Down Under

Jul 24

I’ve mentioned here before that my mom is Australian.  Her whole side of the family lives Down Under.  My grandmother, four sets of aunts and uncles, and eight cousins live there.  Brad and I got married in 2003, but our wedding “season” wasn’t over for another eighteen months, because that was when we went to Australia together so that he could meet the rest of the family.

There are a lot of miles between us, but no distance at all.  We are a close family.

For the past several years, I have been saving money.  Steadily, hopefully, patiently.  It’s important to me that my girls feel the connection to our Australian family the way that I do.  My parents worked really, really hard to allow us to know the Aussie family and travel there.  All of the Aussies have likewise made trips here, also.  It is important to me that Maren and Greta know the family, the love, that is on the other side of the world.  There are a whole bunch of crazy-awesome people over there who love us fiercely.

We are supposed to be there, in Australia, right now.  I used the hard-saved money and I booked flights in January so that Greta could meet her great-grandmother.

I haven’t allowed cancer to take much away from me.  One thing that did get taken away with my diagnosis, though, is our trip to Australia.  I had to cancel airplane tickets because I got cancer, and I have to stay here while I am undergoing treatment.  It is a kick in the gut.  It’s not just me: it’s a kick for everyone who was anticipating our visit.  It’s like canceling the really big Christmas that only happens once every few years when everyone is together.

Honestly?  The whole cancelled-trip-to-Australia thing is painful.  I’m really, really sad for me, for Maren and Greta, and for my grandmother and all our relatives there.  It’s not about the exotic and wonderful country, or sight-seeing, or vacation.  It’s the family and laughter and togetherness.  We just happen to have to travel thousands of miles to get it.

I am hopeful that I will get to plan another trip.  I am good at being patient, and at saving, and at loving across the miles.  But.  I am still sad.

Instead of being in Australia, tomorrow is chemo day.  Since cancer is what is standing between me and Australia and the rest of my life (literally!), there is no place I would rather be tomorrow than in the Chemo Room.  I’m getting busy killing cancer so I can  get on with the rest of my life!  I have things to do and places to go and people to love.

Tomorrow is Chemo #14 of 16.  We are nearing the end of the treatment cycle, and I admit I have both a “yay” and a “yikes” feeling about it.  I am looking forward to getting some energy back and getting rid of the side effects, but I will also miss the security of knowing that the cancer is being ravaged by chemo drugs.

Here’s how you can pray for me tomorrow:

-For obliteration of the cancer/tumor(s)

-For rest, as the side effect of fatigue/exhaustion is intense

-For my toe(s); I’ve been fighting an infection

-For the conversations I will have in the oncology office and chemo room

-For my mom, who should be in Australia with us, but who is recovering from her surgery instead.  And for the rest of my relatives who have been so supportive.

Thank you for your prayers and for linking arms with me!  I’ll be reading comments and emails tomorrow in the Chemo Room.



  1. Dave Schreier /

    I will be praying for your request throughout the day tomorrow! Praying the big scary prayers for you. Lots of love from the Schreiers.

  2. Keep your eye on the prize – a future trip to Australia cancer-free!

  3. Jane Powell /

    Hey Jen, I’ve been excited because our boys – your cousins – are due home for a holiday. Alexander arrived yesterday (Perth – Bali – Brisbane) & William is coming home on Saturday. (Perth – Brisbane) This morning Alexander said to me ‘ it’s great to be here; the only thing missing is Jen’. Because of course, you were the original catalyst to bring us all together this month. Cancer schmancer! But hey – you’ll be the catalyst for another reunion, when you have your health back.
    Auntie Jane xx

  4. sharon /

    We’ve never met but you’ve touched me in ways you’ll never know! I’m praying for these last few chemo days to go quickly, along with the side effects.

  5. jen geverdt /

    Remembering how it feels to be near “the end” of chemo and treatment. It is definitely a bittersweet thing. You have been such an example of steadfastness and courage throughout this whole thing, God is truly using you to give strength to others. Yours is a beautiful life. On a practical note, please let us know if you need more food!!!

  6. Ginger /

    That trip will happen soon! I promise! Kick some butt tomorrow at chemo!!!

  7. Elaine /

    I’m also sending you love and healing thoughts every day from Australia….x
    (Maroochydore, just north of Brisbane in queensland)

    • Sandy Powell /

      I don’t know if anyone else has replied to your comment, or if you know any of the family, but Maroochydore/Cotton Tree/Mooloolaba is the usual gathering place when we’re all together. Thanks so much for your support.

  8. suenitz /

    Hello beautiful lady! I woke up and had an unsettling feeling. I think God wanted me to come down and read your blog so I could start right now praying for you. So I am going to go upstairs and pray myself back to sleep for you and I will wake up and start my day praying for you and will continue throughout the day. Keep searching for the blessings and know that God needs you too to be His vessel. Let Him take the wheel and when you feel yourself going down close your eyes and feel the love. Like you said there is no distance in love and it is coming from all around you.

    Christ be with me, Christ within me,
    Christ behind me, Christ before me,
    Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
    Christ to comfort and restore me,
    Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
    Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
    Christ in hearts of all that love me,
    Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

    I love you too.

  9. Angela Johnson /

    Obliteration!! Toes!! Rest!! And prayers for your friends in the Chemo Room, and their families, and obliteration for their cancers, and for the nurses and staff caring for you. Blessing everyone associated with that Chemo Room!! Praying for another trip to Australia in God’s perfect timing. Prayers for the Rozzinator. And let’s throw in some hugs from MIchigan. 🙂 God Bless you all.

  10. Peggy /

    You may just be getting prayers from a lot of folks here in Florida. I volunteer at the Moffitt Cancer Center (in the infusion department) and have told many patients about your wonderful blog. One night about 6 of the nurses spent their “down” time catching up with your life! You might already have surmised this, but onocology nurses sometimes lock themselves in the restroom so they can pray for their patients. I’ll just bet you’ll be having that wonderful Aussie reunion ~ cancer free ~ sooner than you think. Better start packing!

  11. Peggy Hyland /

    Praying for you today and thanking God in advance for all the answered prayers and Blessings He has for You!!!

  12. jen powers /

    Isaiah 40:29 – He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Praying this over you today and for some serious o.b.l.i.t.e.r.a.t.i.o.n. 🙂 Imagining every drop of chemo with boxing gloves on it taking out every last morsel of cancer. Praying for some series cancer throw down!

  13. It seems there are healing prayers from all over the world helping to gently guide you towards your cancer-free future and a grand reunion with your family in Australia to celebrate it!! I’m adding my prayers for that and today’s special requests from South Florida.
    xo, Cyndi

  14. Jen, others have already so eloquently expressed the same thoughts, feelings, and prayers that are in my heart for you so pack them inside you and hold onto the love today. When you and your mom finally do set foot on Aussie soil, the celebration will be HUGE as your family cheer on the victors you will be.

  15. Sheila Los /

    Tumor obliteration vibes being sent your way! Your outlook and positive spin on all of what you endure amazes and inspires me. As crazy as it sounds I feel like it actually empowers me in my own life as a wife and mother. Sending my prayers to both you and the Rozzinator today. Australia will one day seem all the more sweeter when you get there together without cancer!

  16. I have been thinking about our trip – because as you know the calendar gets colored, destinations are highlighted, anticipation of jet lag days, wish lists written. Now, as I look at my calender, I look at those colored lines and wish lists AND LEFT THEM THERE. I did not white them out. Chemo is written in a small C on today, OR is written on 7/17 and 8/30 – this is a minor blip that we will conquer. On the funny side, can you imagine getting Greta through custom’s? Talk about needing a harness!!!
    “My peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you” We will do this one day – we will get through this and be drinking cups of tea on the back porch watching the girls interact with their Aussie family.
    Gentle Hugs

  17. Continuing to pray for you, your Mom, and your entire family. Your strength and fortitude are amazing and, though I don’t even know you, I stand in awe of what a phenomenal woman, mother, wife, and daughter you are. Blessings to you and your family!

  18. Jamie /

    I’m sad for you and your lost trip to Australia. That would be so hard. I’m praying for a future trip filled with family and fun and peace and comfort in the meantime. And for a good day of chemo today.

  19. Done!

  20. Happy Cancer Killing Chemo Day! As you sit and fight the fight and share your glorious spirit with those that are with you today, know that YOU WILL be Down Under, YOU WILL introduce the girls to that part of your family, YOU WILL enjoy tea with your Mum on the back porch, YOU WILL win this battle. Because I’m praying. And so many others are praying. And your amazing doctors are fighting. And the anticipation of the vacation is almost as good as the vacation itself. So put a star on the calendar in pencil… pick a date to aim for and start planning the “recovered from cancer” trip for you and your mom!

  21. Shaking my fist at cancer all the way from Napoli. xoxo

  22. Jen – just wanted to let you know that I read every one of your blog posts (and your mum’s) and continue to cheer for you from the west coast. I hope that you’re having lots of Vegemite and Cheery Ripes to tide you over to your future trip to Australia.

    • Oops …that was meant to be “Cherry” – though I suppose they are cheery 🙂

  23. Loving on you from afar. Praying specifically for obliteration!

  24. Julie Tomaszewski /


    I remember meeting your Australian side of the family last year around Christmas. I remember takIng pictures in front of the Christmas tree. The class had on their Holiday shirts! I could feel the extreme love & closeness you all felt for each other. I remember asking you how in the heck do you have all that family over there. What a blessing! Much love to you and your wonderful family …. Here and abroad

  25. Helwagens /

    We love you and Jen and are always thinking and praying for you and your mom.

  26. Rieke /

    I don’t even remember how I learned about your Blog but it has touched me DEEPLY. I am 31 and have two little daughters as well and I cannot express how much respect I have for you. I have NEVER “known” a person with more dignity.I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be praying for you here in Berlin, Germany.

  27. Carrie /

    Praying, wishing, hoping! Here’s to killing the cancer! Hugs from Central Ohio.

  28. Sandi /

    Jen, I’ve been praying for you for months now but haven’t ever left a comment. You are such an inspiration and example of living each day knowing that our loving God is caring for you. “Perfect love castest out all fear.” I will be praying for you tomorrow and for the days to come. Bless you, my dear.

  29. Jen ~ I so hope your Cancer beat you up day was giving you a picture of the Future Assie Trip 🙂 I didn’t read yesrterday as I was having a celebration with our 10 year old Granddaughter ~ I so love being a Grandmother ” Mammy ” When you write about your sweet children playing I smile so large 🙂 You and your Mother will have years to play with your children. ……….and tell Aussie stories. Continued Prayers & Peace ~ Marlayne 🙂

  30. Brett G /

    Hi Jen & Family, we’re looking forward to your visit in the future – my Settlers skills are coming along nicely in preparation! I know how much the trip over there meant to Elo and I, so can’t wait to repay the favour.

  31. Praying for you from Morocco! One advantage I have is being 4 hours ahead of you, so I can take the early shift. But I’ll be praying throughout the day as well. : )

    “The LORD gives strength to His people;
       the LORD blesses His people with peace. ” Psalm 29:11
    May you know His strength and His peace today.