Pinch Me

Sep 08

Pinch Me

Three-quarters of the way through our appointment with Dr. Wonderful, this is what he had to say:

“The medical term for where you are right now is No Evidence of Disease (NED); there is no measurable cancer in your body.”

My eyes fill up involuntarily as I shoot a shocked glance at Brad.  I’m familiar with the NED terminology, and I don’t know if he knows what it means.  I turn back to Dr. Wonderful to listen to him as he continues:

“Patients tend to prefer the term,” here he lifts his hands and does air quotes, “cancer free.”  He continues, “Medically, cancer free,” more air quotes, “is not a term that we use, but you can use it if you want to.”

Brad and look at each other, speechless, and grin as the room starts to spin.

This is good.

I have no cancer in me now.

I am free.

My prayers, our prayers, were answered.  God is my healer.


I prayed expectantly, hopefully, so why am I surprised that my prayers were answered?

I’m human.  I’m broken.  I’m in awe of the miracles (literally) that have brought me to this day.  This cancer free day.  (See?  I have to remind myself.  Constantly.)  I had cancer.  Past tense.  I am humbled.  I’ve been trying to soak it in, to feel it.  We are stunned.  Stunned in a good way, but stunned is the word.  I’m the girl whose cancer doctors cried when studying her cancer during week one; I don’t believe it can get much worse than tearful cancer doctors. Now, the winds have shifted; we have been pedaling furiously to defeat a monster, and now we are at the strategy table plotting, planning a calculated long-term plan.

I would frolic, but I am still severely restricted in my movement following surgery.  I’m working on soaking it in and leaving a trail of actual sparkles wherever I go.

I’ll never be the same Jen again.  But I believe I will again be a normal, strong, joyful, faithful wife and mama.  And that, my friends, is why you need to pinch me.  There are not words to express my joy, and my relief, at this prospect.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  –Psalm 18:2

Photo Credit: Carolyn Bowles Photography, March 2012.


  1. I am so happy for you!!!

  2. Rita O'Brien /

    That is awesome news and a big pinch from me. So, so happy for you to have your life back.

  3. I have found your journey inspiring and kick arse courageous. I’m so happy for you all….

  4. Iron Diva. Incredibly wonderful news!

  5. Jen, you do not know me…but I’ve been reading your blog for months. I”ve never commented before, but I have prayed for you and your family many, many times. I just wanted to comment today to say how very happy I was to read your update today and to say that your faith in God has renewed my own…when I didn’t think it needed renewing. May God continue to bless you and keep your family in his ever loving care. And I will continue to keep your family in my prayers LONG after this very happy NED day…I kind of wish I knew you in real life….I know we’d be friends 🙂 You have inspired my daily living…

  6. No words! Just tears of joy! I hope people can see me “sparkle” all day while going about my business because I will be celebrating inside for you. Surely it will escape in a rainbow of joyous colors!

  7. walking girl /

    And my eyes fill with tears as I read this. PRAISE GOD!

  8. All Glory to God! So happy for you and your family. Jen, you are an amazing, courageous, faithful woman. You will never know how sharing your journey has helped so many of us with ours. I truly feel honored having been led to your blog and having the privilege of sharing your story and your prayer life. You really did rock these past months! Seeing your photo today was perfectly timed. You are beautiful inside and out. I am celebrating with you today!

  9. Wow… how wonderful and awesome is our God!! I am so happy for you!! Rejoicing with you and giving thanks for you and your health!!

  10. Dave Schreier /

    Praise God! Thankful for a God who hears are prayers! Much love from the Schreier’s.

  11. Such amazing, wonderful news! So very happy for you and your family!

  12. Fantastic! God is good! You are an amazing, courageous and beautiful woman. Prayer is powerful and you are a testimony, thank you for sharing your journey, you touched so many.

    Continued blessings for you and your family!

    Danette, California

  13. suenitz /

    Oh Jen! I am praising God with you! What you have experienced this past year goes beyond what it takes some people a lifetime to learn. You were already amazing, now you are amazing with “sparkles.”. You have touched so many and are going to touch so many more. What was so awful was made beautiful through you. Your journey is through life will lead you to heaven where you will meet God face to face and be able to thank Him for allowing you to experience His love in such a special way. The cancer is gone and has been replaced by faith, hope and love. You have a lot of living to do and God has big plans for you.

    Jeremiah 11-14  For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

  14. Here’s a pinch from Moffet, Quebec!! You may not be able to dance too much so soon after surgery, but Dale and I are doing the happy dance at camp!! Sending our love and gentle hugs from afar, Lauri

  15. Goose bumps and can see your sparkles from here…we are thrilled to say the least! Yes let’s use your terms…cancer free..such a lovely ring to it. Oh how I wish I could hug you. When I see you again at long last I might hug you and never let go 🙂

    Hugs over and over again
    Your warrior from the north

  16. So happy for you!!

  17. jen powers /

    David gave an update last week at church and asked me a bizillion times if he could say “cancer free”. I told him to share you had clean margins out of worry that you weren’t quite there yet…but PRAISE THE LORD OH MY SOUL…the day has come!! YAHOO!! We serve a big, awesome, making-beauty-out-of-ashes, healing God!! Happy dancing Can’t wait to *gently* hug you. 🙂

  18. That is amazing, so happy for you!

  19. When I saw this blog title, I knew. I am so happy for you! I’ve commented a few times to let you know I’ve been praying for you! Just a stranger in Texas who thinks you are a fabulous writer, and will continue to pray for you and your family as you celebrate this amazing news. God is so incredibly faithful. Your story has brought me to tears so many times and yet here you are, a true testament to God’s healing power and his abundant mercy. Your positivity and faith throughout this journey has been a true inspiration and you’re goal to Do Today Well is going to stick with me. Please keep writing and keep us posted on your this beautiful life! God bless you!

  20. Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow!!! Overjoyed to read this. It has been a privilege to pray along side you and to know your heart, though we have never met. I can almost see your “actual sparkles” from here. LOVE. High fives from Michigan!!!

  21. wooohooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We serve an awesome God!

  22. Glory to God! Praising Him with you!!

  23. Praise the Lord! I am so thankful for these wonderful news. Even though I don’ t know you personally I am SO TOUCHED by your journey.
    Honestly? You are one of the strongest and bravest woman I know and you (and your family) DESERVE THE B.E.S.T.!!!!!

  24. Shannon Kahrs /

    I am doing the skipping, hopping, cancer free dance for you today!!!! Sparkle on!!!! Love you!!!!

  25. Karen Almand /

    Finally a photo of you I can see clearly beautiful girl! Wow! Incredible! I’m adding you to my list of miracles I have witnessed. Beyond excited! Just prayed for you this morning on my run and then I read this. Savor this wonderful day and that you truly deserve. All Praise to our heavenly Father!

  26. Beautiful, Jen! Your story is JUST BEGINNING. God is good.

  27. SandraA /

    Praise the Lord! Thanks for sharing your journey and allowing us to witness this miracle.

  28. YES! This is what everyone has been praying for – I am thrilled to see the words and know it is real. May God continue to pour blessing on you and your family. Thanks again for sharing your faith-filled journey.

  29. Denise Eck /

    I would love to leave a meaningful statement here, but I can’t see or think through the tears right now!!

  30. amy wheeler /

    Read this while at Six Flags. My eyes welled up and people thought I was scared to ride BatMan. So thrilled to hear this. Great work, mama!! Will be screaming in a few minutes…for you!!!

  31. Hallelujah!!! Doing lots of the happy dance on your behalf in South Florida…and I think I will be spontaneously doing that multiple times more over the next few days. So, so, so happy for you and your family!

    I hope you will continue writing and sharing your life’s journey, because it feels like you are a true friend these days. Can’t help but love your family!!

    Sending you a gentle hug of celebration…

  32. Katie Q /

    Jen, we’ve never met, but I’m a friend of Bonnie Perry’s here in NYC. I just have to comment because I’m so happy for you!!! I’ve been following along with your blog–rooting for you all the way. I just got tears in my eyes reading this post. I would give you a huge high-five right now if I could! Congratulations on fighting the good fight.

  33. I found you through Momastary, a place where I can find words of inspiration, grace, and humility on a daily basis. I’ve found the same through following your journey. You are proof to me that no matter how much bad news/situations/circumstances can come your way, there is always hope and faith. Plus, being surrounded by a great support system can make such a difference and those are the kind of people I need to seek out and have in my own life! I’m so happy about your NED status and it brings me great peace and hope! Continued blessings you and your whole family!

  34. I’ve been following your blog from the beginning. Not sure how I even came across it…but I’m glad I did! This is my first comment and all I want to say is yes yes yes! Best to you and your family!

  35. Congratulations and happy NED day 🙂 Followed you since link from Momastery and have been praying for you. Keep on writing.

  36. Aussie Sarah /

    It is Sunday morning in Sydney and I have just finished opening presents with my 7 year old son, and then I read your news. Celebrating the birth of ones child brings magnificent joy, reading your news makes the celebrations even sweeter! Here’s to life, here’s to celebrating life, and here’s to celebrating the start of your new life with NED! Man I love NED, he is a GREAT guy!


  37. Love the photo! Wonderful news. Your faith and blog are an inspiration.

  38. I think I have only commented once before, a LONG time ago. I have been reading ever since Glenna posted directions to do so. I am so happy that you are FREE of cancer now. I have also been praying for you and your family. Wheeee! Good Riddance cancer!

  39. Michelle /

    You are our example for so many reasons. Your freedom is a cement salve for my shaky faith. God bless you and your precious family. Our prayers for your healing continue.

  40. Michelle Wolfe Clapsaddle /

    Wonderful news! The power of prayer and positivity is amazing. I tear up when reading your blog as it is so beautifully written. I find myself “saving” the post until I have just the right moment to pay it special, undivided attention. Relish in the joyful moments and take time to continue to fully recover.

  41. PRAISE THE LIVING LORD JEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM FROLICKING WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT HAPPY HAPPY NEWS!!!! I AM SO GRATEFUL!!!!!

    Thank you for including us all on your journey. Your transparency is phenomenally inspiring, spiritually awakening, emotionally sobering, beautifully gratifying, life-giving goodness. I am forever indebted to you for this bravery you have let us participate in.

    Thank you Jesus for healing my friend. I love you Jen.

  42. Mark Powell /

    Jen That is the most wonderful news – NED – I like that ! lots of gentle “thought hugs” coming your way :))))))))))))

  43. Every bit of this is too beautiful to describe!!!! Woooohoooo!!!

  44. YAYAYAY!!!

    As a reader and pray-er since day one, I now have tears in my eyes. I am SO SO SO thrilled for you and your family!! xxx

  45. Shelley Carter /

    WOOO HOOOOO!!!!! That is awesome. God is good. And thanks for posting the pic of you at the end. It is great to put a face with my prayers 🙂

  46. Maureen /

    Hi Jen,

    Like so many others, I’ve been checking in every. single. day. since your blog was linked on Momastery. I was way too chicken to comment, content to just pray for you and read your beautiful words with the vibrant attention they deserve. Today, though, I’m just too excited not to say YESYESYES!!! I am so happy for you and for your family as you have crossed this latest bridge (and burned it behind you!) in your journey. You are in my prayers as you continue to heal.

    “Meeting” you here everyday has been a joy: your writing is bracing and comfortable all at once–kind of like the breeze is near the ocean–and I look forward to gleaning a great deal more wisdom from your blog in the future. HURRAH!

    Love and pinches from Indiana!

  47. Shannon Weiss /

    Reading this brought happy tears to my eyes. What wonderful news! You totally kicked cancers ass!

  48. Hallelujah! What wonderful, wonderful news!! I’m so, so happy for you and your family. You have endured what was set before you with incredible grace and strength and you have been rewarded. Prayers will continue for your healing and for your family as you set off into the sunset into your happily ever after. 🙂 Love and hugs from NW Washington.

  49. Jennifer Duke /

    Praise God and so glad to see a picture of you and put a face with a name!

  50. Jen, I am so very happy to hear this news. I do not know you but have been following you on your journey for some time now. My youngest daughter was just diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and has started her battle. So grateful for your example. Praying to hear those words myself some day soon. God bless.

  51. Pat Powell /

    Ma cannot find words – God has blessed you my beloved girl because of who you are a wonderful girl in every way – God has blessed you Ma XXXXXXXX

  52. The Powell Family /

    That is the beat news EVER. We are all sooooo excited for you guys. You are all a tower of strength. Your love, faith, strength of character and family have won the battle.


    Lots of love


  53. Shell & the crazies down under /

    YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Shivers down my spine – love you gorgeous girl!!!!!!!!!!!!! xxx

  54. “Obliterate” was the prayer you asked us to pray. We prayed.
    Our God is an AWESOME, AWESOME God! I’m doing the happy dance in my heart right now. 🙂 Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!
    And y’know what? (I know you know.) God loves it when He is given the glory. You gave him the glory from the very beginning, you gave him the glory during the entire battle, and you continue to give him the glory NOW. Your cancer was glorifying to God because of your response to it. Your “cancer-free” status now is equally glorifying to God, because of how you have responded. You, Jen, consistently directed all of us to God.
    I have tears rolling down my cheeks as I write this, because it is truly hitting me, this answer to prayer.
    I’m not saying that He took away your cancer because you glorified him. No, not at all. I think it’s a bit like the story of Job… you loved and glorified God before cancer, and you chose to love and trust DESPITE cancer. And I believe that even if God had not healed your physical body, you would still be honoring, trusting, and glorifying God.
    Sparkle on! 😀

  55. Praise the Lord!!!! What wonderful news. And yes, you will be “normal” again 🙂

  56. Rejoicing with you!!! And doing a little frolic for you.

  57. Allison Paul /

    Beautiful inside and out! You are an inspiration!

  58. PurpleN /

    So very happy for you! Beyond words!

  59. So, so happy for you!!! I am glad you posted a picture…now everyone can see that you are just as beautiful on the outside as on the inside. By merely reading the blog comments, you clearly have touched so many people, me included, and made our lives better and closer to God. It is rotten that you had to go through what you did, but thank you for doing it the way you did…you have touched more people that you will ever know.

  60. Bonniebj /

    Just read this fantastic news….can’t wait to pinch you 😉 we have an awesome God who more than desires to grant us the desires of our hearts!!! Still moving toward the future in prayer..expectant prayer. We are more than blessed to share this news with you, Brad, Maren and Greta.

  61. Now we all have tears of JOY in our eyes! Scott and I are so happy for you.

  62. I have been following your blog and although I have never posted before, as a mother of two young girls, I prayed for you often and hugged and kissed my healthy family with extra abandon. I have tears rolling down my face as I type this – reading this post made me so, so happy. I wish you and your family happiness, strength and above all health in the many years to come.

  63. Rebecca /

    Tears of joy for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I continue to be inspired by your messages of hope, faith and joy. You are AMAZING! Sister on and on and on! 🙂
    Also, I love the picture you posted – you are radiant!

  64. This makes me cry. So happy.

  65. You are amazing! I’ve been another faithful, ‘stranger’, following, praying, wishing & hoping for your healing. So very happy for you, your husband and your little girls.

  66. I’ve learned so much from your courage and constant hope. You are beautiful and amazing!

  67. Haven’t commented here in awhile…but want you to know I’ve been thinking of and praying for you…and will continue. You’re beautiful!!!