Jody Schoger and Gratitude

Posted on: May 20th, 2016 by

This has been a sorrowful week in the world. We lost so many to metastatic breast cancer (MBC), including Jody Schoger. Even though I knew she was in hospice, I was still stunned when I received the news that she passed away. And in that finding-out moment, I knew the world was suddenly worse off for not having Jody’s fierce passion, intelligence, kindness, and advocacy in it.

I never met Jody in person, but like so many in our wonderful online community, I felt as if I knew her. One of the #BCSM tweetchat co-founders and a moderator of the tweetchat, she exuded kindness and caring for all participants. A few years ago, I had a medical scare. I was seeing my oncologist, who confirmed I didn’t have a breast cancer recurrence, as the menacing bone scan report indicated. When I checked in during our #BCSM tweetchat, the first thing Jody did was ask me how the oncology appointment went.

I embraced that act of kindness deep within my heart and will always treasure it.

Frankly, writing this post is so difficult, as words cannot capture the anguish and ache I’m feeling right now. I know I’m not alone in this raw mourning — so much of the world is grieving with me for loved ones lost to MBC. I cannot capture the depth of sorrow and how I feel kick-punched by pain. So I don’t talk about this to friends. That’s how stopped up my voice feels.

Is it possible to love someone you never met?


I’m having a difficult time coping — and breathing — at this very moment.

So right now, as I write this post, I’m about to spiral down into the bottomless abyss of despair.

To keep from doing that — after all, depression is not helpful for me — I am reflecting on what I’m grateful for. I must turn to appreciate what I daily take for granted. No, this is not a post on thinking positively or to bury our heads in the sands of denial. Instead, writing what I’m grateful for will keep me (and maybe others) from completely sinking into the quicksand of anguish.

Here are just a few things I’m grateful for:

The blooming bush in my front yard that I’m sometimes too busy to notice. It has glorious white flowers right now.
The longer days of spring and summer.

The fact that my daughter challenges me on everything these days. It means she’s growing up and is learning about boundaries.

The purring of my cats.

The ability to write and create art.

The ability to go to the bathroom independently, something not everyone has.

Being able to teach and touch students’ lives.



Great doctors, although they scare the shit out of me.

The online breast cancer community.

More cowbell, always more cowbell.

What are you grateful for? Can you add to this list?

Do you have any fond memories of Jody Schoger? Feel free to share them.

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14 Responses to Jody Schoger and Gratitude

  1. Karrie had this to say about that:

    I have days like this too ❤️

  2. Scott Johnson had this to say about that:

    Thanks for telling us about Jody and the impact she had on you Beth. Sounds like she was a genuine leader determined to be connected with people at a the interest in their lives level. That’s rare. I’m sorry you are feeling bad but also proud to know someone who’s not willing to hide from the sorrow that seems an inescapable part of the cancer community. For me, I’m thankful of being able to help a friend in her recent diagnosis of cancer.

    Take care! Scott

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Scott, thank you. Jody was one of a kind, and she is universally missed. Bless you for helping your friend while that person is undergoing cancer diagnosis.

  3. Nancy's Point had this to say about that:

    Hi Beth,
    I can’t believe our dear Jody is gone. I am trying to finish up a blog post about her, too, but I am struggling. You are so right in that you are not alone in this raw mourning. Again. It’s lovely how you chose to also write about gratitude in this post. Thank you, Beth. I’m going to think of a few things and a few people I am grateful for right now. One of them is you. xo

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Nancy, I am so grateful for you, as well. And I’m so grateful for an online community that is so supportive of one another. I wish I could’ve met her, but I do feel I knew her nonetheless. I will read your post as soon as I can.

  4. Kathi had this to say about that:

    Oh, Beth, Jody’s death has really been a gut-punch. I can’t begin to imagine how it is for her family. The thing I’m most grateful for this week, though, is having known Jody. She was one in a million, and we know that her memory will be cherished by thousands of us in our community. I’m grateful for that, too.


    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Kathi, yes, it’s been a gut-punch, alright. Jody’s presence on Earth made the world a better place. I’m thinking of her family, too. It’s too much to bear.

  5. Jane had this to say about that:

    Caring, cookies and cowbells. I cried so much The day Jody said god night for the last time. I felt I had lost a beloved friend. Someone I could have asked up to and said ‘Hi, I’m Jane.” And she would have looked blankly at me. “You know, jpete from Denver?” And she would have then hugged me fiercely. She really cared about us. I’ll miss her. But she will definitely live on in #BCSM. Thanks Beth for reminding me, Jody would have loved your list of gratitude. Jane

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:


      I know what you mean. She cared so deeply about us all. It’s amazing how one human being could be so kind to so very many — many of whom she only knew online. I miss her.

  6. Caroline had this to say about that:

    I am sad too. I met Jody a few years ago. We ended hanging out for a few hours at the end of an event while waiting for her flights. She will be missed. But she shared so much.

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:


      I’m glad you got to meet Jody; I am sure you both had a great conversation. It’s so sad and tragic. My heart has welled up with sorrow.

  7. Rebecca had this to say about that:

    Beth, I am sorry about Jody. I did not know her but I’ve come to learn a lot about her through the beautiful tributes many of you have shared. I can see Jody impacted many lives in a good way.

    I’ve met some wonderful people through this horrible experience that is cancer, and although I have not met many of them, I consider them my friends; including you.

    One thing I am grateful for is our online community. You all keep me rational and calmed with all your kindness and support.

    I am thinking of you, Beth.

    • Beth L. Gainer had this to say about that:

      Hi Rebecca,

      Jody was indeed a special person.

      Thank you for your kind words. I, too, am so glad you and I met. It’s weird, isn’t it? Here we are, having had been diagnosed with cancer, and although we would never choose that path, we are still fortunate we found each other.

      I treasure our friendship, as well, and I’m grateful for our online community too.


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