cropped-butterfly-2.pngI’m sorry you found my blog.

HA!  What a funny thing to say on a blog!!  But seriously, if you landed here, you either know me, or know someone that has cancer.  That’s why I’m sorry!

Cancer.

I hate that word.

I remember sitting in the oncologist’s office in my early 20’s listening to the Dr. tell me that while it was not likely I would get Ocular Melanoma like my Mom, 3 out of 4 people would be diagnosed with some sort of cancer in their life.  Since all of my Grandparents and my Mom have died of some type of cancer, I knew my day would come.  I just never thought my diagnosis would be the day after my 41st birthday and as a mother of a 10, 7 and 6 year old.

Fast forward 4 years (October 2019) and the cancer has returned in other bones.  So here we are, ready to fight again…and looking to be on some sort of treatment for the rest of my life.

This blog is my journey as I fight to leave cancer behind and move on in my life.

I should probably back up and introduce myself . . . my name is Jennifer.  I’m a Christ follower, married to an amazing man (who happens to be a chef turned Co-CEO of a restaurant), have 3 beautiful daughters and I’ve been diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer which originally spread to my sternum, but has now spread to quite a few other bones  and one of my lungs as well.

I know it can be confusing when you stumble upon a new blog, so let me help you get started.

  • I have a blog to keep track of my thoughts and to let friends and family know what’s going on.
  • You can get to know our family or read my personal testimony here.
  • As I’ve been going through different procedures, I’ve written down what it was like.  You can find a list of those over in the side bar (or down at the bottom if you are on a mobile device).
  • Click here to receive an email when I publish new posts.
  • And finally, if you noticed above that I’m married to a chef and think that must be the MOST AMAZING THING EVER, click here and browse through my blog about what it’s really like to be married to a chef.  (I love blogging.  Can you tell?)

Jennifer

Here’s what’s going on with me right now . . .

Cards for after I’m gone

Warning….this might be a hard post to read.

I wrote an email to Tom today because I didn’t think I could tell him what I needed to in person without sobbing.

Last night I finished writing my letters to the girls, Tom and our parents for big milestones after I’m gone. I wrote letters for right after I die, high school and college graduation, weddings, pregnancy and if Tom remarries.

This has been on my to do list for 5 years. I think with the thought of another scan coming up next week and thinking about how we have not received one good scan report since the cancer returned, I just needed to do this while I am feeling ok and while my mind is working well.

I had planned to handwrite them, but my writing is pretty messy right now because my hands are a little shaky (especially as I sobbed as I wrote the letters). So they are typed and in cute cards for each occasion.

I pray I get to throw them all out and that they never read them! But if I am gone and one of those things happen, I want them to know how much I love them!

I have no idea if this is a good thing to do or not. I’m sure they will be hard to read at the time. But I needed to do it for me, the me right now, how I am feeling right now. It somehow helps me feel like they will be ok without me when I’m gone.

I also wrote a final blog post so Tom or someone else can post that.

So that’s my uplifting post for the day. Sorry. But like I have said before, I want to be transparent on this journey so people know what it’s really like to fight terminal cancer.

Having terminal cancer is hard. It’s messy. There are tears of joy and sadness. Thanks for walking the road with us.

Scan update and crazy emotions

My CT scan is scheduled for next Wednesday, the 30th. 2 days later on October 2nd, we have a telehealth appointment with Dr. Leung to find out the results.

Yesterday was the hardest day I have had in a while. Physically I struggled to get up and do anything, and I was an emotional mess. Chemo and the steroid were making my face very flushed and it felt like it was on fire. Looking back at the day, I should have taken some medicine to help me calm down. I finally did at 7pm and went to bed really early.

Mentally I have been preparing for my next scan to be in late November. To find out that it’s next week was a little bit of a shock. I’ll be glad to know if the chemo is working, but every scan we’ve done since October has not been good.

I’m not ready to have another bad scan. I’m not ready for another discussion of what chemo we move on to next. I don’t want to continue to make things harder on my family, especially my husband. I don’t want to look at my calendar, not knowing if I will be able to do anything on it until the morning of. I just don’t want to be sick anymore. I just want to feel good and have a lot of energy so I can be like one of those crazy people who is reorganizing their house after watching The Home Edit. Seriously. Do you know how much I love organizing?

I’m thankful that today is a little better than yesterday. I’ve been out of bed sitting in the recliner. Cortney and I discussed our James Bible study over video chat. I’ve done a few loads of laundry. I changed out the hangers in my closet. I swapped summer and winter clothes in my closet. I tried to help with some geometry. I prioritized my to do list. I put up a few fall decorations. I wrote a few letters. Each one of those things took a very brief amount of time. Between each of them I had to sit down and rest because I was very out of breath. But, I got somethings done and I’m very thankful!

As you pray for our family this week, will you please pray for peace in our home. Please continue to pray for the girls as they do school from home. Pray for Tom as he manages everything. Pray that as I parent in the midst of pain, my words will be gracious and kind. Pray that I will not worry about the scan coming up next week.

Also, thank you to everyone who helps provide meals for us a couple times a week. It is very helpful! October dates are up on the calendar if you are able to help.

Seeing the Dr. at Chemo Today

Very quick update tonight because I’m so tired. I couldn’t make myself open my eyes and stay awake this morning. At 9:30, I really struggled, as I had no choice but to get ready and go to chemo.

read more…

Cancer Insurance?

Did you know there is such a thing as supplemental Cancer insurance?

What????

I just found out about it yesterday on Facebook from an acquaintance who had purchased it for her mother.

I had no idea something like this existed!

Here’s what I know….I am not eligible because I have already been diagnosed with cancer. That makes sense. Bummer. But I get it. So to qualify, you can’t have cancer. Got it!

read more…

So much to be thankful for on my 46th birthday!

Lord, thank you for allowing me to live another year…another year with Tom, our parents, the girls and friends.  Thank you for another year of life!

Thank you for salvation, forgiveness and grace.

Thank you for your Word and the encouragement it brings in difficult times.

Thank you for Tom and his dedication to You and to our family.

Thank you for our parents and the wonderful example they have set for us all of our lives.

read more…

A Week Off and the Start of Another School Year

Hooray! No chemo yesterday! It was nice to stay home and not have to go in to the infusion center. I slept horrible the night before and woke up not feeling the greatest because of that. After resting all morning, I was a little better in the afternoon/evening. I felt nauseous off and on that day. I finally took Zofran in the late afternoon because it wasn’t going away. It’s kind of strange to have that side effect a week after chemo. Maybe it was something else? Who knows….

I can’t complain about one day of not feeling the greatest because this past week I have felt good! Some days, I would say I even felt GREAT! WOOHOO!! Praise God for good days! I didn’t have the huge downer of fatigue like I did last week. I am so thankful!

read more…

If I Had Only Known…

This picture was taken on August 21, 2015, 8 days before my mammogram when I found out I had breast cancer.

Sitting on this log at Deception Pass, I definitely was not thinking that in 8 days I would find out I had breast cancer…….that a month later I would find out it was stage 4…….that we would have to tell our 3 young children that I had cancer…….that a few weeks later I would start chemotherapy. The list could go on and on.

read more…

tom-and-jennifer-ovalMeet Jennifer

Breast Cancer Patient, Chef Wife and Mom

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Resources:

verses of encouragement
How to help a friend or family member with cancer
Resources for Cancer 'Patients
cancer insurance

What to Expect:

Breast Biopsy
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PET Scan
port surgery
chemotherapy
Mastectomy
Reconstruction
oophorectomy
Radiation
neuropathy after chemo