Leiomyosarcoma. That's the type of cancer that killed Juliet. She fought it hard for over 4 years. No one should have to endure what she did just to have what she lovingly called "my little life." She never claimed to be brave. But she was.

Everyone kept telling us how the story of Juliet's cancer, her fight to live, her recovery, our adopting Abby, and all the rest would make a great screenplay. Juliet tried to write about it several times. The first time was in 1991, just two days after she got home from the hospital after the initial operation.

The Story of My Cancer

That's a voodoo doll Juliet bought in New Orleans when we went there for a vacation in 1992. We were told that if you wrote your wish many times and pinned it to the doll, then the doll would look out for you. "What the hell?" Jules thought.

Years later, after we had adopted Abby and after the cancer had returned, Juliet tried again to write down the story of her battle with the cancer. Unfortunately, she didn't get much farther than she did the first time.

My Cancer Story, take 2

Our friends, Alison and Ralph, made these cards for Juliet to hand out. I don't think she ever really did. However, it amused her to think of the folks to whom she wanted to hand one... for instance, anyone complaining about getting another year older on their birthday.

Following her initial surgery and chemotherapy in 1991, Juliet's cancer came back in 1992. What happened then can best be told by some of the newsletters I sent out to our families and friends.

Updates for friends and family

This is the contents of a small "good luck bag" that Juliet took with her to the hospital during her chemotherapy cycles. There was a list of things in this world that made life worthwhile. There was a good fortune from a fortune cookie, two lucky pennies, a dream catcher, a baby from a Mardi Gras king cake, and two mice because we needed to think that "if the drugs can work on mice, they can work on you."

In November of 1992, Juliet was interviewed by Dr. Bob Arnot of the CBS This Morning for a series on cutting-edge medical treatments. The interview took place after Juliet had finished all of her conventional chemotherapy and just before the autologous bone marrow transplant. While stem cell harvesting is considered common treatment now, back then it was considered cutting edge.

The cancer didn't come back until June of 1994. Things after that were a blur. I sent out the final newsletter in September of 1995, about five months before Juliet died.

September 1995 update

For the last few weeks of her life, Juliet had a horrible case of the shingles. This is something she scribbled on a pad at that time. She was in terrible, unnecessary pain... but she kept going. Two weeks before she died, she masterminded a huge birthday party for Abby. Two days before she died, she had a birthday brunch for her step-father, Danny, here at the house.

Heaven forbid that any of you have or get cancer, or that you found this site by doing a search on leiomyosarcoma. Juliet found it easier to deal with her cancer by knowing as much about it as possible, by asking every doctor the hard questions, and by always keeping mind that none of the doctors were either omnipotent or omniscient. Here are a few quick links to cancer info resources:

Selected cancer links

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