On our knees together

Sep 18

Do you know what we did to celebrate Monday’s news of continued NED (NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE–WOO!)? Brad, Maren, Greta and I — we all played Lego in the basement together. It was a perfect evening. There was no feasting, no phone calls/updates (love the blog!), not even any dancing. It was a normal-busy-family-weeknight.  We finished school/work/day, we did the evening runaround practice/eat, and then we played.  It was wonderful, really.  Brad built something like a rover: a very man-like thing that drives.  I made a two story house and tried not to care about color and symmetry.  Greta made a “jungle”; she also spent a lot of time complimenting our work: “Mommy, that is excellent building you are doing right there.  Daddy I love that blue piece you put on.”  Maren made a little cabana of sorts; her Lego-creating is time-consuming and largely quiet–just like me as a child.  She’s moving mountains around with that bright mind of hers. Brad and I deposited our lists and our obligations and felt the great weight of gratitude.  It’s not coincidence that we spent an hour literally on our knees with our family that night.  There is no cancer corroding our family.  It’s now that I cry with relief and gratitude. We do not take each other for granted.  We do not take playtime for granted.  We honor the blessings and the God who gives them by being the very best Jen, Brad, Maren and Greta we can be.  And it’s enough.  It’s always...

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Good news, people. Good. News.

Sep 15

I really felt good about this one. A bizarre peace,  you could say. Last week I was driving my mom and Greta as we were heading for a lunch date, and Mom said, “I can tell you are scanxious about the upcoming scan.” I kind of wrinkled my face and said, “Meh, I don’t think so.  I know it’s coming but I’m not stressing over it.” And really?  I wasn’t feeling scanxious.  (I think it was her scanxiety she was picking up!)  I’ve no doubt it’s easier to be the cancer patient than it is to be the mother of the cancer patient.  And also, the scan is the tool that tells us what is happening… the scan itself is not the enemy. Today I cleaned out my car in my small window of time between appointments.  I unloaded my dishwasher.  I made a grocery list.  I edited my Green BEAN Delivery cart.  I prayed, I listened to music, and I peacefully moved about taking care of simple tasks.  I did not wring my hands, or weep, or tremble.  I am too busy living to be worried about dying.  Once again, I felt surrounded by a supernatural peace.  God keeps anointing me with this peace at different points along the way.  For the past month, I’ve felt the weight of the scan — the importance of it, but I haven’t felt fear, woe or dread.  Instead, just peace; and now–what an affirmation!  Thank you Jesus. Dr. Wonderful is great because he walks into the exam room, shuts the door, and cuts right to the chase.  I thought he was looking a little bit smile-y, so I knew his news would be good: “Today’s scan showed some activity at exactly the same spot as your previous lung surgery site.  The radiologist and I both believe this is residual inflammation/scar tissue left over from your thoracoscopy surgery in November, but — as you well know — we can’t be one-hundred percent sure.  I’m going to run some bloodwork to make sure that everything looks good there, and we’ll repeat the PET scan in three months instead of six months.”  He continued, “The rest of the scan is completely clean–nothing whatsoever to...

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Monday will be a good day

Sep 13

Well folks, Monday is scan day. Here’s how I envision the day going: Wake up pre-dawn. Pray.  Run.  Pray. Drive to hospital for PET scan.  Read and pray during the PET procedure from 7-9am.  Say hello to my hospital people. Go to Dr. Clean’s office for appointment.  I started seeing Dr. Clean last month because my neck/shoulders/upper back were/are really jacked up from 1) being a tall person my adult life and hunching to make myself shorter and 2) my mastectomy and thoracoscopy surgeries that caused me to curl protectively around my chest.  My posture stinks.  Dr. Clean is working to get me bones aligned again, and he’s all about whole body wellness.  I’ve been taking it in and evaluating it and incorporating bits and pieces into my routines.  I figure I have nothing to lose by being as healthy as possible. Go to Dr. Wonderful’s office for PET scan results. Dr. Wonderful shows me scan report that says NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE (NED).  He smiles in his quiet way.  His smile is even more reassuring than the report.  We stamp the plan for the next 3-6 months with my current cancer drug protocol (Herceptin, Perjeta, Faslodex); everything remains status quo.  Brad and I smooch and he heads off to do important work type things. I frolic into the chemo room, and I high-five my posse of fellow drippers.  We all do a Happy Dance.  I send out texts and use the oncology patient wifi to post a quick, gleeful blog update. I finish dripping, collect Maren off the school bus, and pick up Greta from Phenom’s house. We laugh and sing and dance as we make dinner.  We eat.  We chat. We head to Maren’s volleyball game. I am coaching Maren and nine other little girls who are having their first volleyball experience.  It’s really amazing to see them improve so quickly in such a short amount of the time.  For about half of the game, I coach with Greta riding piggy back.  For the other half of the game, Greta sits on the bench with the girls who are rotating in to play.  Maren will try really hard to get her serve over the net… I hope...

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Best in the world

Sep 03

Best in the world

Now that Maren is off to school every day, Greta and I are getting a lot of one-on-one time.  She still gets sad when Maren gets on the big yellow bus, but she doesn’t wail, so I consider that a success. I try to schedule our days so that we roll at a meandering pace.  We have time to get the little kid-sized cart at the grocery store (one of her very most favorite things) and we use teamwork as we make our way through the store.  We both get to practice having patience with the other.  My achilles have taken a few hits from that kiddie cart.  Her food repertoire is slowly expanding, and I think letting her make more choices at the grocery store is helping widen her horizons. Greta and shoes.  It’s hilarious.  She’s always been something of a shoe diva which baffles me somewhat.  She changes footwear hourly and tries them on in the foyer before setting them next to the door to the garage so she knows which pair she is wearing when we go out.  (We have a no shoes in the house rule, so this is her compromise.)  She wears socks, and prefers loud, patterned knee socks with most of her footwear, including her sandals.  It’s so not-matchy it’s almost back to stylish again.  I kind of love her fashion sense (nonsense?)  It’s fun and playful, just like G. We went to the dentist and Greta had her first check-up.  She watched big sister go first, held Maren’s hand when “Sissy was ner-bous”, and then was a brave champ when her turn rolled around.  The thumb’s up picture is so G.  She’s using her strong will for good and overcoming the fear that is so clearly written on her face with sheer willpower.   She learned to swim with no floatie in August.  Classic G, again.  She made infinitely more progress once swimming lessons (entire month of June) were over than she did during the actual swimming lessons.  But, the end result is the same, and I’m so proud of her.  She could be on swim team next year if we maintain this skill over the winter.  Wouldn’t that be something?!  ...

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