This weekend, the famous Jackie! came down to visit. I haven’t updated on her in a while…mostly because she was going through chemo and radiation, and there wasn’t anything to report during those six weeks. Jackie!’s last day of radiation was on the 22nd, which coincided with her final day of the first round of chemo. She had a week and a half to recover before an MRI would show the results of the radiation and chemo. A week and a half to party it up!

Jackie! came down to LA on Halloween to spend the weekend with us and all our LA-based friends. She came along to take Maddie trick or treating for the first time. At Maddie’s birthday party she was Pebbles Flintstone, but on Halloween it was very cold, so Maddie dressed as a sock monkey. Maddie was way more excited about Auntie Jackie! than getting candy that her mom and dad would eat.

Monkey Maddie & Auntie Jackie!

I can’t blame her, since I felt the same way.

On Saturday, Jackie! and I planned to meet up with the rest of our friends at our University’s homecoming. However, I got a call from our friend Matt late Friday night telling us that our dear friend, his wife, was in labor with their first baby. We altered our plans and visited Leslie in the hospital before homecoming. When it was determined that she wouldn’t deliver until the afternoon, we went to homecoming so we could visit with our far-flung friends and cheer for our friend Danielle, a returning USC Song Leader who was performing at halftime. As soon as we got word that Leslie had delivered (exactly at kick off), we left the game to meet our newest “nephew.” He’s so beautiful.

Austin Matthew

Jackie! couldn’t keep her lips off of him.

Auntie Jackie! kisses Austin

I really couldn’t blame her.

Auntie Heather meets Austin

The day after our new darling entered the world was Maddie’s birthday party. Jackie! and I and our other old roommate Bella have an inside joke involving Monchhichi dolls. I dared Jackie! to wear a monchhichi costume to Maddie’s party…and she did. Fur and all.

Wilma & Monchhichi

Seriously people! That’s how awesome Jackie! is.

My only regret is that Jackie! couldn’t stay longer and have more moments like this:

Auntie Jackie! and sleepy Maddie/Pebbles

We all gave Jackie! tons of hugs and kisses before she flew back to Northern California. On the morning of Monday the 3rd, she had her post-treatment MRI to see how effective the radiation and chemo had been. I held my breath all day. I had high hopes but I didn’t want to be blindsided like we all were by her stage three diagnosis.

I finally heard from Jackie! about two hours after her meeting with her doctor. It was all good news. The tumor hadn’t grown, and while the results couldn’t say definitively, the oncologist thought that the tumor might have actually shrank in some areas. This was the best news we could have hoped for. This means that Jackie! moves on to “maintenance chemo.” She’ll take INTENSE chemo for five days a month, then be off for three weeks. And while it’s AMAZING the tumor hasn’t gotten worse, it doesn’t mean she’s cured. Far from it. Things are still not hunky dory (if you read her sister’s updates, you might not realize the magnitude as she tends to sugarcoat things). It’s a waiting game to see when her tumor will come back. However, Jackie! is determined to live her life ignoring her cancer as much as possible. She will still think about it every day (how can she NOT?), but she won’t allow it to run her life. That’s why she’s AMAZING.

Cancer is a part of Jackie!’s life for the rest of her life, but she isn’t going to let it BE her life. She still needs good wishes and prayers. Maddie and Mike and I support and love her with all our heart.