Sep 28

I’ve been doing a lot of running lately.  On Saturday I gutted out a long run: I planned a route, tailored my hydration and energy fuel, high-fived Brad and the girls, and hit the pavement.

It was hard.  Often when I run, I have runner’s mojo where I feel powerful and rhythmic when I run.  Scenery streams by and I’m buoyed along with an easy cadence.  Saturday was not that day.  I felt like I was plodding along and I resorted to a lot of run-for-three-minutes, walk-for-one-minute type pacing strategies.  Hills were my nemesis.  I felt un-athletic, pokey, and weak.  Eleven miles is a lot of miles to slog through those feelings.  It was my grit and gumption that got me through, and I’m proud of that.  My mental toughness and sheer will kicked in, and that is empowering in a different kind of way.  And… I did it.  My half marathon is less than two weeks away, and I’m hopeful I will achieve my goal of completing it.

I would have liked for that run to have felt amazing; instead it felt gritty–I worked my butt off to get it done.  I would like a lot of things in this life, but I will not pout or quit when I don’t get what I want.  It’s up to me to delight in the goodness rather then wallow in the grime.

This morning I had a PET scan and I have the results now because my oncology office indulges my high-maintenance wish to get immediate results.  Dr. Wonderful doesn’t mince words or make small talk when he walks in the exam rooms on scan days.  He walks in and opens immediately with, “The scan shows progression.”

That news settles in while he gets seated and logs in to the computer that allows him to show us the report, chart, and make treatment plans.  Brad and I absorb it together, but separately.  Progression is not what we wanted; we are discomfited knowing that the lymph nodes in my sternum are growing/spreading and there is a small cluster of cancer nodules in my lower left lung.  Cancer growth is not good for my long term health and prognosis, but this small amount of progression isn’t as devastating as, for example, rampant cancer.  Still, it felt gritty: an attempt at knocking us back, down, over.  Brad and I — united and individually — refuse to be defeated and are resolute to Do Today Well.  Same goes for our family.  And our village will too.

Dr. Wonderful shares with us his plan — the man always has a plan.  He is changing the drugs for my treatment: I’ll still go to the oncology office every three weeks for an infusion of a drug through my port, shots every four weeks, and (another) new oral pill I will take at home daily.  Dr. Wonderful specifically mentioned that this combination has success with patients who have gone through other treatments without achieving long-term stable results.  That is good for me: with each new drug we hope that this will be the one that will stabilize and/or regress the cancer.  And with each new scan I am reminded why I am grateful that my peace is not dependent on things of this world.  My peace comes from God and He has never failed me.

Life is much the same as it was yesterday.  I feel normal-for-me today, and it’s likely I will feel normal-for-me next week.  You can not know the drop-to-my-knees in gratitude feelings I have about this normalcy. It is a blessing to live my life; I do not take it for granted.

Pray for me in my continued quest to focus on joy and gratitude.  Pray for Brad as I lean on him.  Sweet Maren understands a lot more than most people do about what cancer feels like, and we need special prayer to handle her processing it.  Greta, bless her, is still blissfully unaware and her comic relief is welcome.  Pray for everyone who loves me; my village is mighty and we trust that good will come.


  1. Lori6NV /

    I’ve been praying for you and waiting for a new post. I’m standing with you from across the country, my friend. Your post refocused me on my blessings and reminded me of this verse (one of my favorites): “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25

  2. Marlayne Skeens /

    Jen ~ You are an amazing woman <3
    Prayers & Gentle Hugs ~ 🙂

  3. Jen, just want you to know you are and have been in my thoughts and prayers. Every since I had the joy of having Greta in my Zebra class last year your family has had a special place in my heart!

  4. Lindsay l /

    Oh friend…praying for you and your sweet family.

  5. Lisa Smith /

    Dear Friend. Praying. Thinking of you and drawing strength from you on every run, in every challenge, in every praise. Sending so much love to all of you and raising up your village. xoxo

  6. Praying for you – your precious hubby and girls, and your village. May God give you His joy and the gratitude you are asking for.

  7. love you, miss you.

  8. Susan in New Mexico /

    Praying for you, your little ones, your husband and your village. You continue to amaze and inspire me. Keep running! May God bless you always.

  9. Gritty runs help prepare for gritty days. Your honesty, strength, resolve and faith inspire me tremendously. Keep lacing up those shoes and run through the grit. Praying for peace and strength from Seattle.

    Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

  10. Sharon house /

    You keep the faith Jen. He brought u to it, He will walk with u thru it. I will be praying for an exhilarating and joyous run in two weeks. Shoot for the moon. Even if u miss, u will be amongst the stars. U r one remarkable young lady. God speed.

  11. We send our love and prayers. Keep dancing and grant you the strength to continue running with normalcy. Love

  12. Prayers, hugs, and SUCCESS at your half-marathon. I’ve had training runs like the one you just described. You are amazing. Awe-inspiring. Progression be damned. Much love from Indiana
    -Julie T

  13. Newbie friend /

    Praying for strength, joy, and healing. May you and your family feel the love that supports you on all sides. Your perspective is a is a gift of inspiration to me. Love and prayers❤️

  14. Kim Rourke /

    I would be screaming sh–! sh–! sh–! And you shout Grit! Grit! Grit! Why am I not surprised? May this day find you loving and feeling the love of our Lord and all your earthly warriors!

  15. I have been and will continue praying for you my friend! Love the grit in you! Training for a 1/2 marathon is no joke. I remember the long runs often felt gritty! You are not not alone there. I love that you are running:) you go girl!

  16. jennifer /

    praying for you and family, and so lifted by your words.

  17. Well darn this isn’t what we wanted to hear, but as you said Dr. Wonderful already has a plan. He always has that next plan….arsenal in his back pocket. This could possibly be your magic bullet. My husband often talks of moving south, but I have no desire to leave our team in Mason. God, Dr. Wonderful, family, and friends are rooting you on, and I feel the next plan is the “‘blast-o” treatment.
    Love you;

  18. I am praying for you. Your positive attitude is amazing, and your faith will carry you through.

  19. Your faith and grace continue to inspire me. Your writing i

  20. Mary Beth /

    Prayers for you, for your grit, for your stamina, for your half marathon, for your sweet, sweet, lovely family. And many prayers that this new drug will knock the cancer back on its butt!!!

  21. I continue to keep you and your family in my prayers. I also keep your medicines in my prayers, too, that they would do the good job they are meant to do. And I pray for grace for you and your village to live Today Well.

    “….What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him.”

    Trusting in the power of God.

  22. Praying for you, your family, your doctors, your treatment and your village.

  23. Praying for you to continue your quest in doing today well in spite (or in addition to) this news. Praying for your family. Praise be that His love endures…praying you feel that strength in His mighty arms. Xo.

  24. Heide Moser /

    Jen: prayers continue for you and for your medical team that God gives them knowledge
    and compassion to heal you.

  25. Sending love to all of you and hopes for normalcy interspersed with many moments of joy. Hugs.

  26. Charlotte W /

    Prayers for your family. You continue to inspire so many.
    This song came on while I was running on Sunday and it filled my heart – “God I’m running for your heart till I am a soul on fire” Hope it can get you through your gritty.

  27. Oh stranger friend. That cancer needs to kiss your grits! Thinking about you.

  28. Your writing has turned you into a friend for so many of us who have never met you. It feels selfish to draw so much inspiration from you – make sure to let your internet village know how we can support you and yours. Praying always.

  29. Jen Roesch /

    Praying for continued normalcy.

  30. There is another village that is unseen and largely unknown by you. We are also your people and you do not run this race alone. Thank you for inspiring us with your words and your life. As you run your race please know that every spectator you pass represents a cheering fan here too. It is not necessary for us to know you personally to cheer our loudest and best when we see your need to dig deep. We are storming the Gates of Heaven for your girls and your hubby and your team and maybe most importantly, your day. Today.

  31. Aussieland Travel Mates /

    Courage, Strength and Determination equally tempered with Love, Family and Faith in God! What a wonderful and powerful combination you have going on Girl! We love you dearly and pray for you, Brad and the girls each day. Love Jim & Michele.

  32. Becky Merrill /

    Praying for you and your sweet family. You are an inspiration and blessing to so many. Miss seeing your smile in the morning. I pray that I can be half the Mom you are. Hugs!

  33. Angie /

    Just wanted to let you know I’m out here holding space for you, praying for you and sending love and positive thoughts your way. Thank you for continuing to do today well and for sharing your story!

  34. Jennifer /

    Sending healing prayers and wishes to you from a stranger-friend in Canada: may you continue to do today well, may your new medicines cause your cancer to regress, may your girls be held in love, may Brad and your village be strong and comforted, may you continue to have many, many years of normal days with more joy and less grit. May you continue to find peace and strength. Thinking of you.

  35. Amanda /

    You are such a wonderful witness to God’s grace and love. What an amazing blessing. Prayers for healing and peace…