My story

Mar 30

My story

I’ve had a few people tell me that they’ve been less than satisfied with last week’s news that there are new metastases in my body.  They’re pissed, actually. Me too.  It’s not the rosy-happy-clear-NED-clean report we wanted and hoped for. There’s disappointment there; I felt the blow when Dr. Wonderful delivered the news.  I didn’t get the easy route. But this doesn’t mean the story is over.  It doesn’t mean anything actually.  I’ve been at this point before: spine spot, liver spots, lung spots, blah, blah, blah.  Time and again, my medical status returned to “No Evidence of Disease.”  It can happen again.  God can do it again and again and again and again and again.  I’m jumping through the science hoops but there are already things that have happened that science can’t explain, and I live in hopeful expectation that more miracles will come to be.  This is God’s story, and I’m blessed enough to be walking it out with Him.  This battle is being fought on a cellular level within my body, and it’s also being fought in the heavenly realm.  I don’t have to tell you in which world my hope lies. I’m a storyteller; it’s what I was born to be.  And this story, my story, is God’s story.  I love it. That’s me in the caricature, by the way, that sassy girl with the strawberry blond pony-tail and fabulous shoes.  She’s not fading or dying or defeated or sad or lonely. She’s confidently, steadfastly saying, “Watch out world.  I’m living a palooza life.  I’m LIVING.” I know my story has a happy ending. So teach us to number our days so that we may get  heart of wisdom.  –Psalm 90:12...

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Press in gratitude

Mar 27

I’ve got some experience with hardship and grief, and I’ve tried a few things to cope. What I have found to help me in difficult moments is to find something to be grateful for.  I willfully and consciously press in gratitude.  Anytime I can take my focus off of the negative stuff is a win.  Goodness breeds goodness, kindness kindles kindness, and love begets love. People keep circling me with comments and message and words of love love love. And so I’m grateful for the love that I receive in my life; thank you.  I’m finding gratitude in you, and you are calling out goodness.  It’s a joy-filled cycle. Maren’s not-so-little project has been a busy little effort to wrap up and we continue to feel incredulous as the waves of blessing from her project keep showing up.  We’re trying to both be timely and keep good records of everything, so thanks for the patience with us. Envelopes addressed to Maren are rolling in (a major thrill for a seven-year-old), and I’ve been flagging emailed donations to print and sort.  Thanks to those of you who have sent in your donations and pledges already (everyone should have received an email explaining how to send donations; if you didn’t please let me know.) I talked to a good friend who is knowledgable about art-y things, and he gave me good advice about how to get good quality photographs of Maren’s art.  It worked, and I now have the art in digital photo form, and the canvases will be ready to deliver/mail next week.  The ideas of prints and notecards are great; I looked into it briefly (15 minutes of googling), and I’m a bit overwhelmed about how to pull it off logistically.  My goal is to wrap up the current effort ASAP, and then I will turn my attention to see where we’re going next.  If anyone out there is excited enough to come up with a plan from how to get my images into a product, and then into the hands of the folks who are interested, I’m open to suggestions. I really am still a normal Jen, I laughed and kept my chin up this week.  I’m a...

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Smiles, old and new

Mar 25

Smiles, old and new

I love many things about the preschool my girls go to.  The teachers are amazing people who really enjoy spending several hours a week with a herd of tiny people.  (I could never be a preschool teacher; give me teenagers any day!)  Our preschool has curbside drop-off and pick-up which means that I can and do take my girls to school in my pajamas.  No schlepping for me, thankyouverymuch.  They teach manners and values and they sing the sweetest prayer before they eat their snacks.  It’s awesome.  Part of the rigorous three-year-old preschool curriculum includes field trips.  In the fall, they visit a pumpkin farm.  In the spring, they go here:   Yes, they go to Stan the Donut Man, where they learn about donut-making (how’s that for a life skill?), play with dough, try the tools, and generally learn new things.  The Donut Man himself does a great job with the kids and it’s really a sweet little excursion.  As you can imagine, my children LOVE it, and here they are, at Stan the Donut Man’s baking table.  Greta last week, and Maren four years ago. I was downloading pictures today (stuck at home without my car again), and I couldn’t not share these cute donut experts. I hope they make you smile. Thanks to all of you who have been reflecting and rippling the love, joy and hope I’m putting into the world back to me and on to others.  I find it really awesome to see such goodness blooming in my corner of the world.  I’m blessed. Smiles are contagious....

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Roar on, roll on

Mar 24

Roar on, roll on

      Does anybody need a good laugh today?  Check out this picture of G: Remember how she changes into a “workout outfit” from our clothes-to-give-away pile while I’m working out?   And then she “works out” with me?  This was today’s ensemble.  She’s wearing a size 2T leopard uni-suit that is supposed to be long pants and long sleeves.  It’s stretched to the max on my size 5 daughter.  But, she marched around wearing it and singing Katy Perry’s Roar for an hour this morning, so I think she totally rocked it.  I mean, check out her roaring in the photo.  She has an awesome snarl. I got up this morning and headed to work out, because that’s what the best version of Jen does first thing in the morning.  Lazy Jen hits the alarm, and Distracted Jen checks email, and Excuses Jen thinks maybe there is a sore throat/runny nose/toe problem that justifies skipping the workout.  When I work out in the morning, it always kicks my day off on a good start.  So, that’s the tone I set today.  I was encouraged to do it by others; my strength is not my own. Our day rolled on, the weirdest thing is that my car was in the shop so I was home most of the day.  The whole “bad things happen in three’s” is crap because in the past two weeks we’ve had: 1. flooded basement (bye bye deductible) 2. stubbed/broken toe (seriously, I couldn’t make this toe drama up if I tried) 3. car needs brakes/rotors/calipers (Brad’s response via text: “Safety first :-)” He’s amazing.) 4. 3 spots of cancer We have perspective about our problems.  Short term we have no problems.  We’re focusing in and choosing joy.  We’re good.  Really good, actually. We have each other; today we are safe and happy.  We all had good days today.  We choose joy. Thank you for the encouragement and kind words.  I’m blessed. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18...

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I choose joy

Mar 23

Three spots, people. We have three new spots, three new metastases.  I say “we” because that’s how I feel.  I’m the one they measure and weigh, but we’re all in this together.  I have no illusions that I’m doing this alone.  (Thanks be to Jesus.) This means my current former treatment isn’t working to control my cancer.  It means that Dr. Wonderful did lots of clicking on his computer to change my upcoming protocol.  It means I start a new drug soon: they call it the smart bomb because it injects a chemotherapy agent directly into cancer cells without affecting the healthy cells.  It means I get to keep being normal Jen–I’ll keep looking and feeling normal: no hair loss, no fatigue. I have two lymph nodes that are measuring cancer, and another maybe-cancer spot in my lung.  The details of the spots don’t really matter: Dr. Wonderful filters the information from the scan and translates it into treatment.  He’s got the medical science side of this covered; God’s doing his thing and I trust His goodness always; I’m here to focus on health and joy.  We’ve all got our roles, and I choose joy. I’m present today, as Jen.  My Jen-ness is intact.  We’re changing drugs: this could be the one that keeps my cancer under control for years.  My God could decide to swing me back to No Evidence of Disease (NED) status with a flick of His finger.  Cancer free. So.  We can worry, whine and wail.  Or.  We can smile, enjoy and do today well. I left the oncology office, and I went to the grocery store.  That’s what normal moms do for their families.  I wanted to be Normal Mama.  Tonight, I went to book fair.  Because Maren wanted desperately to go to book fair, and it felt good to be Yes Mama tonight.  Everyone knows that Yes Mama is waaaay more fun than No Mama.  Brad and Greta and Maren and I all went to book fair because we felt like being together.  The four of us ran laughing and shrieking from the school to the car because it was sleeting/hailing/raining on us and we don’t like to be cold and wet.  We...

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