This blog and the people who read it meant SO much to Jeanne.
We are planning a memorial for Jeanne in December and we would like to invite you to be a part of it...if you'd like to attend in actuality, please leave a comment with a way to get in touch with you and we'll be in touch with the details. If you'd like to be a part of the memorial from afar, we'd like to read any thoughts or memories you'd care to share at the service and we can also post them on the blog. You can leave what you would like in the comments and let us know if you would like it posted on the blog and if it is okay with you for us to share it at the memorial.
I am a friend of Jeanne's and I know the friendships she made through her blog were important to her.
Jeanne Marie Sather was born in Tacoma, Wash., on November 17, 1954, and died of metastatic breast cancer in Seattle on November 11, 2013, at age 58.
Jeanne wrote this obituary in January 2005, at which point she had been living with breast cancer for more than six years. She rewrote it in June 2010, after 11 years living with cancer.
Jeanne was a writer, editor, teacher, and jewelry designer, but most of all she was a mother who loved her children, sons Akira Babe and Robin Sather, with a fierce and protective love that she tried to hide behind an open, matter-of-fact style of parenting
Since her first cancer diagnosis, when Akira was 13 and Robin was 8, her goal has been to raise her sons to do well in the world without her. Not any easy task, but she is confident that she has succeeded and that with the support of family and friends her sons will be happy and successful men.
Jeanne was raised in Hoquiam, Wash., the second of four children of Dr. Donald Sather, a veterinarian, and Carol Appell Sather. She graduated from Hoquiam High School in 1973, was a National Merit Scholar, and left Hoquiam for Michigan State University in East Lansing, where she majored in Communications.
Jeanne spent her senior year studying in Kobe, Japan, which set the direction of her academic and professional life for the next decade. She received a grant from the East-West Center in Honolulu to do a master’s degree in Japanese language, and then earned a second master’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley.
She met her former husband, Kazuhiro Babe, of Awajishima, Japan, in Hawaii. They were married for eight years and adopted Akira together in Japan.
Jeanne worked at a journalist and translator in Tokyo for five years during the mid-1980s. She worked for Japan Broadcasting (NHK) and Newsweek, among other news organizations.
She returned home, and taught journalism for a year in California before returning to Seattle in 1990 when she was pregnant with Robin, whose father is Roger Cooke of San Francisco.
In Seattle, Jeanne worked for the Puget Sound Business Journal, The Seattle Times, Reuters wire service, MSN, and OnHealth.com, an online publication that fired her while she was undergoing cancer treatment. (The settlement in that case allowed her to pay off some medical bills and make the down payment on her house.)
In the years since Jeanne was diagnosed with breast cancer, most of her writing has been about cancer. She wrote “Jeanne’s Diary,” a week-by-week account of her first series of cancer treatments, for the OnHealth Web site. A cover story for Seattle Weekly called “Running with Fear” received a first place award (of which she was immensely proud) from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2004, and she wrote extensively for the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s Web site for several years.
Since August 2006, Jeanne has written a cancer blog called The Assertive Cancer Patient, www.assertivecancerpatient.com, which has brought her dozens of friends, and thousands of readers, from around the world. These friends have mostly been women, like herself, who were living with advanced cancers of various types.
Jeanne would like to thank the tight circle of friends—both online and in the real world—who helped her live well and happily for the past dozen years. She is survived by these friends, and her sons, Akira Babe and Robin Sather, both of Seattle.
Hello readers of this blog. I'm Robin, my mother's son. Unfortunately I am writing now because Jeanne is no longer able to.
The disease has spread at a much faster rate than was originally anticipated and she is now no longer able to walk or talk. The brain mets have taken almost all functions from her. Hospice does not expect that she will survive the week. I was with her yesterday and she was barely able to say anything. This shocked me considering that just three days previously I had had a fairly nice visit with her.
I would like to thank all of you blog readers for supporting my mother over the previous years. I will continue to make updates as more news becomes available to me.
I moved in yesterday, courtesy of Gretchen. Can't say how I feel about it yet ... shaky. More of that sense of unreality. The place feels more like a hospital than I was expecting, but the staff live up to their reputation--very warm and friendly.
This e-mail went out a few minutes ago to a handful of close friends.
I had what turned out to be my last office appt. with Dr. Lee today (Dale drove me, thanks).
Happy to talk about it when I see each of you, but for now I have a request--I'm not drinking enough ( the switch in my brain that says "drink" is not working). I would welcome short visits--an hour or two--from friends bearing beverages. Nothing too acid like fruit juice, but green tea, coffee drinks and the like.
I'd also like to go out for short drives--I know this is NOT fun for the driver in Seattle's traffic, but I need to get out of my room.
P.S. I'm still at the Manor, waiting for the call saying there is a bed for me at Bailey-Boushay. I'm No. 1 on the list and have been for a week, so it shouldn't be too much longer.
This is Jeanne's friend, Gretchen, sitting by Jeanne's bedside waiting for hospice to call us back. That's how it works. But there's no evidence it's working yet. Jeanne for lack of words has asked me to write to you about her condition at this time. Inert would be the gist of it. Her appearance is that of a skeleton of the former Jeanne, weak, tired, sad, and very thin. Beneath that, she is still amazingly herself despite operating on an extremely limited supply of energy.
By herself, in my opinion, I mean that Jeanne is still whip-smart, spunky and engaging; just a muted tone of her former rich color.
My observation at this point is that Jeanne is no longer able to be the captain of the ship. This is a significant change and a hard one to palate. But I think she is in agreement that the time has come for someone, anyone, everyone to keep an eye out for her. I needed to be a bit insistent that she eat some food. Anyone who visits, please do the same. A little energy may make a big difference in her quality of life at this point.
Jeanne says her depression has lifted a bit. For what reason, she's not sure. I would like to see Jeanne get up and out of her bed as much as possible and that only happens with a little gentle pressure.
In closing, I encourage you to reach out and say hello. She is still here and able to read your comments. We will check in again.
More likely than not, next week I will be moving from the Manor to Bailey-Boushay House. The Manor is an assisted living facility, and doesn't have the level of care that I need.
I am so tired that the thought of paperwork and packing up is overwhelming, but my friends and Younger Son will do most of this for me. Today, Saturday, after two nights with virtually no sleep (and lots of vomiting) I've decided to spend the day in bed. Getting dressed, fussing with my hair, and going down to breakfast is a hurdle about the size of Fuji.
I could describe my almost-daily bouts of vomiting, but I won't. The very small amounts of food that I eat in the morning almost always come back up in the early evening. The time varies, once it was midnight, and yesterday I hit a PR--three times!
The medicine I take for this is a Compazine suppository. It works, most of the time, but yesterday we were waiting all evening for a delivery from the pharmacy and I kept up-chucking. Finally, I got my dose at almost midnight. It's good for 12 hours, so the pudding I ate for breakfast should settle, and I will be sure to ask for more Compazine at noon.
Fascinating, I know.
Why am I vomiting? I don't know, but I'll ask Dr. Lee when I see him next week.