Mar 07

When I was diagnosed with my first lung spot sixteen months ago, I wrote a blog called “I’ve been told to dream” because the message coming from my medical team is “hope for the best, but don’t wait”.  That’s why 2014 became known as Vacation Palooza 2014; we did some amazing and spectacular things.  Many once-in-a-lifetime things crammed into one year.  Memory making and experiential living became our priority in ways that trumped some longer term goals we have/had.

Brad and I are planners and budgeters.  We’re also fiercely committed to approaching my diagnosis with as much realistic optimism as we can.  It is a tightrope that we navigate together: hope for the best, understand the worst.

It means that now we are much more focused on our short term goals than long term goals.  Our new-since-Stage IV perspective is that if we’re stressed in the far-off years to come that will be a blessing.  We have each other, and we have perspective.  Because of this, we’ll never actually be stressed: we’ll be too busy being grateful.

And, we have every reason to be hopeful.  My medical status is NED (No Evidence of Disease).  Yippee!!!

When my scan was approaching last December, I remember thinking, “I just hope it is clean.  I want to take my foot off the gas, and just be normal.  I want to plan ahead for dental appointments, volunteer to coach the team, sign up for the dance recital and do other things that are so very, very, very normal for other young mamas.”

When the scan came back not clean, it meant there was a major cluster of drama — major surgery and all that — but there was also the message: keep your foot on the gas, don’t wait.

The message that has come with both of my lung spots is this: Do today well.  Carpe diem.  Don’t wait.  Live.  Be.  Experience.  Do.  Dream.  Run.  Shine.  Palooza on.

God and I do a lot of work together wherein we balance my mind and heart and soul: I am content in Him.  When it comes to living life, I’ve resolved that I’m just going to live a Palooza Life.  It’s bizarre to conclude a marvelous year like 2014; I find myself looking around like, “Welp.  Now what?  I’ve just done an amazing year of awesomeness and I am still NED.”  I am often brought to my knees in gratitude that I am so healthy, so strong, so blissfully Jen.

I’ve decided the only thing to do is keep on palooza-ing.  The alternative is to wait for “something” to happen, and I sure as heck don’t want to do that.  I refuse to live my life in scan-crements.  Scan-cements are the increments of time between scans.  I can’t wait for the next scan scan to make sure I’m healthy enough to plan the next fun thing.  I must plan on fun… the palooza-ing must continue.

We pray (we pray) that I’m palooza-ing my life for the next 47 years.

Honestly, I think it’s a good way to live, not just for me, but for all of us.



  1. Margaret /

    Yes you are so “blissfully Jen” and always have been.
    Don’t forget there is free accommodation in San Diego whenever you want it (and a car to use as well.) Elizabeth is getting a divorce and would love your company (and your family of course)


  2. Lisa Smith /

    YAY for palooza-ing! xo

  3. peggy /

    Palooza-ing is a good thing! None of us know what the “grand plan” is…best to just palooza!!!I’m glad you brought a new word into my vocabulary! ♥p

  4. Fran Brock /

    Jen I have followed you all the way through this. You are amazing how you go about you everyday life as a wife,Mother and yes Daughter. I see your Dad at the office and he and I would talk about how amazing you have been and are. I have watched for your blogs for several months to send to friends of mine at St John,and you were in their prayers daily.
    I remember you as a little red headed girl that was the big sister. You may not hear from everyone that is on this road with you but we are there. Keep bloging us we look forward to hearing about you and your family. Fran Brock

  5. Lindsay /

    Atta’ girl!!

  6. Christy /

    Jen- Love the update! You have been my strength to keep paloozing-on through everything!!! Thank you for sharing your STRENGTH!!

  7. ohiofishergirl /

    Palooza On Jen!!!

  8. Bonnie J /

    Such a blessing !! One step in front of the other. I heard a worship song the other day with this phrase in it – so so true, NO matter what !! Walking step by step with you Jen, alongside you and praying daily for you. Love you so much !!

  9. Aunt Annie /

    Jen, Looking forward to Palooza-ing at Tappan this summer!!

  10. Owengirl /

    Could you blog about how you and God do that “balance my mind and heart and soul” thing? I could really use some help with that right now and I am guessing I am not the only one.