Feb 13

“Sheesh, we are making you quite anemic with this chemo juju, aren’t we?” said my nurse today as she handed me the printout of my bloodwork.  The team takes my blood and checks my counts each week before they start administering my drugs.  I usually don’t give it more than a passing glance; they always tell me if there is something of note.

“Yes — I’ve asked before, but is there anything I can proactively do to help with that?” I ask (again).

“Nope.  You just need to make sure you take naps!”

There you go, folks.  My official prescription from today’s nurse: nap on, warrior.

It’s a good reminder for me: my blood chemistry is fighting against my normal-ness, and I need to remember that my exhaustion from, for example, bringing in groceries is not due to being out-of-shape.  It’s due to the fact that my red blood cells aren’t re-oxygenating my blood when I expend energy.  My blood chemistry is weakened to the point that it’s not supporting daily tasks very well.  Imagine holding your breath while you jogged to the mailbox and back to get the mail.  That winded, shaky feeling is how I feel when I go up stairs or walk briskly from parking lot to store (as I do in wintertime!).  Reminding myself that this is not motivation/will/gumption issue, but rather a biological reality helps me to be okay with my limitations.

It’s been a while since my last scan; my next one is next month for those of you who are wondering.  Please pray that my miracle would continue to grow, and that I would have regression (less cancer, smaller tumors)!

This morning I woke up and found the girls snuggled together in Maren’s bed.  They both still had sleepy eyes, and I’m glad that they find each other when they wake up on the mornings they don’t track me down.  I gave them a taste of their own medicine and wriggled myself into the middle of them whilst making sure to leverage my knees and elbows into their squishy parts as they do to me when they climb in my bed in the early morn.  It’s good to start the day with giggles.  Much of their free time this weekend was spent together playing with Legos.  Maren built a tiny house with a convertible furniture and moving parts.  Greta builds animal-care into every structure she builds; we are probably doing that girl a disservice by absolutely vetoing a pet, but we are not budging on that stance.  It’s lovely to see their imaginations bloom and to see their four-year age gap decreasing as they get older.  At Christmastime I added a kit like this of baseplates and stackers to our already-abundant Lego collection, but it has allowed Greta in particular to have more frustration-free building as her structures are more stable.  I highly recommend it to other parents of Lego lovers.

It’s not all sunshine and roses; on Friday morning Greta marched into my room with a packed bag announcing she was moving out.  Some great injustice between the sisters occurred before eight o’clock that had her resorting to such measures.  Maren, bless her, came in with tear-filled eyes of remorse that she had upset Greta to such an extent that G-meister was moving out.  I couldn’t help but giggle at G’s fiery posturing, and roll my eyes at Maren’s tender-hearted reaction.  Greta is all confidence, gumption, and independence.  Maren is all obedience, compassion, and relationships.  As ever, I’m so glad they have each other.

I have a small goal of finding them matching shirts for Valentine’s day when I leave chemo today… I like to draw out their sisterly chemistry whenever I can, and I love that they still love to match each other.  Greta’s eyes shine as she looks up to Maren, and Maren grins indulgently at Greta.  Both girls are growing and are authentically children of their 5’9 1/2″ mother and their 6’4″ father; I’m buying 8s for Greta (age 5) and 14s for Maren (age 9).  Greta’s physicality knows no limitations: she runs everywhere she goes, and was dazzling us this weekend with gymnastics skills I didn’t know she had.  Maren’s jeans from the beginning of the year are falling off her waist and a teeny bit too short in length; she’s stretching out and I see her cheekbones popping out.  She now has the cheekbones of the woman she will become and the dimple of the child she will always be.  Golly, I love mothering these two girls.


  1. Aunt Annie /

    Jen, I love reading about how you mother these girls and about their love, beauty, compassion, independence, skills, interactions, antics…… Sorry to hear about your anemia but praying for regression! Amen!

  2. Kim Rourke /

    Lovely to read!!

  3. I love and appreciate how you see your girls for the very different personalities they have and the people they are — and that you encourage them in their growth.
    Praying for reverse growth/non-growth to be your reality!
    Nap on, warrior!

    PS: I was 5’9.25″ prior to having kids; I now claim an even 5’10”.

  4. Marlayne /

    Hugs & Giggles w/your girlie Girls ~ 🙂

  5. Allie G /

    I was diagnosed in April 2013, just 12 days after my daughter turned 9. Between her and her 2 younger brothers (7 and 5 at the time) they fill my days with joy. This spring they are about to turn 13, 11, and my youngest will be 9 next week. And I’m still with them, and still dealing with the big C (a permanent situation). I’ve made it almost 4 years and you, Jen, have made it even longer than that, still keeping up your daily life which includes chemo (a few extra naps in there to mix it up!). My goal is simply to be with the kid-lets, hubby and other loved ones for as long as I can and I think we are both doing amazing at that. And who knows, the longer we stick around, the more chance a new treatment will be invented that will buy us some more time. Keep enjoying those darling girls.

  6. "Another Jen" /


  7. Cindy Mitchell /

    Awesome to hear about girls.. Prayers for you my friend , Always…Take care and keep on blogging…

  8. Lori6NV /

    I hope you were able to find the Valentine’s shirts! I find that now my son is in size 6-7 there are fewer and fewer holiday themed shirts – and it breaks my heart!! I hope you all had a lovely Valentines! ~Lori

  9. Such beautiful descriptions of the girls. They are such angels of purpose and love. Nap On, Warrior!