Friday, April 20, 2012

Xeni Jardin - Tweeting About Her Breast Cancer

If you don't know who Xeni Jardin is, I'll start by saying she has long been a hero of mine ... long before she, too, was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2011.

I first encountered Xeni when I started following Boing Boing many years ago. It's a website she co-founded with some others (who I also admire for individual reasons) and for which she writes. It's my favourite tech/pop culture/art/smart stuff blog and it's a favourite of many.

Xeni, for whom using technology is like breathing, decided to get a mammogram at 41 after learning that two friends in the same age bracket were both diagnosed with cancer. And, being Xeni, she decided to share her mammogram experience on the internet. She was shocked to learn right there and then that she had breast cancer ... almost a whole decade before she would be encouraged to get screened.

She is undergoing a pretty nasty chemo regimen right now in the hope of kicking cancer butt and she tweets about it on Twitter, for those of you who might not know what tweeting is all about. Here are a few of her tweets about losing her hair.

What she wrote about her mammogram and subsequent diagnosis (at the clinic she went to they did the biopsy right there and then ... amazing ... NO WAITING!! ... God, I remember that dreadful waiting for what you pretty much know will be bad news ... but you still need to hear it ... and you're still hoping beyond hope). You can read Xeni's story here at Boing Boing.

Here's an especially touching and wise part of her story:
"The gravity in this place is different. I've spoken to others who've traveled out here, too, and returned home safely. When you become one of them, you learn quickly that you share a language others can't understand.
The trick, these fellow travelers tell me, is to accept the not knowing and find your equilibrium in that new gravity. Calm the mind. Find your balance out on the cold planet, whether or not you know the next step, or the date of the next appointment, or what good or bad news the Technetium-99 isotopes floating around in your blood during the last scan reveal.
You must be at peace with not knowing, they tell me. That is how you get through outer space, and find your way back home.
The thing about this thing, or, at least, this first week of this thing, is how it takes you out there to the cold planet again and again and again, when you aren't expecting it. Long, undulating waves of fear pull you out to where you are alone and unreachable, even by words sent from the strongest satellite.
The thing that brings you back is love."  
The Xeni I know is fierce and tough but she's also scared silly, too. Her commentary on twitter about her experience covers the gamut ... anger, frustration, fear, sarcasm, keen observations, and, of course, her wry wit.

I wish her well.

Click on the photos of her tweets to enlarge them.
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