With the holiday season comes hope.
Joanie continued to do well, again giving rise to the hope the worst was behind her. She was working, mainly in the afternoons, and with her boss, Gov. John Hoeven set to announce, in mid-November, he would seek another term, they were busy afternoons. I thought the excitement surrounding his announcement was the juice she needed to energize her.
There were lunches to go to with friends, holiday things to begin thinking about and special events to attend to. One such special event was a personal one, and that was a meeting of her birthday club, the so called “Ya Ya Sisterhood.” They had appropriated he name from the movie, Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood that had come out a few years earlier.
The group was made up of Joanie, Cathy Rydell, Kristi Sagsveen, Steph Borud, Claudia Thompson and Marcia Herman. The six of them, all the same age, had been celebrating each other’s birthdays with a get together every year for many years.The last couple of years, they had gotten together for trips to Minneapolis, or a weekend at Cathy’s lake place, and even though they might not see each other a lot in between get-togethers, they were a tight knit group, and as with any close friends, when one of them was having a problem, they were there for support. They were there for Joanie now as she faced the fight of her life.
Thanksgiving was on the horizon, and this year we would have special guests for the holiday. After we had gotten the news from Dr. Thomas about the cessation of treatments, I had called my son Ryan in Los Angeles to let him know what was going on. He called me back shortly, and told me they were going to come for Thanksgiving. I think he understood this might be an important Thanksgiving, and he and Kim along with our new grandson, Declan made it more important.
Declan was born in May, and when Joanie heard they were coming she was very excited to see the new family member. We had already heard that shortly after he was born, he already had an agent, and had appeared in an episode of the TV show, “Eli Stone.” The show was a summer replacement on ABC that year, and one of Ryan’s connections led to another, and before we knew he had an agent, and a part in one of the shows. The title of the show, Eli Stone, and the show Declan appeared in, albeit for two brief scenes was called “Patience.” The show can be viewed on Hulu, and Declan appears first about 23 minutes in, and then during the last minute of the show. The scenes are the fantasy scenes that come to Stone from time to time, and Declan was appearing as his new son.
When Ryan, Kim and Declan got to Bismarck, Joanie was thrilled, and doted on the young man considerably. To his credit, he showed no evidence of his early success in TV as going to his head at all. Their time here made the holiday this year one to remember, and Joanie looked healthier than she had in a long time, with her hair regaining some of her natural curl, and she was even gaining some weight back. It was a good time at 1205 N. Mandan Street.
Later that month, on the 27th, we met with Dr. Thomas, and got another dose of good news. The chest x-ray showed things were stable, and, in his words, there was, “No evidence of any progression of disease.” She was not scheduled for another appointment until after the first week of January. We left the clinic that day with new attitudes, and new hope. It was beginning to look a lot like it would be a good Christmas.