How do I do it?

Mar 24

I carry my phone charger around with me all the time now.  It is nearly impossible to keep my phone charged because of the overwhelming amount of conversation that is going on between me, the medical team, and the network of every person I have ever met.  Dr. Wonderful give me a funny look when I reached under his chair to retrieve my wall charger as we were leaving his office on Thursday night. Perhaps it is in poor taste to steal your oncologists’ electricity?

“I can’t keep my phone charged,” I explained.  “Everyone wants to talk to me.”

Dr. Wonderful nodded and laughed, “Yes, I think that is pretty common.”

I love that everyone wants to talk to me.  (Well, that’s not entirely true.  You know those futuristic movies where everyone has a chip or a barcode on their arm so that they can be scanned and identified?  I am ready for that!  I’ve given my basic information to medical personnel probably forty times this week.  There has to be a better way.)

People.  Everyone has been reading the blog.  Because everyone is reading the blog, there is no need to review the medical facts or updates.  The two things I like about the blog: one, I get to process, and two, it gives anyone who wants to know it the real story so that my connections and conversations are meaningful rather than fact-based.  Though I haven’t really talked to that many people, the most common question I get is, “How are you doing it?  How are you staying so positive?”

People.  What choice do I have?  I have landed in a craptastic situation.  I can look at the crap, or I can look up.  When I look up I see more love than I’ve ever seen before (and I have seen a lot of love in my life).  When I look at the crap, well, I can’t look at the crap, I can’t focus on it, I can’t allow it to have power over my thoughts.  My eyes are fixed on the prize, and, oh Jesus, the prize is so great.  The prize is my girls, my fabulous life, my future.  Today, today, is a prize.  I’ve always had reasonably good perspective, but now I have p e r s p e c t i v e.

People.  I don’t want sympathy.  I don’t want Hallmark cards with swooshy writing and wimpy floral scenes.  (Don’t worry, I won’t take offense if you’ve already sent one.)  There are few people I will cry with.  I’m more into joking, laughing, celebrating, remembering, planning.  I don’t want my girls or Brad to have sympathy.  I want people to say to Brad, “Your wife rocks,” rather than, “I’m so sorry about your wife.”  Not to sound conceited, but I am cool; I am the same woman he married and I’m the same woman I was last Saturday when we did a twelve mile bike ride with our kids in tow.  I want people to say to Maren, “Your mom is so lucky to have you,” not “Your mom is one strong lady.”  Because I am so lucky to have her.  She needs me now more than ever and I will not walk around under a dark cloud because Greta, Maren, Brad: they are with me.  My family is with me, my friends, all these acquaintances, even, I feel, strangers.  Spin it positive people.  Compliment me, compliment the people who love me most.  We are living a full and abundant life right now.  Crazy optimism, bizarre hope, big miracles, happy thoughts: these are the order of the day.

People.  Pray.



  1. Amen!

  2. Tina Mathie /

    Kick ass Jen! Kick ass!

    • Jen – Keep the faith. We are praying for you.
      Lots of love,
      Joan and David

  3. Absolutely Jen- kick its frickin’ ass.
    And, yes, I have been reading every day- I even get those pesky emails to tell me to read, because I want to follow you kicking some cancer-ass. Your friend army is poised and ready to fight with you. Love to you and the fam- no swooshy, flowery love, just hard-core Jesus love;) Later tater.

  4. That right Jen- kick its frickin’ ass!
    And, yes, I do read EVERY day, I even have those pesky emails to tell me to read, because I want to follow you kicking some cancer-ass. Your friend army is poised and ready to fight with you- love to you and the fam. Not swooshy, flowery love, but some ass-kickin’ Jesus love;)

  5. ohiofishergirl /

    Jen and Brad,
    YOU ROCK!! Both of you are tough and we know you’re ready to kick this cancer’s ass! All of us Avon Mathie’s are fighting this battle along side you! Love You—Lauri, Dale, Carli, Chris, and Erica

  6. Jen and Brad,
    YOU ROCK!! Both of you are focused and we know you’re ready to kick this cancer’s ass! All of us Avon Mathie’s are fighting this battle with you! Love You—Lauri, Dale, Carli, Chris, and Erica

  7. Jen ~ I love your spirit & what a wonderful family you have ~ Yes, you are very lucky to have your 2 little girls & a husband that loves you & vise-a-versa. I don’t know you or your sisters very well ~ I do know you all must be very special, as your Mother is 🙂 I have always thought highly of your Mother ~ She always had/has Great Spirit & I see where you get it from 🙂 ENJOY This Day and peace be with you 🙂

  8. You rock! You are awesome! you are kicking butt and taking names! Cancer will be sorry it ever messed with you!!!

  9. I’ve never wanted to high five someone as much in my life as I do now. You deserve tons of “you rock” shouts and yells. From what I can tell but just reading this blog today…you are kicking ass and taking names. You are an inspiration.

  10. 12 mile bike ride! You totally rock!!! Being strong and healthy will get you through this!!!

  11. Sarah Steen /

    Hi Jen! You are my hero! Momastery sent me over here this morning and I am so impressed by your courage and badassness. Our daughter was 2.5 years old when she was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010, and she will hopefully finish chemotherapy at the end of October. Cancer is a tricky road to navigate, with many tears and frustrations along the way. But many, many beautiful things can unfold if you are willing to look for them–your blog posts tell me you already have eyes wide open. How lucky are your girls to have a real life super hero for a mom? You and your husband are so fortunate to have each other, and to be able to find humor in the heaviest of situations. That makes a world of difference. Keep kicking ass. You are in my prayers. Oh, and thank you God for awesome doctors!

  12. You do rock. Were you like this before, or did this crisis solidify something in you? I’d love to have that resolve toward optimism just in the everyday variety of crap.

  13. I am one of those complete and total “strangers” and I am WITH YOU!!! Lots of prayers coming to you from west Texas.

  14. Christin /

    The church called: They want to add this blog into the Cannon.

  15. Bethany D /

    I found your blog through Momastery and I LOVE your paragraph about being a craptastic situation. I think I’m going to share that on Facebook and let other people know about you so that they can all pray too. I was in a bad car accident in college and I believe in the power of prayer. I pray that God will hold you in God’s arms and that you feel comforted and strengthened.
    – A prayer warrior in Marietta (Atlanta) GA

  16. Kristin /

    I found you through Momastery too. I read your blog every day now. Keep on keepin’ on! Some crafty person needs to make you a superhero cape in your favorite colors, and one for Maren too. Really.

  17. Hi.
    I found you through momastery and I love the craptastic paragraph. That really is a great way to describe a situation that you have no choice but to deal with. I am going through my own “craptastic” situation right now and I understand everything in that paragraph. Although I am not as brave as you to let so many people in. I hide behind everything and don’t let anyone know what’s going on in my life, because sometimes I feel if I stop and really take in what Im going through, I would paralyze myself. So instead, I charge on and through and go about my life and do what I need to do to get through my “crap”. I give you so much credit for sharing your story. You will be in my prayers every day!!!

  18. Jen, you ROCK! I never thought a post about cancer could make me smile so much. Maybe because it isn’t about the cancer at all. Smile smile smile!

  19. Prayers & Peace 🙂

  20. You rock!

  21. Julie /

    Me again… The one making ALL the comments today, cause I found you on Momastery late… Having it confirmed in all the updates from today, that you must know by now you are something of a modern day hero, and I think the cape will look AWESOME with the yoga pants and nice sock attire! I realized just now I was developing a bit of a hero worship complex, and have quickly (based on another sound and poignant post) decided to redirect that worship to our Maker for being pretty badass himself when he made you! Nice work God…. Yet another Masterpiece… Well done!

  22. Jen ~ Continued Prayers that you stay strong & beat this nasty cancer ~ Prayers for your doctors, that they have given you the best treatment & Prayers for your Families ~ It sounds like you have a strong team & much love of family/friends 🙂 Thank you for sharing Your Journey ~ Peace be with you, Marlayne 🙂


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