The Cliff

Apr 13

It’s like I’m on the edge of the cliff.

I’m teetering and I know that I’m going over the edge, it’s just a matter of time.

Luckily, I know that I also have a rope and harness so it’s a safe fall.

I’m not falling, I’m repelling.  This is a calculated, measured, controlled fall.  Physiologically, my brain tells me: I am safe.

But it’s still a fall over a cliff and I have to deal with the fear (pain) that comes with it.

Exhilaration is part of the equation too.  It’s exhilarating to have the chance to conquer fear, to do something hard that will make me stronger (healthier).

So, that is what I’m feeling.  I’m on the edge of the cliff anticipating both the thrill of dying cancer cells and the ache as the rest of my body absorbs the aftermath.

I can do this.  I’m a competitor, I visualize, I pray, I train.  I’m prepared for this.  Game on.


Thank you for your words yesterday.  It was fun getting lots of comments and messages.  My brain cannot understand it, but my heart says I don’t need to understand it, I just need to feel it.  And I do.  So thank you.

Friends that are here “in real life” have said:

“Okay, see you when you surface.”

“Good luck, I won’t bother you.”

“Maybe I’ll see you next week.”

And I say in return, “NO.  Bother me, please.”

Or, “No!”  Somewhat frantically, “Call me!  I don’t want to miss more than I already am!”

So I say that to all: there is no such thing as over-loving.  On me or on anyone.  And, the cool thing for me is: I get a lot of grace these days.  Having cancer means no one gets mad at me.  I feel a peace that I don’t have to answer, so I don’t feel stress or pressure, I just feel connected.  While I can’t possible respond to the calls, messages, texts and comments, I feel love from every. single. one.  Loneliness is not really an element that I would like to add into my cancer experience.  I’ll be looking up, tuning in, and enjoying the view as much as possible.  So, let me still be me while I’m navigating my cliff, ‘kay?


  1. I have been reading and praying daily, usually during middle-of-the-night nursing.. Your approach to this cliff is remarkable and causes me to think much. Thank you for allowing others in! May God be glorified in your journey’

  2. Sue Nitz /

    Jen, your powerful testimony to life is wonderful! God has a wonderful plan for you. Looking at the good in everything is like seeing Him in everything and everywhere! He loves you so much! Isn’t it amazing how the flowers look brighter and the sky bluer? Much love and many prayers to you.

  3. Julie T /

    Oh how I look foward to your messages…every single one. It helps somehow keep a balance in my own life and brings me peace…thank you for that. I have used the cliff analogy more than once in my lifetime…count me in on as part of your safety net. Love to you X4.

  4. Thanks so much for letting us know how we can be here for you! Many prayers for you:)

  5. Lisa Smith /

    I love you.

  6. jen geverdt /

    Jen, there’s a poem from a little book a friend gave me, called The Stream and The Sapphire by Denise Levertov. This poem is called Suspended and though you seem to be feeling many embraces, it really spoke to me when I was doing what you’re doing:

    I had grasped God’s garment in the void
    but my hand slipped
    on the rich silk of it.
    The ‘everlasting arms’ my sister loved to remember
    must have upheld my leaden weight
    from falling, even so,
    for though I claw at empty air and feel
    nothing, no embrace,
    I have not plummeted.

  7. Sharon Wall /

    Love and prayers coming from Texas!

  8. Kelly /

    Oh my….I think you are pure grace with or without cancer. I know there can or should be no reason or explanation for cancer. But please know that I am living a better life because of you. And others are too, friends, relatives, and neighbors. But also strangers, people you have never met are changing their lives, doing things different, living it better. I/we want to make this stupid dying cancer mean something, have been “worth it”. I’m not waiting for cancer to live my life better, and I/we are on the ledge with you!

  9. As someone that is completely afraid of heights (I wouldn’t even ride up in the Sears Tower elevator:))…your cliff analogy scares the living crap out of me:)! However, I am sure that is exactly how you feel and I love how you are channeling it! I don’t know you- but I am in it with you. Maybe it is the kindred spirit of another ‘Jen’, maybe it is my mother’s story as a 6-year old watching her mom battle ovarian cancer, maybe it is I was in the room when my dad got his cancer diagnosis and never knew before how completely devestating that feels (btw–he is 100% fine now 2 years later). So–I will keep cheering and praying. Besides- I love your writing. good luck.

  10. What a wonderful image of held in a harness, holding on to a rope. I am going to keep that in mind.
    And thanks for the update. Enjoy today. It’s “Good to be Alive” [great song by Jason Gray].

  11. Jacqueline /

    I was led to your blog by Glennon and have been following your journey and praying since then, usually while nursing my son (how funny that another commenter, cori, also follows you while nursing!), which makes it hard to comment. I sometimes like to think prayers over a nursing baby have a direct path to the Big Guy. I often don’t know what to pray, and sometimes think specific prayers are too presumptuous…how can I know what I need from God? So I usually pray, “God? Thank you! Please help.” And that is how I’ve been praying for you these past few weeks. Thank you, God, for bringing this beautiful, insightful person into my virtual world, and please help her in whatever way you think she needs.

  12. Julie /

    Prayers are headed your way, everyday, from us -Julie and baby (okay so the baby mostly just listens to me as we pray)

  13. Just another stranger thinking about you today.

  14. Jen, I’m another virtual stranger (or is that virtual friend?) who is praying for you. I’m not a rock climber, but I just looked up rappelling and the analogies are fabulous. The more complicated the course, the more specialized the techniques and the equipment. There is a belay system, involving other people, that keeps you safe.
    We are honored that you choose to share this adventure with us and privileged to pray for you.

  15. Bonniebj /

    Jen, I hesitate to think how many times the Lord has carried us, been our harness, been our strength, our hope and the very air we breathe. We are with you every step of the way on this climb. Such a blessing being with you today….by the way. you look mahvelous 😉

  16. What a great analogy! We are keeping you in our prayers and now we have a nice visual to imagine for you. May God always bless you and your family.

  17. Cyndi /

    I am visualizing you as leaping into the unknown with a new found ability to soar through the skies…and you’re loving your brave self. Fly, Jen, fly!!

  18. Michele /

    Sweet Jen,

    I look forward every day to catching up with you here. But in print – and to the eyes of a Mom with honorary “sisters” close to your age – that feels somewhat ill-worded.

    Jen, you were the very fist baby I had the great pleasure of meeting. That was during one of your parents famed lake parties. I had an awful migraine and your Mom was nursing, so we three hung out together. Of course, you were our free, painless entertainment. Well I wasn’t feeling so great, but I swear, it had nothing to do with peach schnapps. Apparently that was the flavor chosen that year. Perhaps if they had access to Fizzy-Bubbly back then, in may have been palatable. Just a thought.

    As you were saying in an earlier post about Maren’s intense, thoughtful gaze…well, that’s what I found so very interesting about you during that first meeting. Such a brand new little life to the world, maybe 6-9 months or so. Such intensity and yes, looking beyond my face to what, I had no clue.

    I feel rather small and inadequate to say this next bit, but rest assured that it comes from my heart. I feel that through your writings, you are helping us, your ever-expanding circle of supporters. That feels wrong to me….it should be the other way around!

    I’m so greatly in awe of your fabulous attitude. Good girl. Hold tight and don’t let go if you feel that cliff becomes larger. Look to the beauty above, because there’s much to behold at such a lofty place!

    At the end of all this, you return to your most fulfilling task, that being times around your kitchen table with Maren & Greta & playdoh, stickers and glitter (yes…ooolala)!

    Hugs & Kisses across the miles,

  19. Bethany Bohmer /

    Hi Jen, I’ve been reading (and loving) your blog. Katie gives me updates too. I haven’t written because I didn’t want to be a bother. Then I ready your blog today, and here I am, ready to bother you 🙂 My family is praying for you and yours. A friend of mine was about your age, also with two young children, when she first got breast cancer. She had it a total of 3 times. She’s in her late 50s now, and has been cancer free for years and years. This will be you. I am certain of it. She is praying for you. I wanted to share her story to add to your amazingly wonderful positive attitude. I asked her what she thinks is key with fighting this, and she said the most important thing is having a positive attitude. So hopefully this gives you comfort in knowing that you’re doing everything right, and as a positive side effect, humbling those around you. We are all with you.

  20. I think about what you say all the time. And when I think of you, I say a prayer. I feel like your words help me keep perspective on things in my own life. Thank you. Keep fighting! Always in my prayers…

  21. God bless you! You will remain in my prayers, Jen. My name is Ann – – – – – – please know that I am praying for you.

  22. aimeewrites /

    I don’t comment regularly, but I think of you daily. I will endeavor to “bug” you more often with love and happy thoughts. I am sending healing vibes your way, remembering the drawings my sister and I drew of the chemo attacking the cancer cells for my mom nearly thirty years ago. I think I’ll spend some time with my kids’ crayons later today and make a few more of those drawings.

  23. I’m still here, as you stand at the edge, praying that your journey remains a safe and healing one.