Sunday, November 6, 2011


CHRIS SENT A NEW BATCH of pictures. The above is my favorite. It was taken minutes before I left for the hospital at 5:30 a.m. on my way to have a radical mastectomy. Since discovering the sizeable lump a couple of months ago, I've wished that Mr. Bob could show a little compassion and offer some comfort, but none was forthcoming because he's so understandably centered on his own battle with cancer. Intellectually, I could grasp that; emotionally I sobbed a lot. Amazingly, Chris caught the moment I so yearned for and I'll treasure it all the days of my life.

Minutes later I wended my way down the Hallowe'en decorated halls of the Manor on my way to the car. All three of our offspring went with me. Mr. Bob voiced the desire to go, but was voted down because we all felt that too many germs lurked in our destination.

Angels stand guard outside the Verdugo Hills Hospital, offering comfort. My mother died here, our first grandson greeted the world here, cataracts were removed, a hernia repaired. Let's say we have history with this place. It makes it no easier to go through its portals.

Something I've learned in my advancing years is that tempus does indeed fugit without our doing anything to hurry it along and soon enough I was in my hospital room although I don't remember that part very well.

There was some reassurance in the realization that I had come through what the doctor referred to as "High risk" surgery in my case, having to do with age, weight (ahem), problems with circulation, etc. There was some feeling of "Hooway!"

The next day Mr. Bob went to the oncologist's office for a day full of hours of it. Chris accompanied him and saw to it that he drank the copious amounts of water recommended to guard against kidney damage with lunch added midday, after which he was driven home and tucked into bed for a long sleep in response to the battering his body had taken. Meanwhile, Susan and Tim were keeping me company at the hospital. 

And the next day it was time for me to go back home after Mr. Bob had his one hour treatment, more medical goings-on than we ever would have asked for, given a choice.


A week later, I'm trying to convince myself that I feel as good as I did upon homecoming. I really wasn't prepared for a surgical drain being necessary. I dislike the sight of it as much now as I did nearly a week ago. I think the tubes should be black with a little peek-a-boo window for the curious, of which I am not one.

Chris returned home yesterday. Was he really here a week? 

It went by in a blur and a hazy one, at that. The doctor called to tell me that of the twenty-five lymph nodes removed, only two showed cancer, which I take it was relatively good news. I'm a novice at this. Susan attended church today, while she was gone I made an attempt at getting dressed (we'll get through this, but we won't ever look the same), but she said, upon her return, that I could wait until tomorrow for make-up when I'm due to visit the doctor. Mr. Bob is sleeping and sleeping and sleeping as his body tries to cope. Quite honestly, this is not our finest hour. Or might it be, after all? One wonders.

"Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one."
                                                                                         Hans Selye


  1. I would say it is indeed your finest hour. Incredible all you have both been through, and it impresses me how strong you have both been. Another touching post. I love the top photo; very poignant...

    I hope you can get your tubes out really soon, Jane. I remember my sister feeling much the same way you describe feeling...


  2. Maybe it is the finest hour, because you both got through it Both stricken at the same time seems relatively unfair. But there you are -at lease rumor has it that you are next door. I'm thinking abut my trials...would I document it with humor as you did? We'll see. They seem to come to all of us.

    Love, My neighbors

  3. You both are fighting the good fight. Keep up the amazing work. That IS good news on the lymph nodes! That's fewer than I had, so that's great. Keep healing- both of you.
    MJ in VT

  4. You are precious, precious, precious.

    I received a quote in my e-mail this week that said, "If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a horrible warning."

    Can't say there's ever been a better example of LIVING LIFE than what we are seeing here on a regular basis.

    Love from here
    and, I suspect, everywhere -

  5. Susan gets credit for the last picture of me at the train station. It didn't seem like a week to me either, and I only accomplished a fraction of what I wanted to. Best of luck tomorrow when you visit the doctor yet again.

  6. Susan H writes: I think the Humphrey's have become a reality show, the good kind. Manorisms has been raw,truthful, funny and heartbreaking the past few months. I know so many people that would never admit to anything other than 'everything's fine'. I commend both my parents to tell their story, authentic and real. The Blog was started to document their travels and experiences while going places they have always wanted to visit - it has taken a different, yet very important turn, a different kind of journey. I was reminded today to be mindful of the things I have to be grateful for, to thank the body parts that work and do well. To make a intential gratitude list, difficult but possible. I am grateful for all those that have extended prayers, thoughts, kindness to us, cards, inspiring comments, flowers and fruit. Yes, in this difficult time I can be grateful. thank you

  7. Dear Jane,

    I'm thinking of the time that I visited you and Bob at the Manor. It seems like just a few months ago, though I know it's been longer. Again, time
    flying. Such a stark contrast from that day, when you and I talked about the fabulous shawls we were going to knit. We had beautiful yarns, then not much happened for awhile. THEN you started yours and I couldn't find mine, though it's here somewhere.
    Such stark contrast to these days when you and Bob are struggling with
    such great difficulties.
    I'm thinking of you, wishing you both the best and thank you for sharing
    these moments with me, and other readers as well, I'm sure.
    With much love,


  8. Bless you Sweet Jane and Mr. deserve to have a pain and stess free holiday season! Sending lots of cheer your way. Stay strong.

  9. Dear Jane - I've only just now woven my way through your blog and am so very saddened to learn of your and Bob's illnesses. Your blog, the lilt in your writing, the wonderful photographs, the insights into moments of love, and shared sentiments are exquisitely beautiful.

    I send my love to you and Bob and know that if it was within her earthly power, my mom would be at your side now. But, she'll be visiting you, I'm sure of that. She still retains her fine sense of humor, as do you. We love you.

    I'm holding you both in my thoughts.

    Melinda Utal-Martinez

  10. Jane,
    I didn't realize all that you and Bob were going through. I hope your healing and his goes well. Did you get a new bed???

  11. Bless you and yours. Great stories along here! A Non Y Mouse

  12. Bon soir
    You and Bob have allowed us a privileged view of your current struggles and we all feel very humbled, you know that. Your gifts for insight and communication are so outstanding that I recommend your blog to many people - for whatever they need, some compassion, some wry humor, some tears, too. I'm so sorry it happened to you but it will help so many. Clearly, your offspring have learned so well. Thank you Humphreys everywhere.

  13. Yes, Thank you, Humphreys everywhere. All of you in our prayers.
    lots of love,
    jill & jim

  14. All the posts above said so much of what i feel!!! Wow to your kids one more time. It is tough when mom hits the hospital bed and looks so calm , restful, but pale out of surgery.. My mom's look frightened me....but Humphrey's.. both parents. Come on!!!! Geez. Your family was meant to blog as you said above. I love the persons who have never met you on this blog, but feel they know you! That is what happens here. You may think you are just sharing, but you are creating a family of people here to share your life in a way that hopefully gives you strength! And I agree with the tube. I give platelets every couple weeks and often wish the blood leaving me was in a dark tube. Weird seeing blood continually go out.....most of it is returned minus platelets?? :-)

  15. Very touching post. Hugs to you and Uncle Bob. Love, Shelley

  16. I continue to pray for you and Uncle Bob and for Chris,Susan n Tim too, it affects the whole family.
    Hope you will continue to recover quickly!
    Love to you all,

  17. Susan,

    I agree with you that the family HAS become a very positive, fun, emotional and the list could go on and on....ONLINE REALITY SHOW.

    You have all taught us so much, but more than anything else, you have taught us LOVE. I cannot forget commitment and compassion.

    I always tell you, Jane, from WAY back when you first took us into your love of "collecting" on flickr..."when I grow up" I can see myself being so much like you, as I am there already.

    You taught me how to be a Grandmother..AND...Grandfather when we watched Owen preparing to come into the world. To follow his little life with his family has been just grand. You and Bob show us what love is all about every single day of the year.

    Susan...I think this "blog"....Jane's online reality show...would make a GREAT inspiration story of nothing but FAMILY LOVE of trials and tribulations. I know I would read it and I am sure many others would too...especially if they were in a dark place and needed some inspiration in their own life. The "wit" your Mother finds in situations sure seems to always amaze me.

    Faith, Hope and Love....but the greatest of indeed LOVE.

    God Bless you all.....
    PS...Jane and two sure do have FANTASTIC children. I know how proud you are of them all...because you've told me. : )

  18. Your blogs prove once again that a picture is worth a thousand words, but your words and pictures together are surely priceless. And how your hair is so perfect through all this is another wonder to behold! I'm praying for you both to have a speedy and miraculous recovery and soon you just might be on those roads again sending us even more amazing pictures. Your family has surely passed a severe testing period and have come through on the most admirable side for sure. Thank you again for sharing your experiences with all of us.

    love, edie

  19. It's just me again....I'm either never able to comment or doing it twice in one day !!!

    I just want to say it is amazing how you've come through this. You've been as strong as nails and honestly, if you were considered high risk, you did even better !!!

    What a testament to everyone out there who potentially may be going through something such as this. You truly give everyone such hope.

    You two are most definitely my "new heroes"...!!!!

    Thanks for showing us all that when life gives you lemons, you drink up...even if sometimes the lemonade tastes bitter...and you end up sharing it with your friends, right down to the last drop.

    Such good people. I'm so proud to call you my friends. : )

    God all.

    PS....You came through major surgery with better hair than most of us have when we first wake up in the morning.. from simply sleeping. ; )

  20. Jane, I'm sending my very best thoughts to you and Bob as you fight the good fight. Your blog is beautifully and lovingly done. Andrea Humberger