Sunday, December 22, 2013

WWMJD....what would MJ do?

What Would MJ Do??

The first class at the Heinz Negotiation Academy for Women (HNAW) had a hundred wristbands made, just like this one. So it seems fitting that we start right here...with a little post to bring you up to date.

MJ was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer back in the late summer of 2010.  After surgery to remove most of the tumor, she underwent chemotherapy until the early spring of 2011. On Valentine's Day of 2011, she went into remission. We had a splendid two year remission, during which time MJ built the HNAW. Since then, she's had two relapses, the second of which occurred this past September; a PET scan showed a recurrence of the tumor in multiple locations. She's been in and out of the hospital several times since then.

At present, she is at home. Unfortunately, she is not able to take anything by mouth. She is getting all of her nutritional and fluid requirement intravenously, given by her two lovely attendants Sam and Jonathan. She spends about 15 hours per day hooked up to one IV or another, mostly at night while she sleeps - freeing her up during the day for short walks and limited visits from friends.

It's been rough physically and emotionally for all involved, but we are hopeful that a new round of chemotherapy will work. When it does, she'll be able to eat and drink again. In the mean time, we are making a bucket list of her favorite foods. The academy has been postponed until September, and MJ won't be teaching at CMU this spring. We are hoping she will teach in France and Switzerland later in the spring.

Sam has elected to take a leave of absence from his freshman year at Tulane University. We are very grateful to have him at home. Thanks to the generosity of Dean Krishnan at the Heinz College, Sam will be taking a couple classes in the school of Social and Decision Science at CMU.

What can you do for us? So many of you have been asking. Most importantly, we want to thank you for all the kind thoughts and wishes. MJ loves to read the cards and emails that you've sent. 

Also, if you are inclined to do so, we would encourage you to send gift cards for the following restaurants. We find this more helpful than food or flowers dropped by the house.

E Squared: http://e2pgh.com/
Or any other restaurants in the East End. Gift cards may be obtained by calling the restaurants.

We are hopeful for the future, and will do our best to keep this blog up to date. Thank you for your interest!


  1. Jonathan—

    Thank you so much for the update. We love you all so much and are sending love, support, and good thoughts from Brooklyn.



  2. What an amazing and strong family you have, and the love and support surrounding you all is palpable. Our love and prayers. R Harris & Family

  3. Thanks for inviting me to be part of the blog's community. I'm glad to know what's happening, and what we can do for you. It's very helpful to hear it from you.

    MJ, we love and admire you. You are in our thoughts all the time, and I look forward to a chance to come and visit when it's good for you. Jonathan and Sam, you are both very tall, which I resent, but you also have my love and admiration -- you are doing the most important thing you can ever do.
    Dave H

  4. Rests/Tocci
    You have been on my mind so much recently. Thinking of you and willing to help out in any way (no task too menial so please ask). MJ, kisses and hugs from me

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  6. Dear MJ, JR, Sam and Zoë,
    I have a few choice letters of my own…WTF!!!!!
    So glad Sam is able to be home with you all and to be able to take classes to boot!!
    I'm standing by to contribute to that bucket when the time is right!
    Sending oodles of love and support and energy to you all and scads of powerful wishes and prayers for MJ's strong recovery!!!!

  7. Dear MJ, So glad you are in such loving hands and that you are home with your family. We miss you here in California, tho Annie seems to be stepping up to the plate in the cooking department. She makes a good spaghetti sauce! Love you so much and am thinking about you always. JR, Sam and Zoe, thank you for taking such good care .....Karen

  8. Wow this is great. Updates without having to bother you with nagging phone calls and all the same questions. Thank you for opening up your story to us so we can be with you in mind and spirit. Now to important things...IF you get up the nerve to eat all of those croutons and salad dressings sitting in your house on layover to Paris, please feel free! :-)

    1. What makes you think we haven't consumed them already! :-)

  9. The link to ESquared is wrong. The address is correct (http://e2pgh.com/) but the link sends you to the website of a different company which doesn't have any locations in Pittsburgh.

  10. Hey MJ, I sleep with my WWMJD bracelet at night now! And Valerie has it right on her computer screen, too! We are thinking of you, our source of joy and inspiration.
    Thinking of you and your smiling face we feel warmth! LOVE XXXXXXX