An Open Letter to Mrs. Brokaw

Dear Mrs. Brokaw,

Obviously I don’t know you, we’ve never met, although I – like many Americans – feel that I know your husband. My own husband’s father was a stagehand at NBC for many years, and always mentioned what a mensch your husband was. Stage hands learn pretty fast who is a good guy, and who’s a bit of a prima donna.

So apparently this past Summer you joined the club I joined 7 years ago, spouses of folks with Multiple Myeloma. We also share the fact that our husbands are being treated at the Mayo Clinic, which I consider a very good club to be in, indeed.

You’re in the best hands in the world. When Gerry, my husband, was diagnosed his prognosis was poor, but every year, with new drugs and improved treatment options, his prognosis gets a little better.

Life has never been as precious to us as it as these past few years. We feel amazingly lucky. Excellent work is being done all over the world on this disease, but we’re biased toward the Mayo as we live in Minnesota.

I’m not going to say, “Cancer is a gift” – because it’s not. This is a painful, frightening disease – I hope your husband hasn’t had too much bone damage and subsequent pain.

But what this disease HAS given to our family is a golden opportunity to realize exactly how precious we are to each other, and how wonderful each day we share is. Often at the Mayo we would remark that it felt as though we were on a second honeymoon, except this time with chemo.

You’re not alone. I know it’s presumptive of me to write this note, and by this time you’ve realized everything that I could ever tell you. Know that there are many spouses next to you, standing by your side, all of us loving our husbands and wives, all of us willing to share some strength or just let you know that a prognosis can change for the better, especially with Multiple Myeloma.

All the best wishes for treating this terrible cancer as a chronic condition!

Annie Modesitt

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6 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Mrs. Brokaw

  1. alice

    His last name is spelled ‘Brokaw’ not ‘Brokow’. Just thought you might want to quick change that.

    1. Annie Post author

      Thanks – I thought I’d changed that before I published. I tend to be a VERY bad speller and have to recheck stuff many times!

  2. Cathy Henry

    When I heard that Tom Brokaw had MM, I was so glad to hear that he was getting his care at Mayo, because I knew what great care Gerry has gotten there. I don’t know if Tom Brokaw’s wife will ever see your letter, but I’m glad you wrote it.

  3. NancyB

    I only saw the headline on AOL; didn’t read the article.
    That was a lovely letter Annie, I hope she gets the chance to read it.
    I’ve been reading your blog since before Gerry got MM and I think you and your family are amazing.

  4. Donna

    Brokaw has certainly always given the impression of being the guy next door who teaches his kids how to bat & takes them to ball games. And a primadonna wouldn’t go on The Daily Show or The Colbert Report & participate in the fun like he has. I too wish him & his family the very best. I thought of you & Gerry first thing when I heard the news.

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