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 COO 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 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 . . .

I was out of bed for 2 hours!

Sometimes it’s the little things you have to get excited about, like sitting up and watching silly YouTube videos with your family for 2 hours.

I really wish I knew what was causing this nausea. It was really hard emotionally to see my family walk out the door to church this morning without me. I was too weak to even get out of bed this morning for more than just a minute or two and ended up throwing up while they were gone, even with anti nausea medicine. I am now doubled up with two anti nausea medicines and we will see how that goes. At least I was able to get out of bed and spend a little time with my family. I even folded a load of towels and put some dirty clothes in the washing machine. Wow. I feel so productive. 🙂

Another day

I’ve written two blog posts and deleted them both because they just sounded like complaining and I don’t want to come across that way.

So tonight I will just say my body is pretty unhappy with everything I’ve done to it this week. Chemo pill, IV medication, shot, and radiation are all a bit much to handle right now and I’m struggling. At this point if I was just living with the cancer I would be feeling much better than trying to fight it. I’m not ready to stop fighting, but I’m pretty overwhelmed by side effects right now. I did get a stronger anti-nausea medicine today, so hopefully I can keep dinner down tonight.

To Cruise or Not to Cruise

In my last post about radiation and the decision to do it, I left out one big part….our cruise, which leaves February 15th. With radiation starting on Wednesday and ending on February 11th, that doesn’t give me much time to heal before getting on the ship. We talked about many different scenarios, none of which were good. The thought of canceling was horrible. The thought of Tom and the girls without me was horrible. Our original booking had Tom and Sage in one room and Molly, Ashley and I in another. When I called yesterday to find out cancellation options, I found out that the 3 girls can be in a room together since we would be right next door. That is a game changer for me – being able to be in a room with Tom! We decided as that as long as I can physically walk on the plane on the 14th, I am going! If I’m going to miserable, might as well be miserable on a brand new cruise ship. 🙂 The radiation oncologist said there was no reason I couldn’t go, but that I might be miserable. So miserable or not, I’m going. It’s the best option. It gives me something to look forward to and something to fight (and swallow, drink and eat) for. It’s amazing how that can help your outlook on life. 🙂

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So far so good

Well, so far so good on the new medicine. I’ve taken two half doses and two full doses. The biggest side effect I have so far is that I have a very dry mouth and I am incredibly thirsty all the time…which leads to me drinking a lot…which leads to me going to the bathroom a lot…you get picture. So we’ll be keeping an eye on that for a few days to make sure I’m not having high blood sugar issues, which is a very common side effect of this medication.

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New Medication Started and Radiation Coming Soon

Trials…that appears to be the theme of the day. From talking about it during counseling this morning, studying about it in my Bible Study on James mid morning and then this week’s AWANA section too! As I said Luke 22:41-42 over and over and over with Ashley to help her memorize it….Jesus asked God to remove the trial if He was willing, but only if it was His will.

Luke 22:41-42 “And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

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New Medicine Next Week

Hellooooooo from freezing Washington. It’s been a week filled with snow days and late starts for the girls and it’s been nice to have easier mornings this week. 🙂

My new medicine, Piquray, arrives via FedEx on Monday. Without insurance it costs $20,000 a month. My co-pay is $0 – which I guess means I already hit my out of pocket max 16 days into the new calendar year or it’s billed differently than regular prescriptions. I have no idea. I’m just very grateful for insurance!

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Early Scan

It hasn’t been the week I expected.

After Sunday morning’s start with neck pain, the Dr. and nurse told me to go to the ER if the pain got a lot worse, or if I had shortness of breath, pain in my arms, etc.

Tuesday morning as I was getting ready, my left arm started hurting from my wrist up to the middle of my bicep. Since I never asked the Dr. what type of arm pain to be concerned about, I called the office. After talking with the nurse for 20 minutes, she said I should go to the ER…not because it was really an emergency, but because things seem to be progressing quickly and if I went to the ER, they would do the CT scan immediately and I wouldn’t have to wait.

I called my neighbor Jen and she drove me up to the ER. Tom met me there. It was a long day of waiting and playing games on our phones. I am totally addicted to playing Yatzee (thanks Else for getting me started on that on Christmas).

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tom-and-jennifer-ovalMeet Jennifer

Breast Cancer Patient, Chef Wife and Mom

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Resources:

How to help a friend or family member with cancer
Resources for Cancer 'Patients
neuropathy after chemo

What to Expect:

Breast Biopsy
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PET Scan
port surgery
Mastectomy
Reconstruction
oophorectomy
Radiation