What am I doing these days?

Oct 08

7:00  Wake up.  Shower.  Remember the shower in our bathroom has been turned off because of an annoying leak and just get dressed and ready for the day.  Gingerly apply castor oil to radiation site without dislodging the tape and Sharpie marks that are super important to the radiation techs.

7:30  Marvel that girls are still sleeping.  Put away laundry, make lists, tidy bedroom, vow to tackle thank-you notes tonight.  Marvel some more that the girls are still sleeping.

8:00  Hear Greta talking in her room.  Get Greta out of crib and wrangle her into clothes.  Realize that the 12-18 month outfit is high-water short in the arms and legs.  Strip her out of outfit #1 and into outfit #2.  Maren comes in and reads a book to Greta while Greta wiggles and points at the pictures.  Maren is pitifully complaining of “sore forehead, sore froat, sore belly and sore ears.”  Since this is day five of this pitiful talk, decide she should see a doctor.

8:20  Call pediatricians office and set up 9am appointment.  Mentally praise pediatric office for their timely responses.  Begin getting dressed negotiations with Maren.

8:30  Commence breakfast for two children.  SuperGramma is here and it is so. much. easier. with another set of hands.

9:15  Maren and I leave doctor’s office with a clean bill of health, and she is cleared for school: no strep, no ear infection, just a virus that is going around.  Drive Maren to school and console her when she cries that she missed “centers” by being eleven minutes late to school.

10:00  Fill up with gas.  Realize I am going through gas at an alarming rate this month.

10:50  Arrive at hospital for radiation.  Get nuked.  Read The Other Boleyn Girl while waiting.  Apply special radiation lotion after I’m finished.

11:50  Leave radiation and head to oncology office.  See Nurse Practitioner Rockstar and chat about acne, fluid bubbles, tingles, and the advantages of short hair.  (I’m trying to talk her into it.)

12:17  Sit down in Chemo Room and know I have forty-three minutes for my Herceptin to start dripping so I can get to my next appointment.  After assessing the long line of waiting patients, call next appointment to see if they can be flexible.  They can’t, and they’ll charge me a missed appointment fee if I blow off the appointment.

1:10  Leave the Chemo Room without Herceptin because the Chemo Room was suuuuuper busy and the nurses did not get to me during my fifty minutes of wait time.  Bummer, but not their fault.

1:15  Drive thirty-five minutes away to plastic surgeon’s office.  He excises a suspicious mole.  (When we did our genetics consultation, it was apparent that the only consistency in our family history is a whole lot of skin cancer.  So I decided to get this mole checked out, and the dermatologist recommended excision.  By a plastic surgeon, no less.  Did I mention that the mole is on my second toe?  Enter two more doctors, stage right.)  Reflect on my desire to be boring at all medical offices in 2013 and beyond.

2:30  Leave plastic surgeons office, minus one mole, plus eight stitches.  Drive thirty-five minutes back to Chemo Room and gape that it is even busier than when I left.  The nurses take pity on me and bump me to the top of the list and I sit on a bed off to the side while my Herceptin drips in.  I chat with another patient I know and get to see four of my favorite nurses on duty.

4:00  Drive forty-five minutes back home.

4:45  Walk in to find Greta playing with her new Elmo toy, and Maren watching Lion King.  Greta and I get the mail and play while Maren gets dressed for gymnastics.

5:00  Take Maren to gymnastics.  Enjoy chats with other moms while Maren flips and bounces.  SuperGramma keeps Greta at home and feeds her dinner.

6:35  Arrive home.  Play with Greta and watch her demonstrate that she can now point to objects and count to three.  (All credit goes to SuperGramma–great teacher, she is!)  Wrangle Greta into jammies and find blankie, paci, and, for the first time, Elmo, to sleep in her crib.  We go downstairs so she can gives hugs and kisses to everyone.  I marvel at how big she is getting.

6:45  Start dinner with Maren, SuperGramma, and Brad arrives halfway through.  SuperGramma has cooked (again.)  We have a nice meal, and Maren finishes up by reading us one of the new books that her teacher sent home.

8:00  Tuck Maren into bed.  We read her new library book, and she says her prayers (to feel better, to stay in her own bed all night so she can get a reward, and to not miss any school ever again.)

8:30  Catch up with Brad about our day and the upcoming week.  Discuss shower situation with Brad: decide he will look at it before we call a plumber.  He reads, SuperGramma watches TV, and I look at Maren’s school website, then blog.

9:40  Still blogging.  Realize I didn’t do anything on my to-do list.  And SuperGramma is still pretty much doing all of the Mom Jobs that I will soon resume.  Realize that this season of cancer-maintenance is really busy.

My friends ask me where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing.  It’s hard because my schedule is not about efficiency or convenience.  Its about need.  I need these medical treatments, and I’m at the mercy of the schedules and the climate of the doctors’ offices.  My medical team is amazing; it is an honor and a privilege to be in their care.  Going from place to place to place to place is part of the deal.  But it is busy.  And inefficent.  And expensive.  And I’m not complaining, nor will I give it up.

It’s where I am and what I’m doing these days.  It is surreal and a massive departure from my life one year ago.  I saw Greta for less than an hour today.  That is so weird.

Tonight, though, it is safe to say that we have a happy house.  We’re all busy and tired in our own way, and everyone is thriving.  I’m grateful.  And tomorrow begins another round.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  –Matthew 11:28



  1. I’m so grateful that you have SuperGramma there to help out — she sounds like an invaluable part of your team. And you are right, the days with these appointments are not about efficiency of time or money; they are about making sure you return to full health and that is your full-time job right now. It sounds like your girls are happy and that is important.

    How is your mom doing?

  2. Oh, I so relate to this schedule. People ask how I’m filling my time (and my 2 kids are both in school this year), but the truth is that fighting cancer is a full time job!

    I’m a lurker. 😉 So glad you’re doing well!

  3. Kim Rourke /

    I would say you did your “to do” list quite well! Maybe not the one you had planned, but the one that is most important. You did yesterday well! There are now countless people in MI who hear “Do today well!” from me on a regular basis as I verbally remind myself, and challenge them to do the same especially when the road gets bumpy. Hope you slept well!

  4. Thinking of you often & sending continued prayers! I know it must be hard to have such a “different normal” at the moment but keep doing today well!

  5. MommaJ /

    Sounds pretty GOOD to me Jen!!! Thought about you and prayed for you yesterday as I went for a medical test amidst a work day and saw some of the “clouds” that you’ve described over my head. Perspective…. You are doing all amazingly well!!! Today is yet another day to rejoice in.. 😉

  6. WOW JEN ~ You are 1 Busy Woman & doing it so well 🙂 I am so glad you have people helping with your Little Angels ~ You seem to have everything together, even when things aren’t going smoothly ~ What a Role Model to many, including your daughters ~ You & Your Mom are in my prayers daily 🙂

  7. Dude, missing centers is close to the WORST THING EVER! My preschooler didn’t have them because of school pictures, and I am still hearing about the time “We didn’t have centers, mom! They were put away! We took pictures instead, but I still wanted centers!”…which was 3 weeks ago.

    You seem to be thriving with NED!!

  8. WOW. Now I’m tired! LOL! Gotta keep laughing!

  9. Shannon Weiss /

    Glad things are looking up!! Very busy indeed! I have a co-worker currently who is in chemo firbreast cancer and she has made comments about how her nails aren’t looking so good. I am letting her know about the tips you posted but wondering what products you recommend that we could find her? When you have a chance shoot me an email 🙂 Thanks shano4017@Hotmail.com

  10. Thanks for sharing, in spite of being in the midst of all the comings and goings. Sending prayers…