Prayers for lymph nodes, please

Mar 06

I had my quarterly PET scan this morning.

Today’s scan result showed that I have stable lung tumors, and continue to have no cancer in my liver or bones.  It also revealed, however, that there has been progression in my lymph nodes.  My cancer, for whatever reason, is continuing to (slowly) progress and grow in my lymphatic system, but – thankfully — it is not leap-frogging into my vital organs.  My cell search test (the one that checks for errant cancer cells floating in my bloodstream) was again “zero”, another sign of almost-stability.

Dr. Wonderful’s assessment of this report is that we can be grateful that I do not have rampant cancer in the vital organs; if I did, I would almost certainly be symptomatic and we would have a boatload of problems to mitigate.  The fact that cancer is growing my lymph system is bad, but it poises us with “problems for the long haul, rather than problems for the short haul” in Dr. Wonderful’s words.  Clearly, it is high-five-worthy to have my oncologist still talking about the long-haul.  My overall synopsis of today is that it is ‘good bad news.’

The obvious bummer of today is: progression.  Progression is never good, never what we pray for, never what we wish.

The silver linings of today are twofold:

One, cancer is active only in my lymph nodes.  I can live for a long, long, long time in this state with cancer confined to these nodes.  I do not have cancer symptoms from these metastases; no bone pain, no liver complications, no impact on my lung capacity.

Two, I am changing drugs.  The last drug, which I started in July 2016, was becoming increasingly difficult for me to tolerate.  For the month of February, I was spending more time in bed than I was spending out living my life.  I am thankful for that drug’s role in breaking and braking the cancer for the season, but I am also leaving it behind today with a nod of ‘good riddance’.  (For those of you who know my usual affinity for my cancer-killing drugs, you know how bad I was feeling for me to have a “good riddance” attitude towards this one.)  I will not miss the many major side effects I tolerated, though I am still grateful for the weeks of stability/regression it gave me.  I am hopeful for a better quality of life on the next drug.

Brad came with me today; he is a pillar of support.  We’re both semi-relieved to be off the drug that was stealing much of my Jen-ness; it is the only upside to a progression report.  We’re both fiercely hopeful that my cancer will miraculously cease growing, regress, or even disappear completely.  Hope is where we continue to pitch our tent.  I am typing this now during Maren’s volleyball practice; Brad is picking up Greta from her tippy-toes dance class; our life goes on with little-to-no pause.  I pray regularly for the suffering-to-perseverance-to-character-to-hope chain of events to manifest in our lives, including tenderheart Maren and sweet Greta.

I absorb the news more seamlessly than I used to.  I have used the analogy of a car accident before.  This is my tenth? twelfth? car accident and while it’s not less scary, it is less unknown.  I ache for a series of miracles in which I would never have to know this feeling again…

The only time I teared up today was during Maren’s volleyball practice as I watched her overhand serve go sailing over the net, and the corresponding grin and pride that spread over her face after she did it.  She has been frustrated and working hard; she and I spent an hour in the gym this weekend working on it.  It’s awesome to see hard work pay off, and I’m grateful for the grittiness that she sometimes chooses to put forth.  We told the girls together about the scan results tonight.  Maren asked short, blunt questions that clearly indicate that she is fully aware of the situation and most of the complexities.  Greta, ever an empath, gave me a tight squeezey side hug as I talked.

**If your kids know my kids and you share our news with them (either directly or if they overhear you talking), please follow through with clear coaching on how they should handle this information.  Maren and Greta (nor their classmates), should never have cancer brought up in their presence or have questions asked of them.  If they want to talk, they will bring it up (and they don’t, and they likely won’t).  This is super-important for our family, so thank you for your help on this!

I will start the next drug tomorrow.  It has its own set of side effects, but hopefully I will tolerate it better than I did the last one.  I didn’t start the new drug today only because it is not a drug that is regularly stocked in the oncology office, so someone today is flying it in from a pharmacy somewhere, and it will be ready and labeled for me by tomorrow morning.  I’ll have chemo on Tuesday this week, then will resume my Monday schedule.  People often ask — I choose Monday as chemo days for two reasons: Dr. Wonderful is at the office closest to my house on Mondays, and it poises me to be in top form on the weekends.  With the girls in school and Brad at work, it is best for me to recover on the weekdays.  My new treatment will take place every week, so each and every Monday you can find me in the infusion room.

As I sit tonight, I find myself shrugging off the worry and shifting the burdens aside.  I focus on the good, count my blessings and seek the wonder in this day.  It’s time for me to spend time with you family.  As ever, we appreciate your prayers and blessings.


  1. Newbie Friend /

    Continuing to pray- now for those lymph nodes to shrink up and the cancer cells to be obliterated!!! Love to you and your precious family

  2. Karin /

    Love you. In the war room for you.

  3. Dave /

    Praying, praying, praying. I will spend the day in prayer for you and your family. 50 years.

  4. Julie Hines /

    Praying for you Jen and your sweet family!

  5. Roslyn Mathie /

    Gratitude, warrior uprising and a deep breath for a Spring of fun times and memory making.

  6. I’m praying Jen.

  7. "Another Jen" /

    So much love coming your way.

  8. Amy Wheeler /

    Your strength and outlook never cease to amaze me. Prayers for strength, comfort, and continued healing. And big high-five to Maren for getting her overhand serve!! Been there, done that, and that’s a FANTASTIC accomplishment!!

  9. Jen Powers /

    Warrior paint still on. Continuing to war (with Karin!) in the spiritual realm and summon the HS wind over your body, life and family. Thankful for the good health of your heart, liver and bones. And agree, good riddance old drugs. Praying for a return of Jen-ness on this new one, as you said, His healing touch over every.single.lymph.node. Love you.

  10. Kelly Burns /

    Love you Jen! ❤ Big hugs and positive thoughts to you!

  11. Jen as always I love your positivity, sending all the love and positive vibes I can muster.
    Across the seas your family love you

  12. mitch /

    Sooo good Jen I’m praying and sending happy thoughts, love you man keep it up your an inspiration to us all. xxxxxxx

  13. You are an inspiration to me . Prayers for you and your family.

  14. Banita Bailey /

    Sending continued prayers

  15. Marlayne /

    Jen, What a Journey & You do it with Grace & Style ~ Prayers continued ~ Bug Hugs to you & your families <3

  16. Marlayne /

    Oops ~ Bug Hugs = Big Hugs (Unless they are the Beautiful Butterfly Wings you made for the girls)

  17. Choosing to praise God that although there’s progression, there’s some good news out of this day. Love that hopefully you will begin to feel more like yourself! Praying for you!!

  18. Amy Saxby /

    In the War Room-on my knees- for you. For perseverance, endurance, strength, perspective and joy. I love you my sweet sister. We will keep fighting our battles- back to back. ?

  19. Robyn Malcomb /


  20. Michelle Clapsaddle /

    You continue to amaze me as you pour your strength and positivity out into the world. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us. You renew hope and let us pray that good comes your way. ?

  21. Uncle George /

    I’m not good at cooking or cleaning, but I can pray! You asked – you got it.

  22. Kim Rourke /

    Love those beautiful,clean organs, and praying your nodes get jealous and become the same!! Praying your new treatment allows your Jen-ness to shine while continuing to kick your cancer’s butt! “Long haul” are beautiful words!

  23. Susan /

    Praying for you!


    With a heavy and encouraging heart, I send my love to you and your family!! Knew that it was scan day but just now reading results.. praying encouragement, strength and cancer fighting peace!! Choosing Joy and Grace for you, Brad, Maren and Greta… Love you

  25. Cindy Mitchell /

    Jen, Continued prayers for you and your family.. I also pray that there will be a cure , so that no one has to ever deal with the horrible things that takes our live, ability to get around and enjoy life. Prayers that everyone will live a long, happy, and healthy life. I admire you and your family on how well you are all dealing with cancer. You have such an awesome outlook and positive attitude , which I love and that is what will get you through this.. Prayers for your new medicine to work for you and let you feel better..Prayers and take care.

  26. Julie A Talford /

    Sending light and lots of love to the 4 of you.

  27. Jill /

    Love you, Jen. Praying with you and for you and your sweet family.

  28. peggy /

    Jen I pray for you and your sweet family everyday. ❤peggy

  29. Ginger hemsworth /

    Much love and hugs coming your way. Continuing to pray for strength for you and your family ??❤️??

  30. Thank you for taking time to update us. You and your family are in my prayers. Gentle hugs from Georgia.

  31. Denise O'Mara /

    You seem like you are on such a wobble board. I pray for balance calm seas and lots of fun times watching tippy toes and overhead slam serves. Much love Your “Jenness” is awesome.

  32. Linda (aka. T) /

    You are the strongest woman I know and I will continue to keep you and your beautiful family in my thoughts. Sending prayers for your new medicine to work its miracles and be kinder to your energy levels.

  33. Jamie /

    Prayers are with you and your family, Jen!

  34. Karen Moye /

    Praying this new medicine will stop the progression and help you feel like “Jen”.
    “I can do all things through him who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13
    Love and Hugs,
    Karen (?Sister)

  35. Stephanie /

    Prayers to you xo

  36. Kristin Russo /

    Praying for healthy, clear lymph nodes!!!

  37. Carli /

    Sending you lots of love. Give the girls a hug from me. I miss you all.

  38. Dotti /

    Praying without ceasing for you and your family. 🙂

  39. Jeanne /

    We are sending prayers for God to lift up you and your family and provide many opportunities to enjoy all that life has to offer.