Acts of kindness make daily battle easier

Janelle and Neil Dow

By Barbie Porter


When the winds of change are fierce enough to sweep the legs out from under otherwise steady legs, sometimes a bowl of soup can help one find the strength to continue pushing forward.

Janelle Dow recently received a batch of homemade chicken noodle soup from Perham resident Danell (Kratzke) Slevin. After dealing with an ongoing storm of health complications, that little gesture made Dow feel loved. 

“That kettle of soup meant the world to me,” Dow said. “I didn’t have to worry about a meal that day. My husband  Neil works 70 hours a week and deserves a meal at the end of the day. Sometimes I’m just so exhausted I can’t get out of bed. That random act of kindness came without me asking for help; she just did it.”

The 1992 Perham graduate was diagnosed with vaginal cancer 8 months ago. A hysterectomy was ordered and she went through chemotherapy. While steps were taken to get rid of the cancer, two months ago she learned it had spread to her lungs.

Cancer causes cells to grow uncontrollably, oftentimes resulting in it spreading. It can start anywhere as the body is made of trillions of cells. While knowing the details of how cancer can seemingly appear, being diagnosed a second time was quite a shock for the 48-year-old.

Dow said she has returned to the Roger Maris Cancer Center for another chemotherapy treatment and planned for radiation treatment to follow in January.

“Last Friday I was diagnosed with (symptic) lupus and rheumatoid arthritis,” she said. 

Lupus can affect everything from skin to blood to organs. Those with lupus may feel fatigued, joint pain, fever and more, with occasional flare-ups. There is no cure for lupus, but there are treatments to improve the quality of life.

Those with rheumatoid arthritis see their body’s immune system attack its own tissue, including joints which causes painful swelling. There can be lasting impacts over long periods of time as well. There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but management can slow its progression.

With one storm of bad news following another, Dow shared it sometimes feels like every day is a battle for sanity.

“Today is a good day though,” she said, noting a grandson came for a visit and when she sits in a chair and plays with him, the storms calm, she finds peace and is lifted with happiness. She noted it is those little moments, or bowls of soup, or rides to the doctor that make a world of difference in the life of someone who is in the midst of a battle.