Jaouad Finding Solace in Time with Family
- Between Two Kingdoms author Suleika Jaouad, 33, is fighting cancer for a second time (she first battled the disease in her 20s). She recently shared a selfie and an update on Instagram, saying she’s enjoying resting and time with family during her chemo.
- To treat her leukemia, Jaouad also had a bone marrow transplant.
- Many people find comfort in surrounding themselves with family and loved ones through a cancer battle.
Jaouad is married to Grammy-winning musician Jon Batiste. The pair secretly married earlier this year.Read More
Jaouad writes, “I’ve been on a long break from anything internet related for the last month. I’ve resumed chemo, and I’ve been resting, reading novels, hanging out with my new road dog River (more on her soon!), and spending time with family…”
Jaouad continues, “It was my first break like this in years—much needed. It gave me a chance to do a lot of reflecting and reckoning, and I’m excited to share more about some of that in my Sunday newsletter, which resumes tomorrow…”
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Jaouad’s Leukemia Battle
Jaouad first battled leukemia in her early 20s, and again today in her early 30s. Partner Jon Batiste has supported her through her health battle. Jaouad had a bone marrow transplant for treatment for her most recent bout of cancer. A bone marrow transplant is a treatment used for some cancers, like leukemia. It replaces bone marrow with healthy cells; it is also called a “stem cell transplant.”
Dr. Nina Shah, a SurvivorNet adviser and hematologist at the University of California San Francisco, explains in an earlier interview how to best understand leukemia. “One cell got really selfish and decided that it needed to take up all the resources of everybody else, and in doing so, took up space and energy from the rest of the body,” Dr. Shah says.
“In general having a blood cancer means that your bone marrow is not functioning correctly,” she explains. “And when your bone marrow doesn’t function correctly it means that you can have something happen to you like anemia. Or you can have low platelets, which makes it possible for you to bleed easily. Or your immune system is not functioning correctly.”
Speaking with Vogue magazine in an interview earlier this year, the Princeton University graduate said of her cancer, “I, today, am actually doing well. I believe I’m on day plus-32 post transplant and I’ve been out of the hospital for almost exactly a week,” she tells the magazine. She says she learned her illness was back in November of last year.
The New York City native says, “It’s so incredibly rare, I think less than 1% of patients, according to my doctor, relapse 10 years after a bone marrow transplant. When my oncologist called me, she was in tears. Not just my world, but my partner’s world and my family’s world completely imploded. We had a weekend to pack up all of our things, to find temporary homes for our dogs, to find a borrowed apartment in New York City and for me to begin chemo.”
The Importance of Rest & Family Time During Cancer Treatment
Jaouad says she is resting and spending time with family amid chemo. Surrounding yourself with loved ones, like friends and family, can make a big difference in helping you feel supported and emotionally attended to.
In an earlier interview, ovarian cancer survivor Beverly Reeves stresses how critical it is to have a supportive, loving community guiding you during your cancer battle.
Reeves tells SurvivorNet, “f I had one piece of advice for someone who had just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, it would be to get a strong support group together. Get your close friends. If you’re connected to a faith community, get your faith community.”
“Get your family,” says Reeves. “Let them know what’s going on and let them help you. And sometimes that’s the most difficult thing to do, but just know that they are there. If they love you, they’re there to help you. And don’t be embarrassed.”
She continues, “Because this is a cancer that not a lot of people want to talk about. But it’s real and we need to talk about it, and we do need that help. So talk to your family and your friends and your faith community, and get that network together so they can support you and be there for you.”