Pathology in bullet points

Nov 13

Today an old friend–one who I have not seen in six years–picked me up and drove me down to my oncologist’s office.  The Care Calendar for locals who want to help with things like this is available by communicating with our Help Coordinators:  More “ways to help” will be forthcoming also as we find our footing–it seems you people are not the sit-around-and-watch-it-happen kind of crowd.  You are movers-and-shakers-and-do-ers.  I appreciate it!

I met Brad at Dr. Wonderful’s office, and thus commenced yet another bizarre date night.  I do love that about us, Brad and I; we seize any moment we have together make it matter.  His love anchors me.

In a quiet, anonymous exam room, Dr. Wonderful reviewed the pathology from last Thursday’s surgery.  My brain is too tired to commence with the science-y explanations, but I think I can give you the highlights in bullet point form:

-This cancer has the same profile characteristics as my original cancer (biopsied March 2012/removed via mastectomy August 2012).  This means that the cancer is most likely the same, and has been lurking too small to detect.  This is what Dr. Wonderful (and I) anticipated once we confirmed in the OR last week that it was malignant–so there was no surprise in the pathology report.

-Good news: Only one nodule formed, and that nodule is now removed.  No other tumors were found; only the one organ was effected.  I currently have No Evidence of Disease (NED).  (By contrast, the “spots” can form in the “too many to count” realm.  One spot/nodule is relatively good.)

-Bad news:  This nodule grew while on Herceptin (biological agent) and Tamoxifen (hormone blocker). Those counteragents didn’t do their job(s) as effectively as we would have hoped.

-Prognosis:  This is the science-y word for life expectancy.

FYI, there is no scarier question to ask and have answered in the oncology office.  I am so blessed to be hand in hand with my husband when we ask that question.  

Best Case: 48-1/2 more years.  Some people get their miracle, even at Stage IV, and they live long lives.

Worst Case: A few months.  **This is if we pursue no treatment, which of course we are not going to do.

The Reality:  I have Stage IV breast cancer; I will have active treatment for the rest of my life.  There are out-of-date statistics that speak to the center of the bell curve in terms of life expectancy, but the treatment plan I’ll be on was not available when those studies were done, so they are not necessarily relevant or accurate for me.

The Truth: My life is in God’s hands.

-Plan:  Brad came up with the words for how we are going to move forward in light of this month’s revelations.  We are going to hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and live for today.  It is a life-giving and joyful existence.  We’ll identify and delve into what that means during the weeks ahead.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  — Romans 12:12


  1. Prayers for you! For recovery, comfort, peace, and rest. You are a shining light!

  2. Tiffany /

    Jen, you make me want to live every day better than I had ever planned. No doing it half way…even on days I don’t feel like it. I love you…and your transparency. I love that you and Brad are doing this thing hand in hand…what a beautiful thing. Continued prayers…BIG prayers…for BIG things to happen! Love you!!

  3. Jen, in the midst of this storm you continue to teach us. “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and live for today” plus Romans 12:12 is an excellent prescription for every single one of us.

    Gentle, warm hugs to you and your family. You were prayed for again tonight in a small choir in Spokane, WA.

  4. Some people get their miracle. This is my prayer for you.

  5. We are with you for the long haul and are shooting for 48.5 years. With you are our prayers
    Neecie and Leo

  6. Michelle /

    The best place to be is in God’s hands (give the worry to him) surrounded by love from family and friends. Add a heaping spoonful of your positivity and tenacity and you have the winning combination of what makes you, “you”. For that, we are all grateful. Much love to you…whippersnapper!

  7. Rebecca /

    Blessings to you and those you love.

  8. Love you.

  9. I have sat in one of those quiet anonymous rooms and received very similar news so I know how crazy this can feel. Mind-numbing and tears and the renewed sense of living for today. Praying for quiet and peace in your heart as you process.

  10. I hope that you live for today so hard that when you finish your 48 1/2 more years, you fade away in exhausted bliss. You have me in tears regularly and I don’t know you, or even know how I found your blog. Your spirit and positive outlook are wonderful.

  11. Bonnie B /

    Psalm 118:24. ” This IS the day that the Lord has made. Let us REJOICE and be glad in it. ” probably one of my most favorite verses of truth – especially when the days contents are hard to bear. The Lord is with you today and in every single day to come. ….. and so are we ♡♡♡

  12. God gave me a special nurse after my mastectomy. She is a stage IV survivor 10 years out after it showed up in her lungs. There is always a reason to hope for the best. We never know what is in store for us.

  13. jen gev /

    There is no safer place to be than in God’s hands. We love you guys and are thankful that we are on this journey with you!

  14. Lisa Smith /

    Love You

  15. Elizabeth /


    You are a beautiful reminder to make the best of things, I love your writing style and the glimpse into the inner lining if your life. I am sending healing energy your way. I found your blog from Momastery.

    On a side note…wondering if you have ever heard of Del Immune? I am not affiliated with them, but have had positive results with their product. If you google it you can read reviews from people with cancer that have used it…it can’t hurt.

    Best and sincere wishes for fifty more…

  16. Jen – I have never commented before, but I felt the need to do so today. I came to your blog by way of Momastery quite a while ago. I have quietly followed and prayed for you as well as my sister who is following a very similar path. She is where you are today. Blessing to you!

  17. Marsha Vonderwish /

    Sending love, prayers and hope to you dear girl!

  18. Danette /

    As I follow your journey, by chance via Facebook, I watch your faith and love, you are so beautiful. Jesus walks with us and carries us when needed. Prayers for 48 1/2 years.

    In His love,


  19. Mitch Powell /

    beautiful jen.

    you and your beautiful family are in my prayers

    DTW x

  20. Newbie friend /

    Just need to pray harder, and live for today….all of us! Love to You, Brad, the girls and your Mom, and everyone else in your family circle. You are amazing:)

  21. I haven’t been active on WordPress in the last few months, and I have just scrolled through your posts with a heavy heart. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Sending extra measures of love, peace and hope to you and your beautiful family…

  22. Donna Jones /

    I am Kathy Talford’s mom and she’s been keeping me informed……please know you are in my prayers, and you are such an inspiration! God be with you!

  23. Tonja Hemmerick /

    Not that I am a betting girl, but I put my money on 481/2 years:).