Bombs away

Apr 14

Bombs away

“When do the bombs start dropping?”  This was Chief Sister’s first question when I de-briefed her about the scan and treatment change plan a few weeks ago.  It was a brilliantly encouraging, hopeful response, and it’s the sentiment I’ve stored away in my mind and heart as I’ve carried on over these past few weeks.  She gave me the gift of a vision for this treatment.  Bombs away.

I’ve got my new drug Kadcyla dripping in via my IV pole and port as we speak: it’s the one that has chemotherapy chemically bound to Herceptin.  The effect is that of a trojan horse: the cancer cell is blown up from the inside out.  Yes!  I love that imagery.  Would you please pray that the smart bombs find their way to all of my cancer spots and cancer cells?  Thank you.  The medical terminology that we’re praying for is either stable spots or regression; we want no progression/growth.

Today is Chemo Tuesday instead of my regular Chemo Monday.  I’m at the bigger main campus oncology office rather than the smaller suburban satellite office I usually attend on Mondays.  Both are happy places, and I’m veteran enough that I know most of the staff anywhere I go in my oncology world.

Last time I was at this office was twelve days ago, however it wasn’t for treatment.  It was for fun.  Often I try to brighten the spirits of the folks in the chemo room.  It makes me feel better, it makes them feel better, it makes the staff feel better.   Friends and family know this so they often contribute gifts for me to bring in with me.  My friend Tiffany works for Thirty-One gifts, and last week we made our second annual trip to deliver gifts to cancer patients.

Tiffany solicits donations from customers, family and friends to purchase the bags, and then uses her commission to fill the bags with items helpful for chemo patients.  She does not profit from the effort, nor do we accept donations from the recipients.

31 bag giveaway


Bags ready for giving away.

31 bag fillers


Items in the bags: hard candy, fun socks, chapstick, hand sanitizer, crossword puzzle book, tissues and a blanket.

Each bag is tagged with the name of the donor and the name of a person the donor wanted to honor with their donation.  It’s a personal touch that I love; the ripples of these acts of love and kindness are so blatant.



(Name of the donor has been blurred out for privacy.)

Tiffany brought all the bags and supplies to Bible study a few weeks ago, and we stuffed them while we chatted.  The last step in this process is the actual giving of the bags, and I’m so blessed to be a part of it. Tiffany and I brought our kids: her three girls 8, 6 and 3 and my two girls 7 and 3 with us to hand out the bags while the girls were on spring break from school.

In the lobby of the oncology office, we sat the girls down; we had about thirty bags to give away.  I gave them an idea of what to expect when we came into the infusion suite: sick people, bald people, nurses, doctors, tubes, IV poles, etc.  I told them that the very best thing they could do for the patients would be to give the people we met a big smile and to look them in the eyes.

All the girls did great, and it was so much fun.  I think the nurses, staff and doctors were as tickled with our presence as our presents.  Over the past few years, I’ve learned that sweet little girls in the oncology office do a lot for the health of the soul.

My favorite moment of the day was when a lady chose a navy/teal polka dot bag that Greta was holding.  Ruby-the-chemo-patient asked Greta for the bag, and Greta solemnly shook her head, gave her classic stink eye, and clutched the bag to her.  (She loves her polka dots!)  A teaching moment if I’ve ever seen one, I asked Ruby for some patience.  I got down on my knees, smiling and looking Greta in the eye, and reiterated what it is that we are doing today.  For a three-year-old, it was so much more of a powerful experience to personalize it and to say: “Greta, Ruby is feeling sick today and her cancer is giving her a hard time.  Inside that bag we have some things that will make Ruby feel better, and did you know that Ruby loves polka dots so that is the bag that will make her heart the most happy?”  As I talked, Greta kept looking back and forth from Ruby to me.  “Do you think that you could make Ruby’s heart happy by giving her that special polka dot bag you are holding?”

After another beat of consideration, Greta moved the bag off her shoulder and reached out with both hands to hand the bag to Ruby, and everyone nearby clapped.

Ruby leaned in close to Greta and said, “Thank you!  Sweetie, could I give you a hug to say thank you?”

And Greta dove right in to Ruby’s arms for a big tight hug.

I was speechless in that moment: from stink-eye to a real-deal hug in just a short minute of time.  People are beautiful.

We bombed this very chemo room with kindness twelve days ago thanks to Tiffany’s idea and her many selfless contributors and donors.  We made a difference, and every single staff member I encountered today has referenced our visit and commented at how our visit improved the mood, vibe and energy of the room for the whole week.  (Amazing!)

Today I’m bombing cancer cells, and I’m doing so with a full and grateful heart.

Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. — Ephesians 6:10


  1. Kary Brigger /

    All I have to say is that you, Tiff, and your girls are “Da Bomb!”

    Thanks for sharing a story from the chemo bag distribution. LOVE IT!

  2. Praying for you

  3. Marsha Vonderwish /

    Jen, you are in my prayers! Thank you for sharing your amazing life and family with us.
    Please tell your Mom I send a hug!

  4. Lisa Marker /

    Bombs that are heat seeking missiles to those cancer cells and spots! BAM! Praying for you – loved seeing your trip pics!

  5. Maureen Noftsinger /

    This brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful idea and what a giving person you and your friends are. I said an extra prayer of Bombs away for you!

  6. Newbie friend /

    Wow!! Makes me wish I could join you in the giving of joy in the chemo room. I was the recipient of your outreach on my first chemo day almost three years ago! Bombs away I pray!!!!!

  7. Tiffany /

    Bombs away, my friend! Bombs away!! Time to GET TO WORK! Love and hugs as you obliterate cancer cells!!

  8. Praying, praying, praying.

  9. Rita O'Brien /

    I don’t normally pray for bombs but in this case I will make an exception.

  10. Banita /

    so awesome!! bombs away

  11. Christin /

    I teared up at the Greta story. So moving to see how your intentional mothering is displayed, and so moving to imagine the impact of this lesson on her soul. I’m inspired by you constantly.

  12. Hillary in California /

    We are praying for the smartest bombs ever!! We also hope that the smart bombs find their way to the spots quickly and leave you with ZERO side effects. Btw, loved loved loved your post about Australia, so happy for you.

  13. I’m loving the image of BOTH kinds of bombs: smart bombs to destroy cancer and the gift of those love bombs that spread kindness and cheer. ♥

    Who knew polka dots held so much power?!

  14. ohiofishergirl /

    Bombs away!! Destroy those cancer cells! Bombs away!! Hugs, Lauri & Dale

  15. Bonnie BJ /

    WELCOME Home and Bombs Away !! Your awesome trip away photos were terrific, memory inspiring and a Love gift beyond measure for your family!!! Praying Jen for your new heat seeking Missiles….

  16. It warmed my heart and spoked to me again of the goodness and love we share together.
    Bless you and your family.