As writers, we often pay close attention to social media, waiting for big stories to break so we can get involved in the immediate dissemination of news. It is that mentality many of us have that has somewhat desensitized us to a lot of what goes on, especially when it comes to the personal lives of the artists we cover. That isn’t to say we don’t feel for them, send our prayers, or put emotion behind how we write the story, but a lot of times the deep realness of the situation is secondary, rather than in the forefront of the minds of those in media.
For me, that couldn’t be more untrue with this particular article.
Today, Jo Dee Messina shared with her fans via website announcement and Facebook post that she was recently diagnosed with cancer. The day Jo Dee received the call, life changed. It didn’t necessarily change in a bad way; it just changed.
For those of you who don’t know, I am Jo Dee’s assistant. I am Jo Dee’s acting tour manager. I am Jo Dee’s friend, and we are a part of each other’s every day lives. So, in that message of “I have cancer” came a flood of emotions, fears, and concerns. It hasn’t been the easiest life change, but it has been inspiring and beautiful to watch her walk through each day with grace and faith — two things most of us could never muster up while staring in the same face of adversity.
As Team JDM wrote in the announcement, Jo Dee has been filled with gratitude since her diagnosis and throughout this part of her journey, and she attributes that to seeing God’s hand at work in her life. It is the smile on her face, the pep in her step, and the optimistic approach to what lies ahead that comforts everyone around her (rather than everybody comforting her). Already, without an actual treatment plan even in place, she has proven to be a warrior who exudes beauty from the inside out and is ready to trust God to guide her through her walk, as she has many times before.
To Jo Dee, my boss, my friend — yes, this has been a trying summer. We have twisted, turned, crawled, walked, laughed, cried, have been overwhelmed, but have overcome. Through it all, you have remained steadfast in your faith, true to your beliefs, gracious to the Lord, and have given your all to your children, employees, and fans. You have been selfless at times most people would struggle to see with anything but tunnel vision, and you have shown me that a protected heart can never break, even during the hardest times in someone’s life.
As we turn the page and learn what is next in this chapter, I look forward to watching you persevere, touch the world, and change others’ lives. I am excited for people to see a side of you they haven’t yet had the privilege of meeting and become inspired by your kind soul and positive outlook. I can’t wait for you to spread the word that means so much to you and give the glory to God, as you always strive to do.
I’m wholly confident cancer picked the wrong woman to mess with, and it won’t be long before we are sitting around, remembering when you were presented with a battle you never saw coming, but one which you conquered beautifully. I repeat the exact words I said to you on day 1 — “we’ll get you through this.” And we will.
For Jo Dee’s Team JDM full announcement, click here.