Oasis of Line Dancing
Let's Pray Together for Jo Szymanski - Blessing from the Linedance World
At this time of the year, while we celebrate and enjoy the festive seasons, let's not forget Jo Szymanski and pray for her recovery. Since November, Jo has been fighting to recover fully and we certainly wish her well and her return to the linedancing world next year. How is she doing? This update is based on an extract of Tim Syzmanski:
Dec 12, 2010: Over the last 6 years we've been shocked how many times people from all over the world have told us that they and their friends have been praying for us. We appreciate each and every prayer that has been said on our behalf…We do believe the power of prayer can be multiplied many times over when people unite to pray together. Over the next 3 days, a world-wide effort has been organized to pray for Jo's speedy recovery. If you would like to participate, please visit D4D - Jo Prayer for details. This effort has been organized by Scooter Lee, Jo's long-time friend and co-founder of Dancing for The Dream…Thank you Scooter for all you have done for us!Dec 6, 2010: I was recently asked the question, "How do you explain Jo's ability to be joyful and have such a good attitude regardless of what happens?” Rather than answer this myself, I thought it might be insightful to find out how a few of Jo's close friends would answer. Little did I know that one explanation would be as eloquent and heartfelt as what you are about to read. Earlier this year, our very good friend Staci Giovino gave the following invocation at her Rotary club.
Jo is a former Miss Texas, a world renowned line dancer and choreographer, a wife, a mother and my very dear friend.Jo has been afflicted with what some would consider devastating health problems, all the while carrying herself with grace, never complaining – even when her bones could not support the weight of lifting her infant daughter – and always, always caring more about others than herself.
One night at dinner with friends, we asked her how she could manifest such peace given all the adversity she faced. She told us that every morning she woke up and chose her life exactly the way it was, and exactly the way it wasn’t. That may be a little hard to wrap your head around, so I’ll say it again: She chose her life exactly as it was, and exactly as it wasn’t. In doing so there was no room left to feel sorry for herself or to dwell on how things “should” be, and gave infinite possibility to being present and available to others.
As Rotarians we commit to “Service above Self,” but how many of us have already complained about something today? This is a gentle reminder to choose what is, get present, and create ample space in our hearts and minds for all of those people and causes whom we are privileged to serve. Jo and Anna reading together
Previous Update on 6 Nov: Latest update from Tim Szymanski on Jo’s determined fight against Aplastic Anemia. Just recap, Jo is instrumental in the choreography of many beautiful and soul searching line dances such as Jo n Jo Tango, TGIF and Jumpin' The Gun, just to name a few. Tim's update on 7 Nov… Jo got her 4th and last dose of chemo this morning. We all know somebody that has cancer who maybe had chemo off and on for many months. This is a little different. Jo got 4 hefty doses over 4 days and we hope never to experience chemo again. A cancer patient has cancer cells potentially throughout their body that need to be killed. For the most part, Jo does not. Jo's chemo is designed to attack and kill cells in her body that are actively dividing and multiplying. This is primarily in the bone marrow…Unfortunately, chemotherapy is a lot like sending a laser guided missile to destroy a weapons factory hidden in the middle of a residential neighborhood. No matter how good the technology, the neighborhood is going to suffer some damage. Jo is starting to feel that now… A lot of people have asked for the date of Jo's "surgery". There is no "surgery" involved with any of this. Everything is done through Jo's blood stream.…Wednesday (10 Nov) will be referred to as Day 0 as we count the days Jo has lived with her new Stem Cells. Every patient is different and there is no universal magic number, but 100 Days is the goal everybody keeps their eye on. At 100 Days, each patient is considered to have crossed over a fairly significant hump.
We all pray for Jo’s speedy recovery and look forward to her return to the linedancing world. God bless Jo!
Date: 12 Oct 2010: Extract of an update from Tim Szymanski, husband of Jo Thompson Szymanski:
Jo was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia in 2004, gave birth to our perfectly healthy daughter Anna in 2005, and following Jo's treatment her Aplastic Anemia went into remission. Today Jo feels totally normal, but her bone marrow is once again abnormal. She now has "MDS - Myelodysplastic Syndrome" requiring a Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant using Jo's brother as a donor.
If all goes as planned, Jo will start the bone marrow/stem cell transplant in mid-October at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. She will be in the hospital for 3-4 weeks and then be an outpatient for 3 months to follow. After that, once she is released from MD Anderson, her complete recovery could take 6 months to one year.
Keep up with Jo's progress by reading our Blog. www.jothompson.blogspot.com. Jo has 3 more line dance events to attend before she starts her transplant...Dancing for the Dream events in Illiopolis, IL and McKeesport, PA, and Windy City in Chicago.
... Thank you so much for your willingness to help. We are overwhelmed at the generosity and love from the dance community. What a great group of people we are blessed to know through dance! Cards and letters are appreciated also. Until the completion of her treatment Jo is receiving mail at the following address:
Jo Thompson Szymanski
c/o The Smith Family
22 Rymwick Court
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
Keep those prayers and positive thoughts coming! It will help Jo to get back on the dance floor as soon as possible!