About Jackie Fox

I'm a writer living in Nebraska with my husband. I wrote the book "From Zero to Mastectomy: What I Learned And You Need to Know about Stage 0 Breast Cancer" after I was diagnosed with DCIS because I had never heard of it. My day job is media relations and I read and write poetry on the side to feed my head.

Only Kindness Makes Sense #WorldKindnessDay

Marie shared a wonderful and true poem for #WorldKindnessDay. Thanks Marie.

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

 Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest…

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Godspeed, Jody

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Jody Schoger died this morning. Cancer stole her from us. The breast cancer community lost a tireless advocate, voice of reason and fearless friend, but beyond that, she was a wife to Steve, sister to Megan and pet mom to her beloved and beautiful Katie.

This tribute from Alicia Staley, her friend and cofounder of BCSM (Breast Cancer Social Media) tweet chat and community, says it better than I ever could.

Jody, rest in peace. You used to say cancer needs more cowbell. There better be a whole lot of cowbell in heaven, and pie too.

Sorry Business

       “The truth comes out of this hairbrush.” – Dula Nurruwuthun

If I could, I’d create a pole so high
it would pierce the sky, and still
would not be as tall
as you walked in this life.
I would summon truth
from my brush made of hair
to tell of your life’s essence;
the white of your pure intellect,
the green of your calming garden,
the red of your fierce heart.
It would whisper
the rose-gold of a Perth sunrise,
sigh the deep blue of absence
and shimmer like tears
to keep your spirit company
until the weary wood lies down,
the colors fade like daylight
to velvet night,
and I am left with
this sorriest of business.

-for Rachel Cheetham Moro, 1971-2012

On the islands north of Australia, the mourning period is known as sorry business. Some funerals include carved personal totems with designs applied by brushes made of human hair.
~ from an exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum

© 2016 Jackie Fox

An earlier version of this poem appeared in Issue 11 of Touch: The Journal of Healing

(Editor’s note: Rachel died four years ago today. Reposting this in honor of her indomitable spirit.)

15 Random Facts About Me

Nancy Stordahl over at Nancy’s Point recently did a great post sharing 15 random facts about her, and invited other bloggers to join in. As she said, we’re all so much more than cancer and this is a great chance to learn more about each other. So here are 15 random facts about me:

1. Motor skills are not my strong suit. I knew how to read when I was four but still had trouble tying my shoes in first grade. I’ve managed to break factory equipment, van wheelchair lifts and the motorcycle I rode in safety class.

2. In spite of No. 1, I do have my motorcycle license and logged a couple thousand (barely) accident-free miles before giving it up, proving my mom’s theory that God looks out for idiots.

3. My lifelong nickname is Jake. My dad called me that as a child and it’s all my husband ever calls me, unless introducing me to people we don’t know. I recently wrote a poem about my three very different names.

4. I adore old black and white movies. ’40s noir, ’30s screwball comedies and romances, ’50s science fiction, I love them all.

5. I’ve loved reading and writing poetry since I was a little kid. I lost it for quite a few years, but breast cancer brought that part of me back. Poetry requires that you pay attention, and a breast cancer diagnosis has a way of bringing the world into sharp focus.

6. I was sad when the Harry Potter series ended. I would spend the whole day on the couch reading when a new one came out (weekends only. I didn’t go as far as taking time off work).

7. If I could only listen to one music genre for the rest of my life, it would be jazz.

8. One of the things that has made me happiest in my life was two random animal rescues on the streets of Omaha. One time I rescued a baby bunny from the middle of a four-lane road, and the other time I grabbed a youngish starling from the middle of the street. The bird actually rode on my finger as I drove a couple miles to work, across the parking lot and up the elevator to my office. I might want to do some kind of wildlife rescue when I retire.

9. I love cats but not cat tchotchkes.

10. I detest the shorthand ‘Merica. I get it, the country’s not perfect, but I think it’s disrespectful.

11. I love hashtags used as editorial comment or sarcasm.

12. One of the things I love best is weekend mornings when I have time to linger over the newspaper (my local paper and WSJ) while I drink the latte my husband made for me. #spoiled

13. I think Citizens United is the worst Supreme Court decision ever.

14. I subscribed to Rolling Stone magazine for 20 years. I stopped and replaced it with The New Yorker, and I’m closing in on 20 years there.

15. I’m a sucker for lists like this one. I have to make a great effort to stay off Buzzfeed.

My Three Names by Jackie Fox (All About My Name Poetry Series)

A bit of a departure from this blog’s focus, but thought I’d share a poem I wrote recently.

Silver Birch Press

fox
My Three Names
by Jackie Fox

Jacqueline was heavy artillery.
Reserved for behavior so awful
Mom hauled out first, middle and last.

Except in fourth grade, when we had
three Jackies in our class and I got stuck
with Jacqueline. I wasn’t quite as unhappy
as that air base boy from the South.
Jack was way too Yankee for his liking.

The rest of the time I was Jackie. Most people
thought I was named for the First Lady
but they were all wrong. Mom’s love
was closer to home. She named me
for a girl she babysat.

Dad was different.
He always called me Jake.
I knew I’d been away from home too long
when he greeted me with Jackie
at the front door.

PHOTOGRAPH: The author as a young girl.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: It’s funny how this call for submissions got me thinking about my three very…

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National Poetry Month

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I’m taking part in a National Poetry Month (#NaPoMo on Twitter) challenge set up by the Found Poetry Review. What does this have to do with breast cancer? Nothing much, except that after a too-long absence I started writing poetry again after I was diagnosed with DCIS seven years ago.

As part of the challenge I need to try to upload a poem a day throughout the month of April to the PoMoSco (Poetry Month Scout) site, using a variety of prompts. So far I’ve written a poem using only words found on a menu, created haiku from a site that scrambles the original haiku you load into it, and created a poem using only questions found in a source text. I can’t share any of the poems here; all 213 “scouts” (poets) taking part from around the world are posting their poems on the site. I urge you to check it out because some of the work people are creating is nothing short of amazing. It’s on Twitter as #PoMoSco if you want to follow along there–they post new poems every day. It’s a lot of work and I probably won’t earn all 30 badges, but it’s a lot of fun.

I’m telling you this for two reasons. First, you may have noticed I don’t blog much any more. I’ve been trying to decide whether to take this blog in a new direction while keeping the original name, or shuttering it and coming up with something new.

But more importantly, if there’s something creative you love and have gotten away from, or something creative you’ve never tried but wanted to, why not try it now? You might be surprised at what you come up with. Even if you decide all you want to do is write down your thoughts about your journey in cancer or in life, it can be a very healing experience.

Feel free to share your thoughts (and poems!) here.

Happy Poetry Month!

In Memorium: Lisa Bonchek Adams

Sharing Marie’s wonderful tribute to Lisa Bonchek Adams. Her poignant Twitter bio summed up metastatic breast disease better than any medical journal could: “Doing as much as I can for as long as I can.” Condolences to her family.

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

lisa

It is with deep sadness that I learned of the death of Lisa Adams on Friday, 6 March 2015.  While we never want to speak of winning or losing with cancer; the words of her family ring so true.

The thousands upon thousands who knew and loved Lisa Bonchek Adams; whether in person or via Facebook, Twitter, or her website and blog read around the world; whether up close or from afar; will find it hard to believe that her steely will and indomitable spirit were finally overcome by the disease she had lived with for so many years.

Lisa was a strong, fearless, passionate voice online – as Renn observed “she was a beacon of honesty. The transparency in her blogging was unsurpassed”; so it is up to us all to honor her legacy and keep her voice alive. Lisa specifically asked that anyone who wishes to honor her memory do so with a contribution to her fund for…

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