Weeks later, June 27, Governor Blanco posted on a website called Caring Bridge. Her message began with:
Dear Friends and Loved Ones:
Thank you again, for the prayers and support that you are sending my way. My life has certainly taken a new turn since May 31st (coincidentally my daughter Nicole's birthday), when I visited Dr.Chip LaHaye, here in my hometown of Lafayette intending to schedule cataract surgery with optimistic expectations of having clearer vision.
During his pre-op exam Dr. LaHaye found a growth in my eye. This visit suddenly turned into a startling diagnosis of a cancer inside one of my eyes. He sent me to Dr. Blem, a retina specialist, for a second opinion where Dr. LaHaye's diagnosis was confirmed. Both doctors told me this is a dangerous melanoma and Dr. Blem immediately scheduled an appointment for me at MD Anderson for the next day.
Governor Blanco followed up with another diary entry into her online journal. This one occurred July 5, 2001 and began with:
Thank you for your many prayers and good wishes. You light up my days and fill my heart with love for all of you. Thank you for knocking on heaven's door and calling on Our Lord God, His Son Jesus, the Holy Spirit, our Blessed Mother, the Angels and the Saints and those in line to be Saints. (Not the fotball team, folks, though I could use the help of the New Orleans Saints, too, because they know how to win against great odds.)
The chorus of your petitions makes my own voice feel stronger and more forceful. God undoubtedly hears all this good racket. I firmly believe we are being heard and deeply appreciate your prayerful love and concern.
Also, thanks to all of your who bear the same burden of ocular melanaoma for sharing your stories of treatment and hope. You make me know there is a clear path to surviving this challenge and I can walk unafraid.
A couple of weeks later, Governor Blanco, made a public appearance and speech at the Democratic annual dinner. No doubt, she was weak but determined.
That same year, on August 29, the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Governor Blanco wrote another update.
"My First Report Since Radiation
Dear Friends: Thank you, again, for you sustaining prayers. I have had little to report in the past few weeks as my eye slowly healed from the plaque radiation treatment done in Memphis. I was not bed-ridden, but I did spend the past weeks being extra kind to myself by following doctors orders: 1)not lifting heavy items (you suddenly realize bags of groceries are heavier than you should be lifting); 2) keeping my head above my heart (which is harder than you think when some incidental falls to the floor and the tendency is to bend down and swoop it up instead of sitting and carefully reaching for it); 3)and getting more rest including day-time naps (a luxury I had never experienced).
Yesterday, Governor Blanco returned to her Caring Bridge diary, one, I suspect she hoped never to contribute to ever again.
“With the help of talented doctors and medical professionals, my eye was treated with radiation, which successfully preserved my vision,” Blanco said. “I now face a new challenge. I am in a fight for my own life, one that will be difficult to win…I knew from the start of my cancer journey this could happen, but with each passing year I hoped this cup would pass me by. It did not.”
No doubt, Governor Blanco is determined. She is a fighter. She had to be so. She broke the steel-like gender barriers before her in state government. In doing so, she became Madam Governor, the Queen Bee, as she was affectionately called after her inauguration. Once again, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit, unjustly criticized by many, she led the state back to our own recovery.
Words cannot appropriately describe how much I personally admire her tenacity and spirit. She is asking for our prayers and our thoughts.
Please do include yours here on her Caring Bridge diary.