Monthly Archives: October 2009

Good Day

First I want to thank my very good friend, Nicole who pitched in to write for me last night.  She has agreed to pitch hit for me on those days when I just can’t write.  Last night was the first.  As she mentioned I had a very bad evening after my cocktail hour(s).  It was a VERY long day and between exhaustion and drugs I had a bad evening.  My mom and Pam saved the day and took very good care of me.  There are lots of meds to take in a timely manner and it’s very hard to think clearly when you’re the patient.  I was able to get a great night’s sleep and felt the best rest I’ve had in about 2 weeks.

I had a very good day, it first started with a shot in the arm that I have to have following each treatment.  That wasn’t so great but it was very short lived.  Then the girls rallied and we all went to get haircuts.  We all got super cute short cuts.  It was sweet to watch each of them support me as I make adjustments to kick cancer in the butt.  The doctors have recommended that the hair loss is easier with a short hairstyle.  They predict I will begin to lose my hair in about 3 weeks.  Not what I’m looking forward to but it is what it is.  I’ll get a couple cute wigs and have variety.  Just think girls, all those mornings you’re standing in front of the mirror fussing with your hair, I just have to put mine on and walk out the door.  It’ll save me a lot of time.  More sleep and take less time to get ready in the mornings.  That’s what I’m talking about.

There will be rough days and I have just seen a glimpse but I know that God is carrying me on the days I can’t hold myself up and He holds my hand on the days that I can walk on my own.  He never leaves me.

I must admit that I missed writing to all of you yesterday, I felt saddened that I was not able and have thought of you many times today with an anxious heart to get back to you tonight.  I love you all and am so inspired and encouraged by your comments.  I read them continuously throughout the day and smile.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

‘I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, wether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.’  –Philippians 4:23

My prayer – ‘ Lord, whatever my lot I will praise you.’

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

A Very Long Day

It’s been a very long day.

Things began much earlier than expected (seriously, can a girl sleep in a day or two?) at around 4 a.m. Unexpected, sharp pain has a way of interrupting even the deepest sleep. The doctors think it may have been cause by a bursting vein in or around the tumor. Since today is day 1 of “Jenn’s juice” this unexpected twist added a few more steps to the agenda before the cocktail party could begin. Concerned about possible blood clots, the doctors added a CAT scan into the mix. The tumor continues to grow … it’s now about 12 cm. We’re praying for an immediate response to chemo to reverse that growth and bring relief.

Throughout the day, everything took longer than expected. It’s difficult to balance a sense of urgency with waiting … maybe you can relate? Things got off to a late start with the echocardiogram which is basically an ultrasound of the heart. Jenn’s juice will pack a powerful punch and they want to keep a close eye on things, so this test establishes a baseline.

Next came cocktails. The port that was inserted on Wednesday hooks up to a series of IVs that include chemo as well as a full bag of anti-nausea medicine. The latter (a favorite) is long-lasting and stays in your system for five days. Chemo takes a while – several hours – to complete. Over the course of the treatment, Mom and Pam catered a special picnic lunch with tasty grilled cheese sandwiches. What could go better with Jenn’s juice? After our picnic but before cocktail hour was over, they came to do the CAT scan. Talk about medical multi-tasking! It may have been a timesaver but heading off for a CAT scan with an IV mid-cocktail was quite the adventure.

During the drive home some nausea hit. It’s hard to tell if it’s a reaction yet or just car sickness, which wouldn’t be unheard of.  Exhaustion soon followed … a feeling of having been mowed down by a truck came to mind (did anyone get a license plate number?). The best way to continue to fight cancer tonight is with sleep, hopefully very deep and a LOT of it.

A friend offered these verses today – the timing was God’s:

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:12-13

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions
never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself,
“The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
Lamentations 3:22-24

Such amazing reminders that as we pour out our hearts to the Lord, He hears every word with a heart of compassion that is renewed daily and never fails us. With God as our portion, we have all that we need and can trust that His timing is perfect … in all things.

NOTE: Jenn expressed how grateful she is for your heartfelt messages, encouragement, scripture and prayers. She’s resting, and I share this update with you on her behalf. Today was a significant hurdle in the battle, and God will have the victory! Nicole, for Jenn

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

The Night Before

It is the night before I start chemo.  I sit with mixed emotions.  I’m anxious, nervous and a little scared.  Not of the treatment but of what could happen.  I know without a doubt this is where I’m supposed to be for this season.  God has provided in abundance for this season.

God has shown himself to me in many ways.  I never knew all the people I would come in touch with over the past couple years that would play such an important role in the next season.  Friends of friends that have just the resources I need.  Every thing from the Susan G. Komen Foundation to dieticians for the Cancer Center.  Lord, you are so good to me, I will praise you with all that is within me.  Yes, He has me in Dallas for “such a time as this”

We don’t know what to expect over the next few days.  If I am unable to write, don’t worry, I have enlisted a ghost writer to keep you well informed.  She is quite talented so I must be careful that she doesn’t take over my job here.

Well, as I close I want to leave you with something that was sitting in my doctor’s office this afternoon:

What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer is so limited ~~

It cannot cripple love.

It cannot shatter hope.

It cannot corrode faith.

It cannot destroy peace.

It cannot kill friendship.

It cannot suppress memories.

It cannot silence courage.

It cannot invade the soul.

It cannot steal eternal life.

It cannot conquer the spirit.

‘ For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’  – Ephesians 2:10

‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagin, according to his power that is at work within us.’  – Ephesians 3:20

(For those who have asked about the verses, these have been directly from my quiet time along the journey.  Without a doubt God is speaking.)

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Big Day

I sit here tonight reflecting on the day and the past week.  It was just a week ago that I received the news, “you have breast cancer”.  I am amazed by all of you.  You have blown me away with your outpouring care and gifts.  I would not want to face this without you, I truly have the best friends and family near and far.

Tonight is going to be short and sweet as I am having trouble keeping my eyes open.  Although you come out of anesthesia, it’s effects linger for the duration of the day.  It’s been a great excuse to nap all day.  Today started very early but of course I overslept a bit.  What can I say, I love my sleep.  We had a little adventure trying to find the surgery center.  Note to self, as the patient don’t rely on yourself to know the details.  Once we finally got to the right building we were good to go.  I realize that they don’t call it Medical City for nothing, it really is a little city complete with Starbucks (just like a real city, 1 on every corner).

I don’t remember anything other than getting my medicine and then waking up in recovery.  My doctor and all the nurses were wonderful to me.  There were a few ‘tricks’ they made me do before they’d let me leave the hospital.  I came home and took the first of a few naps.  The best news of the day was the phone call I received asking me to come in early for my PET scan.   This was the best part of my day, I went in received a little shot of ‘radioactive sugar water’ and then they put me in a dark, warm room with a big brown leather recliner, warm blankets and a personal t.v with remote.  I had arrived!  I was left to sleep for the next hour.  After my nap I was taken to the ‘tube’ where I was for 21 minutes while this large donut scanned my body from my head to toe.  Once that was complete, I was spoiled by mom and Pam with cheese fries and burgers followed up with Sprinkles cupcakes to go. 

After we returned home it has been snooze central around here.  Today was a big day and we have crashed tonight.  Tomorrow has its own adventure awaiting, appointment with the oncologist.  I feel kinda like I’m getting ready for a first date.  He knows a lot more about me than I do about him.  Our friend, Dr. Laidley thinks we’ll be a perfect match.  Shoot, what have I got to loose, he’s a take charge kinda guy and will design a special cocktail just for me.  I’m calling it Jenn’s Juice.  We’ve been told that most likely he will order chemo to start Friday.  So what do you know, I might have a date on Friday after all, wasn’t what I was expecting but at this point it’s one that has the greatest chance of lasting a lifetime.

Time to sign off as my eyelids are falling down.

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness”  – Isaiah 61:10

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  –  Romans 5:5

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Cost of Cancer

I’ve had my first battle with anger today, not about what you probably think.  First battle of anger, try not being angry at the first woman who calls on the phone to tell you they need $1347.oo for your surgery that is less than 24 hours away, or the second woman who calls.   Both asking ‘will you be able to pay at the time of services’.  Cancer is expensive however, I didn’t think I would be hit so quickly with numbers and dollar signs.  Reality sets in, cancer has a cost  and no matter how much you think you’re prepared it’s a shock when you find out how much.  Thankfully, my Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills so I will not worry.  He already has my trust fund in place and has paid every debt.  I will be responsible with the resources He has given me and know that He will provide.  His word tells me ‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’  – Matt. 6:34  That’s the promise I stand on today.

I am busting at the seams to continue this post.  You see, I wrote the first paragraph around 3:30 this afternoon after receiving 2 phones about the surgery and PET scan happening tomorrow.  They both bombarded me with costs and what my 20% would be.  Both want full payment at time of service.  Excuse me people, did you miss the part about I’m trying to kick cancer in the butt and you want money before you’ll provide services?  So I immediately began writing and our Father comforted my soul with His word.  I have learned the value of  hiding His word in my heart because in moments like these, He tugs on your heart and what’s on the inside spills out.

A co-worker immediately noticed my emotion, when I shared what had happened she felt my pain.  I dried my damp cheeks, picked myself up and knew that these 2 phone calls had not surprised my Father and he gave me the exact words to write in the beginning of today’s post.  He knew what He was about to do and knew that we all needed a reminder of who’s in control (even the financial costs).

I left work around 4 today, tired and ready to get home to begin the process of getting finances in line to see what I could do in the next few hours.  But God already had it done, remember when he said, “It is finished”?  Well, it is.  I left my phone unaccessible on the drive home and listened to the music and made my way through the traffic.  During my “unwind” trip home, I was driving my co-worker a little crazy by not answering her multiple phone calls.  Because she was watching God use her to bless my socks off.  And I mean it.  I could never have imagined what she was about to tell me and I was speechless….really, I know some of you are having a hard time believing that one but its true, speechless!

You see, when she heard of my need she emailed a group of her friends and within minutes the responses were flooding in.  By the time she and I spoke she had all but $350 ready to give.  I hope you’re smiling and celebrating too.  But don’t stop there because God’s not done yet, a friend has volunteered to start a fund in my name, and wait there’s still more….I just received a text, we’re up to $1670 and she says it’s still coming in.  I’m so blown away and excited that I want to shout from the rooftops.  My only problem, I truly cannot find adequate words to  give enough praise to the Father.  He is worthy of so much more than my mere words, I stand in awe!!!  He IS my ALL in ALL!!! 

Folks, WE have a Big God.  To my friend Amanda, I can never express my gratitude to your faithful response when the Lord called you into action.  This really is our battle and I truly feel the power of our army.  Our Father, is the Commander in Chief and I’m honored to serve along side each and every one of you. 

I just have one thing to say to cancer – THIS MEANS WAR!

‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them’  – 2 Kings 6:16

13 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

D(iagnosis) Day

Here I sit in the quiet, listening to the rain fall outside the window.  It is a sweet lullaby to my ears.  The day has been good.  I returned to work for some sense of normal routine.  I will not allow my life to be consumed by thoughts of this disease.  I have been overwhelmed with gratitude for my co-workers.  They have known me for only a short time yet I feel like part of the family.  It is a huge blessing to walk in and be cheered on, encouraged and loved on throughout my day.  I had to chuckle today as I heard, ‘I don’t know if this crosses the line’.  Apparantly we were listening during “Ms. Tammy’s Storytime” a couple weeks ago during our Sexual Harrassment training.  It’s funny how after a week of various doctors, nurses and technicians asking you to undress from the waist up will desensitize your modesty.  Ask me, I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.  We used to talk about boys and dates, now we talk about boobs and “cocktails”.  Oh my, how a day can change your life.

For the real business of the day, the diagnosis.  So what is this thing growing inside of me?  I have part of the results from my biopsy, drum roll please….. It is “locally advanced non-inflammatory breast cancer”.  Wow, that diagnosis seems as big as the tumor, so what does that mean?  First, I get a grade! But of course, I did a test so I should get a grade.  It is grade III, ‘poorly differentiated high grade.’ Second, I get a stage! No, really, I prefer behind the scenes.  Oh no, it’s stage 3 for me.  Why mess around with the small numbers when you can go straight to the top?

On a more serious note, these are all results that have a clear path of treatment.  I will begin with chemotherapy, ‘Jenn’s juice’ coming right up.  My port will be installed on Wednesday and it is highly likely to be followed with a ‘cocktail’ by the end of the week.  This ‘cocktail’ will be slightly generic until some remaining results are back from the biopsies.  Apparantly I only had to take one test and they can give multiple grades, not sure how I like that but it seems to save time and fewer pokes with those needles.  After chemotherapy, I will have surgery.  Yes, the big “M” word.  After that is done I will move onto radiation therapy.  It looks like a long road ahead and like I always say about a road trip its not how you get there its about the adventure along the way.  We better get a really big bus for all those who want to come along.

Here’s the bright side:  chemotherapy = no shaving, less hair maintenance and I can do my hair in the amount of time it takes to put on a wig.  Long, short, red or brunette I will have many options.  (Btw, I hear men like long hair so here’s my chance to try it).  Surgery = it will be painful but in the end I will have a new “set” at no charge and the bonus is they’ll have to take a little fat from the tummy.  New boobs and a tummy tuck, what more could a girl ask for? (sorry guys, I should have given you a warning but you should’ve known by the blog that it was coming.)  Radiation = not sure of the benefits, but hey if it keeps me on the road to recovery I’m all for it.  Maybe I’ll glow in the dark, oooh, I can’t wait to go on one of those rides at the amusement park with the black lights and try it.

It has been a long day and I promise I am in good spirits.

“Count it all joy, my brothers (and sisters), when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  – James 1:2-4

15 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Telling His Story

It has been a great day.  Truly a day of rest.  We started with church,  lunch and then a restful afternoon complete with coffee from a friend. 

I ran into a friend of a friend this morning on the way into church and of course the subject came up.  As this friend shared that he would be praying for me I began to think should I have said anything?  When is it appropriate and when should I keep it to myself?  The Lord spoke to me in church and answered my thoughts, “don’t be freakish walking up to every stranger telling them or wear large obnoxious buttons that say ‘I have cancer’ “.  Then He whispered, “I’ve given you a voice and I want you to use it for Me”.  This is all new to me and as I navigate these unchartered waters I lean completely on our Father.  So, I will share with those who will join our army to pray and continue to use this story to tell His story.   This friend this morning, promised to join us so I rest assured that God is enlisting many to enlarge our army of prayer warriors.  He will have the victory.

Thru this week I have watched friendship transform to family.  I have watched strangers gather with heavy hearts to pray healing over me.  I have watched a friend and a mom interrupt their lives to be by my side for doctors appointments and tests.  I have watched as friends far and near have prayed, emailed and sent encouraging messages continuously.  You all have been Jesus in the flesh for me this week.  I applaud all of you for being available for the Father to use in my time of need.  I know it’s overwhelming, sad and uncomprehendable but through it all you have been a tremendous support.  I know there will come a time when I will be calling on many of you to help with the day to day stuff, please know that will be the hardest part of all of this.  The doctors have told me not to try to be Superwoman, so here’s the deal I can’t be Superwoman so I will need a few Superheroes. 

The greatest superhero of all has already equipped us all with all that we need to conquer this battle.

“That’s right because I, your God , have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.  I’m telling you, don’t panic.  I’m right here to help you.”  – Isaiah 41:13

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized