perfect—no sign of any metastasis or new tumor. There is a tiny (really tiny) anomaly on the liver, but the oncologist strongly emphasized that it's very likely nothing menacing. All prayers and positive thoughts are welcome to include a mention that the little "micro-dot" be innocent and meaningless.

The blood marker test (CA 19-9) remains at a wonderful low 12, well below the worry-line of 37 or above.

Translation of all this: the test results match my feeling that I am doing just great. The outsides and insides of me are harmonizing well! Love to everyone who's checked in here lately, and we will be putting up some Hawaii photos soon.

May 1

Happy International Workers' Day!

This month Mary celebrates her birthday (on May 25) and on May 28 returns to work at the OCC.

Though her body is protesting "What have you been doing to me?!!", Mary is recovering some of her justly fabled energy. Her doctor has scheduled her for a follow-up CT scan in June, and she is continuing her treatments with acupuncture and herbs.

We're taking a break for now, and will have more updates in three weeks, including recent photos and patches we just made for an Art for (Cancer) Recovery quilt at UCSF.

meadowlark by
April 16


From Maureen ...

Yesterday Mary went in for her first full CT scan since January and the results are wonderful!!!!

"There is no evidence of new tumors or metastatic disease."

This is exhilarating news, coming at the end of many months of chemotherapy, radiation, Chinese medicine and the support of many allies in healing against this deadly form of cancer.

It feels so good to share this good news ... and even better to live it! ¡Viva!

Mary at Boalt on March 20 April 6

A milestone. The finish line. Did we really get here????

Today Mary goes in to UCSF for her last chemotherapy infusion, her last official step in the clinical trial regimen that began last October. She is exhausted but happy, and in amazingly good physical and emotional condition for what she's been through. Here is a quick update on how things have been going:

  • The March 20 event at Boalt (and the Berkeley dinner after) in Mary's honor just filled up our hearts! Mary was flying so high afterwards that we couldn't just drive home across the bridge but had to find a Berkely cafe (espresso for me, steamed soy for Mary) and keep talking about it, the latest we've stayed up at night (for something fun) in recent memory! We'll be posting more about the event, including putting up photos and transcripts of some of the tributes.

  • At the end of March, the UCSF staff treating Mary again ran the blood-marker test called CA19-9, which helps measure the progress of pancreatic cancer treatment (it's similar to, though less accurate than, the PSA marker for prostate cancer or CA-125 for ovarian cancer). A good CA19-9 result is under 37; Mary's was twelve (12).

  • Today Mary gets her last chemo infusion and spends the next week or two recuperating from it. The clinical trial she's enrolled in officially ends April 15, at the end of her last 3-on, 1-off chemotherapy cycle.

  • Next week, on April 15, they do a final CT scan to see how Mary responded to the full course of treatment. We get the results on April 17.
So light your candles, send up your prayers, keep us in your hearts, and thank you for your ongoing support!


At UC Berkeley, the Boalt Women's Association, Boalt Women's Law Journal, LGBT Caucus, Berkeley Law Foundation, Coalition for Diversity, and the Center for Social Justice, together with Boalt Dean Eleanor Swift and Dean Vicki Ortiz, are co-sponsoring a reception to honor Mary and her work.

Date: Wednesday, March 20th (the first day of spring!)
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: Boalt Hall, University of California, Goldberg Room

This event is catered and open to the public.

We welcome you to come!

The flyer says: "Mary co-founded Equal Rights Advocates, taught sexual orientation law classes at Stanford and Michigan, argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of gay rights and gender equality, challenged the representation of minorities and women in the SF Fire Department, and more."

Project FeederWatch March 7

Today is exactly six months after Maureen and I were told I had pancreatic cancer, and approximately six months from being told that I would die within 6 months (99% chance) and that surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy were not going to be available.

I feel glad and thankful to be alive today, and I feel more. I feel grateful for all the forces, starting and ending with my Higher Power, that have brought me to here and now.

I feel angry and disappointed that my medical care started with someone issuing a sort of "death sentence", especially because I have come to realize how tragically common such "medical hexing" is, and how many people less blessed and less fortunate than myself are seriously harmed by such practices.

I feel hopeful, enthusiastic about finishing chemo in several weeks, exhausted, still working to stay open to the as-yet-undiscovered significances and opportunities of this experience—even as I am tired of it, even as I do not believe there is necessarily any "point" to the whole experience. That is, I am both respectful of the meanings and insights that cancer has brought, and I am respectful of the wasteful, burdensome and (my inner teen insists) really suck-y nature of this illness, treatment, etc.

My gratitude list for March 7, 2002
(a partial list, of course):
  • Maureen: she has been beside me, showing me the greatest love, honesty and compassion, AND HUMOR (!!!!!), every step of the way—I am grateful to her beyond words
  • every City employee who has generously donated sick leave, suggested it to others, or just wanted to donate, so that I have been kept financially afloat by contributions to the T.J. Anthony Catastrophic Illness Donation program and emotionally buoyed and bolstered by the good will and help of my brothers and sisters in City employment
  • every doctor, nurse, technician, administrator, service worker who has cared and acted to see me get better
  • the winter and spring birds in our backyard, which I've counted (only missed one 2-week period) for the Cornell Lab of Orthnithology once again in '01-'02—the slate-colored juncos and the house finches, not to mention our acrobatic squirrels, have given me hope and laughter
  • my sister, Helen: she has provided a steady outpouring of good messages, thoughtful questions and a special surprise to me during this struggle
  • my co-workers at the Office of Citizen Complaints, who've worked extra-hard to keep OCC going strong in my absence, and who've shown me special care and consideration in what I know has been a super-hard time for each of them
  • every person who's sat in a 12-step meeting with me and spoken or listened, helping me day by day
  • friends, including Dunlap family members, from all around the city and across the globe, who've called, written, e-mailed, visited and reached out with love and support for me
  • our dogs Benny and Melba, who've kept me moving and walking and stepping past the pain and depression, and who constantly cuddle and nuzzle when we're at home; and Reneé, who's provided them with walks, care and love at many crucial times over the months
  • Beverly, who's shown me how to stay strong and how, in the midst of whatever, to rest and heal
  • Liz, who's provided a river of powerful empathy and listening and insights that have kept our family afloat through it all
  • everyone who helps Beverly, Liz and Reneé to be the souls of sanity and kindness they are
  • the fact that we are heading into Springtime, the scraggly little branches are putting out buds and leaves, the Earth is growing softer and more open, and the light is growing brighter by day
  • people, near and far, old and new, who've taken the trouble and time to correspond with me, telling me how this all affects them, giving me encouragement, lending all sorts of hands

This gratitude list could go on and on, and in my heart it does. What I ask for, for this day, is to have the strength to believe in the good prognosis, to keep hope and convey hope, to live through whatever life presents, and to go on beyond fear. I am blessed. Thank you, everyone!

Jan. 24 at JapanTown February 26, 2002

From Maureen...

The past few weeks have been something of a slog through chemotherapy, with the "finish line" still feeling pretty far away. Mary's had some dose reductions (still within the clinical trial guidelines), and "Procrit" shots (a red-blood-cell booster that's popular with cancer patients and athletes who plan to cheat in the Olympics) to bolster her physically. She'll be posting here later this week.

On a happier note, the University of California Berkeley's law school, Boalt Hall, is hosting a reception later in March to honor Mary's civil rights work, particularly over her long career as a lawyer and a teacher. The event is open to the public, so I'll be posting more details on this later.

February 4

From Mary...

So, yo, I'm back in the groove (and, sometimes, the rut) of weekly chemotherapy, as of Monday 1/28. All the common metaphors seem pretty appropriate: roller-coaster, riding the waves, "a mixed bag". Essentially, for those wondering, chemo affects every person differently, but also tends to affect most people negatively. I am among most people, having fever, headache, rashes, nausea (which is thankfully pretty well under control by medication) and exhaustion at least 48-72 hours out of each "chemo-on" week.

"Chemo, scream-o, all a big bad dream-o" properly conveys my frame of mind about it.

However, I have this in context: I am just a few days past a great CT scan result—no new cancer showing—and the blood tests are good, too. Also, my chemo symptoms are much milder that those experienced by some other brave souls having to do this. So, even as I must complain as a sign of sentient life, I'm doing WELL.

To those who've sent emails, letters and phone messages: a million thanks, you've warmed my heart and strengthened my already-resilient spirit. Much love to all, and have a good, good week, whatever life brings.

For entries during January 2002 and earlier, including details about Mary's chemo and radiation treatment, see history, continued.
updates . history . art . messages