Apr 27

I’m here.  I’m chock full of anti-nausea meds, steroids, antibiotics, painkillers, and chemo drugs.  Seriously, praise the Lord for modern medicine; I shudder to think of my situation if these interventions and treatments did not exist.  The side effects, mostly feeling like I have the flu, are totally tolerable.  I’m told medicines that control chemo side effects have come a looong way in the last decade.  A big part of my tolerance comes, I think, because unlike the real flu, we knew it was coming.  We are fortunate to be able to send M & G to our favorite Phenom’s house today.  My husband is loving me big with that gift.  I am sitting in my bed, alone.  (Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but it’s actually relaxing and good for my soul.)  Pre-cancer, my mommy sick days were few and far between.  Thankfully, I do not have to drag myself around the house doing the mundane, striving to be Fun Mommy.  Today, I am weak.  And that’s okay.  I get to rest.  I think about how blessed I am and I center my heart.

I’m learning my attitude on chemo days is not exactly what my family, nurses, and friends expect to be.  I get a lot of:

Shaking heads and sad face.

“I’m so sad you have to do this.”

“It’s hard to watch you go through chemo.”

“Keep your chin up.”

I appreciate all those sentiments (I really do, I get it), but it’s not at all how I feel about chemo.  What’s weird to me is that I *love* chemo days.  I’m bubbly in the oncology office; I brought a bouquet of Thirty-One key fobs (gifted to me by a sweet friend) with thank-you notes for the fabulous nurses in the office.  It’s a way to offer a small thanks for their career choice in oncology and their weekly kindnesses to me.  Think about that.  I have a euphoric high knowing that there are some heavy duty toxic chemicals racing around devouring my cancer.  Can you read that and not grin?  Because I’m grinning.

“Stay strong.”

“Go chemo go!”

“Jesus, help the chemo to spare the healthy cells.”

“I’m praying for you.”

“You touched me and here’s a piece of my story:…”

Those are the messages whose authors I’d like to give a high-five.  It feels like they are on my team–our team.  It is the messages that sustain my euphoria and blessing of the Lord that I feel happy.

I find myself so very, very thankful today for all those who have gone before so that my treatment is working.  So today, I rest with a grateful heart.  Enjoy your day, too.


  1. My mom use to face chemo with the same attitude. I hesitate to share this because I lost my mom and I don’t think you need to read about that when you are fighting this beast but what you wrote really resonated. Three days before we lost her my mom sat in her hospital bed, requested another dose of chemo and said “I’m never going to stop fighting.” Seeing her willing take that poison when she was already so frail and went through so much was a life lesson for me. The human soul wants to keep fighting.

    You got it right. Go chemo go! Get those ugly cancer cells. Do your job! Heal!

  2. What a beautiful way to look at chemo. And I am so grateful that we HAVE chemo so that people like my father,my friend and you are able to fight the cancer and be with those they love… You sound like a beautiful, roaring lion. Fight, girl.

  3. Marsha Vonderwish /

    Oh Jen, I love your attitude! And I understand attitude is a choice. I too, over a decade ago, had a positive attitude when getting chemo and it made a BIG difference. I also was not shy about telling other patients and nurses that I was praying for them as the nurse was trying to get a vein. God is using you! Keeping you in my prayers.

  4. Ashley /

    I continue to be amazed by you! Keep it up! You’re doing great (and so are your kids, by the way)! Still praying…

    ~Ashley in Louisiana

  5. Still sending prayers!! My dad has been cancer free for 2 years after being diagnosed with two different types of cancer. He had a big scare this week which he kept to himself and my mom so as not to worry us kids. He called with the fantastic news: bladder stones. No detectable cancer anywhere on the CT scan. The blood in the urine was not a third type of cancer or mestastis (sp?). Yes-we were laughing and cheering at the good news that he has ‘bladder stones’! That fact that he would to have a laser put him his ‘weiner’ to dissolve the stones:) was fantasic news and something to joke about—esp compared to the alternative. Keep fighting, keep praying, keep loving! Your attitude is terrific and you are surrounded by love. That is a winning recipe!!

  6. Carli /

    I love your thoughts about chemo. I am praying that your chemo is beating the snot out of those cancer cells and that it will leave behind only your very strongest cells.

    We love you!

  7. Sue Nitz /

    Hi Jen. Again I am in awe of you! Your spirit is reaching out to so many people all over the world. A little piece of your spirit will remain in their hearts forever. Perhaps it will bring them strength when they need it or a smile at a vision you have given them (like the burp cloth over your head. That was funny!) Or hope. It is just another one of the good things that is coming out of this.

    Romans 8:28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

    Blessings and peace to you as you rest today and in the coming days. I will be thanking God for prayers answered and for you.

  8. Rest. Sometimes the hardest part of a process. Seems especially challenging for us moms to surrender to real rest. It seems most of us tend to minimize the value of or rather the essential need for Rest. So, I am happy to read your post this afternoon and I am resting in your rest today! 🙂
    Jen, you are rockin’ this cancer thing and I just grin when I think about you and how ferociously graceful you have been from day one. God’s amazing and His light is so very bright in you. No more blogging–take a nap! 🙂

  9. Karen Kendrick /

    FINALLY. After exactly ten years, I have finally stumbled across someone who is as excited and hopeful and happy as I was (and still am!). I didn’t choose my attitude, it chose me. It welled up out of myself and carried me along with it. No kidding. And boy, the deep conversations with other patients. Serious insight to be gained in the chemo lounge and the radiation waiting room – Some you keep and some you reject. Only you decide what applies to you. And something else: NO ONE will tell you ahead of time how delicious it feels to be bald on a cool pillow. Or to stick your head out the car window while you’re driving (I know, I know).

  10. I totally identify with the giddy feeling. The last time I went in to labor, I was literally giggling with ever contraction. I specifically remember saying to my husband, “it hurts!” and then bursting out with the giggles.

    I know – labor is not the same as chemo…

    Maybe it’s kinda like a song we sing in church: Did you hear the mountains tremble? There’s a line that talks about “dancers who dance upon injustice”. When we sing that, I always have a visual of dancers trampling the chains of injustice – cancer is one of this world’s injustices.
    I’ll be one of your dancers – laughing and dancing all over those cancer cells for you.

  11. GO CHEMO GO!!!

  12. Shell Powell /

    You go girl, so proud of you honey xxx

  13. Michelle /

    They way I look at it, those days when your body says “lay down, please rest”, it means your body is using all it’s focus and energy for THE FIGHT. So, take comfort that while you sleep and rest, your body is fighting as hard as ever on the task at hand! While you sleep, let the cancer cells shrivel up and dissolve! So, take a nap, and when you wake…celebrate the fact that you’ve just aided your body in healing!

  14. Bonniebj /

    Rest on Jen, we’ve always known that our bodies heal in our sleep….and rejuvenate themselves. You just happen to have a planned program of attack for some major rest these days. Praying the drugs do their work BIG TIME..sleep right.

  15. laura s. /

    Just another stranger praying for you daily! I love your updates. I think about you throughout the day sometimes and just ask God to give you whatever He knows that you need. I pray also for your husband and two sweet girls. God is so faithful! Much love from a sister in Christ!

  16. Cyndi /

    Dear God,
    Thank you for bringing Jen into my life. Her awesome attitude and warrior spirit truly inspire me! My heart is so, so grateful!

  17. Found you via Momastery. You are going to kick cancer’s ass, I can just tell from the spark in your writing. Praying for you. xoxo

  18. Sarah Steen /

    You are amazing. Attitude is everything, especially when it comes to cancer. Kick. Cancer’s. Booty.

  19. Kristi Thomsen /

    You are amazing! Truly amazing!

  20. X0X0X0X

  21. Chemo is a beautiful poison. And my prayer is while you are resting at home, that your girls are giggling, and that the cancer cells are shrinking and disappearing. I see it happening right now.
    We believe in an amazing God of healing and miracles. And you are going to be one of His people who will be able to speak and praise Him to others about His endless grace and mercy.

  22. Jeff Potts /

    Great attitude kid! kick butt!!

  23. Tina Mathie /

    Hey Jen, Chemo is kicking cancer’s a$$ and prayers, strong thoughts, friendship and love are keeping your good cells strong and helping them heal!!! I love to hear about your bald head stories, you are hilarious! I think about you often and pray for healing and strength for you Brad and the girls too. Much Love and hugs! XoXoX

  24. May I recommend the most wonderful devotional book called Jesus Caling – Enjoying Peace in His Presence. It only takes about 2 minutes to read everyday. My husband and I both read it and there is a kid version too that we have ordered. Best encouraging devotional I’ve ever read.
    Hope you are resting well.

  25. Tracy /

    I stumbled upon your blog this morning, I followed a link from another blog that I read frequently and read “Day 1”; I just finished reading you’re last entry. I think your blog hit home in my heart because I am a nurse and sometimes I think we forget how much the tone in our voices, the look on our faces, and the attitude in our touch can affect our patients – both in good and bad ways. You are an inspiration and people like you (compliant, kind, hopeful, grateful, loving, happy) remind me why I chose the profession that I did. Thank you for reminding me of that! I will celebrate and join in uncoordinated happy dances with you! And pray for you often!

  26. Lacie /

    You are amazing. Our God is amazing. Cancer is not. That is cool. Amazing wins every time. I love the story you are sharing – the cancer part isn’t a fun story, but your cancer story is one of the faith that can only live through Christ and THAT IS THE STORY we should all be sharing. And the other parts – they ARE fun. And they are His story too – because they are the parts that remind us all of our humaneness and His Godliness. I love your honesty and your positive attitude. I will keep praying and praying and praying. Praying for Greta to keep gaining confidence (I have a little boy who was a lot like her when he was her age – and he has blossomed and grown in ways I could only have hoped for when he was littler), and Maren to keep sharing her perspective with you (isn’t it amazing what little ones see that we miss?), and for your incredible husband to keep being incredible (I have one like that – I HATE ironing, just like you hate doing floors – and he does it – ALL of it) in all the ways that he is. And praying that GOD kicks this thing for you. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. Thank you for trusting us with it. Thank you for trusting us to help you through it.

  27. Way to kick some butt Jen! Keep up the great attitude.

  28. A Monkee in Buffalo /

    I just wanted you to know that I talked about you the other night at work. Can’t get into details (I’m a nurse… stupid HIPPA)… but a patient was in for a pretty major surgery and their spouse had just been diagnosed with breast cancer 2 days earlier. They were still stunned, but very matter of fact. They have two tween children. I suggested they check out your blog because I am in awe of your perspective on all of it… on life.

    Go, Chemo – GOOOOOOO!!! (Can we sing this to the Go Diego theme song, or is that too much? I could probably make up other verses 😉 )

    Holding you close to my heart tonight, and every night…

    • A Monkee in Buffalo /

      I can’t resist at least the first lines:

      Deep inside Jen’s body where the cancer cells may be
      Coming to the rescue is a very special remedy
      Busting through the cancer cells and going down the line
      This rough and tough toxic healer is working overtime
      Go Chemo! Go Chemo Go!

      • Aussie Sarah /

        Hilarious, as I am reading this my littlest guy is watching Diego so I have the Diego music in the background! Perfect timing!

        Go chemo go!

  29. Rebecca /

    I hope you don’t mind, A Monkee in Buffalo, but I’m going to borrow your words (love them!). Go Chemo! Go Chemo Go!

  30. chubbyroad2skinny /

    I tell ya, you have the best darned attitude! This is why you are going to be this thing (and your faith of course)! You rock!

  31. Melissa /

    Hi Jen – I have been following your blog for a month now – through…. you are such an inspiration — truly amazing! Just wanted to let you know that you have another mom of 2 little girls on your team – cheering you on and praying for you! YOU CAN DO IT – Go Chemo! God bless you — always remember that you are a loved child of the KING! 🙂