A series of Post-its

Jul 28

I have a whole bunch of things to blog about, but it seems instead of dedicated blogs, you’re going to get a series of blog-ish Post-its.  Sorry for the medium-sized effort, but I’m working on being super-present this summer and loving having both girls home all day every day, and I’m adding the running effort in so my Jen Time is even more divided. Just so you know, I actually love Post-it notes.  M and G even got some in their Easter baskets last year (big hit!) I’m running.  It’s hard in every way.  I am signed up for the races I mentioned in my post (Running: the rubber is hitting the road), and I’m really praying I can actually follow through and do it.  Relying on God for this is good for me.   One of my friends had me start using the MapMyRun app to track my running; if you want to run “with me” and friend me on the app, my username is “JenDoTodayWell”.   You can also “run with me” in your own way if actual feet-to-pavement isn’t your thing.  There are lots of ways to do that. Today is treatment day, so I’ll be in the chair in the Chemo Room for a few hours.  *Clink* and “Cheers” as the chemo does it’s job! I’ve had a few summer visitors come to my house.  I am so well loved and I feel like the echoes of my visitors are lingering and making me smile. I think both of my girls are due for a growth spurt because they are the same size as (most of) their little friends.  Usually, the Anderson girls are the tallest! Maren is very definitely into the pre-tween stage: sitting and listening to the adults, good conversationalist, increased attention span, and becoming firm in her choices and preferences.  She’s running with me sometimes too–I love it.  As I pack Maren for our upcoming trip, she is helping choose the outfits, and her color themes are turquoise/blue; she gravitates to a mini version of my style.  We like the same sweatshirt at Target that says “Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Kind”, and a shirt with arrows because it makes us think of...

Read More

Running: the rubber is hitting the road

Jul 16

Late summer/fall 2015 shall henceforth be known as the season of running.  (At least, I pray it is: I pray for the strength and endurance to carry on with these big hairy scary goals I have set for myself!)  Below are the three upcoming races I am participating in, along with my thoughts for each. Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Greater Cincinnati: Friday August 28, 2015 6:45pm/7:00pm The director of Komen Cincinnati reads my blog, and after my recent running posts, she reached out to me.  She asked me for three things: 1) Would I be the “survivor runner” representative at this year’s race and the recipient of sponsors’ (New Balance and Fleet Feet) free swag? Um, yes please and thank you.  I’m a survivor runner and now I’ll look the part.  Woo!  Such a fun gift! 2) Would I speak just before the start of the event at this year’s race for 3-5 minutes about being a “survivor runner” and what that means to me? Whoa.  This one is intimidating.  Lucky for me I have some time to think about my words for this platform.  I am honored to be asked, and I’m thrilled that a Stage IV survivor is being given such a visible space in the breast cancer community. 3) Komen affiliates, and Cincinnati specifically, are changing the language of some of the language/events/signage to be more inclusive of the Stage IV Breast Cancer community, and could I give insight and share thoughts about how to help achieve that goal? Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  The Stage IV Breast Cancer community is oddly overlooked at a lot of traditional breast cancer events.  Emphasis on “survivorship” and “years cancer-free” don’t work for us Stage IV girls, and the prevalence of such language is bizarre given that we’re the ones who are arguably most affected by breast cancer and are battling for our life!  I’m grateful that Komen Cincinnati is making a greater effort to acknowledge, honor and celebrate the Stage IV community.  “Living with cancer” is something to be celebrate at least as much as “cancer free”. I was so impressed with the director and her personal effort to me and the Stage IV community that I immediately...

Read More

Compassions never fail

Jul 14

Tonight as I was going to bed, Brad stopped me and said, “Are you really okay, are you just tired?  What’s going on?” I sighed at my own discontent, and acknowledged that, in the late evening hour, after a long day, in a funky stretch, “I’m feeling a little low.” “Nothing is actually wrong tonight,” I added, “I’m just having a moment.” Emotions are tricky things because I’m feeling low about a whole bunch of things that don’t really matter; it all just caught up to me in that last twenty minutes before bed, thus a clear sign that I stayed up twenty minutes too late.  It’s easy to get caught up in such things: the nonsense and non-important.  The to-dos, the shoulds, the it’s-already-lates.  The piles, the lists, the undone.  The messy, the guilt, the forgotten.  The wishes, the jealousy, the broken. As I collect my thoughts and type this literally from my bed, I shake my head at my own mis-steps.  It’s been a great couple of days.  I am so blessed.  I need to trust that the folks on the other end of my unfinished life are not hinging their approval or acceptance of me upon my actions.  And even if they are, I need to be okay with that too.  Meanwhile, great things have happened this week; that’s what I need to think about. Brad and I have had two dates in the last week; more if you count “family dates” of quality time.  We’re good, on the same page, connected, awesome.  He is my beloved. Today I watched Greta in her very best Greta surroundings.  She got to go to a party where the theme was princesses and the sparkle was un-matched.  Seriously, if it held still, it was glittered.  She was the kid who bought into the fairy story hook, line, and sinker.  She was the one who believed only the magic could open that door.  She was finally appropriately dressed for something in her ruffled tulle dress and purple leopard–yes, glittered–shoes.  I love my bright-eyed girl and her wonder. Early this morning I showered Maren in genuine praise and wonder at what a terrific job she did cleaning her own room.  Apparently...

Read More

See Jen Run…

Jul 10

It’s been so vital to my mental game to have fun things on the calendar as I live with cancer.  At the end of the month we’re taking another awesome trip: this time we’re trekking off to see Baby Sister in her workplace, as a glassblower onboard a cruise ship as part of the entertainment staff.  Seeing my sister doing this work is important to me for many reasons, and she explains it well in this article she wrote two years ago.  I love my sister and I’m fiercely proud of her.  The trips and vacations, all of them, have been about experiential living and making memories with people I love.  It’s not about the sights and the adventures, but those are good for my soul too; it’s the relationships that matter. After this trip, we’ve got no more trips on the radar; we want the girls to be older for some out west National Park adventuring, and also our fun budget is tapped out.  Simultaneously in this season, I’ve been thinking a lot about fear and running and challenge and bravery.  Thus, my next calendar items are some races that both challenge and inspire me. The timing of all of this is not at all coincidental.  As you all know, I work pretty darn hard at being the Jen I want to be.  My current treatment, which I started in April, has been a force to contend with because I am operating with a lost time deficit due to the side effects.  So, I’m fighting back and determining I need to be ultra-strategic to get my energy up and as high as it can be.  It’s not about the running, it’s about the energy that I gain when I’m in the fitness zone.  With my lost time deficit, I desperately need/want that energy!  Challenging myself in this way also makes me more dependent on God because I definitely am reaching beyond my comfort zone.  I’m also staring down several fears as I take on this challenge.  It’s hard. I’ve called out to my village several times over the past months to say “Help!  Who can cover XYZ?”  Every time, they’ve answered.  I have a village I can depend...

Read More

Let us throw off everything that hinders

Jul 08

Whew, three weeks cycles around fast! I’m in the chemo chair again, which means that I’m sitting in my recliner, heat seat on, drugs dripping, and nurses ready to bring me snacks, drinks, and warm blankets as needed.  I’m on my summer schedule which means I get treatment on Wednesdays at the main office, and today I saw Rockstar.  We talked about a lot of things, and she takes such a personal affect with me.  We are friends, and I’m blessed to know her.  (While still within the bounds of doctor/patient, of course.)  We talked about running and camping and awesome patients.  We laughed about non-life-threatening side effects of estrogen-nuking medicines, gave thanks for a relatively good report, and reason to hope for my forty-six years.  The chemo suite in this office is less conducive to chatter for some reason, but that suits me because I have a million things I need to catch up on. That’s what I’m finding to be the hardest about this new regimen of having roughly “two good weeks, one bad week” every cycle.  I can’t seem to figure out how to get it all done.  I’ve got less time for everything which means it’s easy to feel lonelier, more stressed, more overwhelmed, and more incompetent.  (All thoughts that I battle because I’m normal, remember?  I fight for my mental game as much as my physical health.)  The lost time means then I’ve got more mental work to do to fight the loneliness, stress, ‘whelmedness, and incompetency.  And then that too is tiring.  Cycles, right?  Cycles.  Therefore, I’m setting aside what sets me back.   I just keep reminding myself of what’s most important right now, and I do that.  That’s doing today well; I’m doing my best. When Brad and I got married, we put a lot of thought into the words of our ceremony, vows, and marriage.  We wrote it all ourselves and we both enjoyed the process of it.  We both love academics and knowledge, and that seeps into the way we approach everything.  We’re nerds, and we like that about ourselves.  One of the Bible verses that we picked out for ourselves and highlighted during our wedding all those years...

Read More