End of summer whoa

Aug 15

End of summer whoa

Today the girls are meeting their teachers and tomorrow is the first day of school.  Whoa. Summer went by fast.  It has been a wonderful blitzy blur of brilliance.  I’m hopeful I’ll be able to record more of our adventuring, but I’ve been too busy doing life to write.  I think that is as it should be, but I do miss writing.

And since school is clearly starting in what feels like the middle of summer and not the start of autumn, we will still have several more “summer” adventures.  Adventure season is never over for us.

Our last hurrah before school weekend was spent cheering on Brad at the Derby City TRIfecta.  I am married to an amazing man!  It was pretty fun to watch him swim-bike-run around the city of Louisville, Kentucky.

1.5 kilometer/0.93 mile swim in the Ohio River


40 kilometer/24.8 mile bike


10 kilometer/6.2 mile run


Our family really enjoys cheering each other on at these types of events.  It’s fun to run around the course, find our athlete, and see the different disciplines.  He’s a stud; (did I say that already?)


Up bright and early to see the swim start at 7:06am:


Running from the swim ramp to the bike transition:


Watching him gear up for the bike


High five on the run


We’re pretty proud of our guy!


Things took a crazy turn after the race.  Brad had a fairly sudden onset of symptoms two hours after the race that included mild chest pain, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and fatigue.  After burning 3,300 calories as an ultra-athlete, however, many of those symptoms could be explained away.  Nonetheless, we decided to get him checked out at a local hospital.  Needless to say, it was not *quite* what we had planned after the race!

The four of us spent five hours in the hospital while they ran and repeated tests, and the team there decided to admit him overnight to be on the safe side.  EKG was normal, but there were some blood numbers (including troponin) that were not “normal”.  Everyone’s assumption was that his body was just in recovery after his race effort; it was the conservative approach to keep him while his body stabilized after the race.  I took the girls back to Cincinnati and planned to return to Louisville sometime Monday (before or after chemo, depending on what was going on with Brad).  By the time we left, Brad was looking and feeling great, so we both felt very comfortable.


So, I went home, and he stayed there; a weird end to the weekend!  To make a long story short, they told Brad at 2:00am that he was having a heart attack.  (His symptoms had all ended by the prior evening; he was feeling completely normal when they told him this!)  He texted me this info (as we had agreed for updates), and I read it when I woke up in the night a little before 5:00am.  I decided at that point that Brad’s medical situation trumped my medical situation for the day, so I decided I would bump my chemo.  I packed a bag, jumped in the Vanderson, beat the bridge traffic, and was in his hospital room (in ICU!) by 7:45am.  Literally within minutes of my arrival, they began prepping him for a cardiac catheter procedure to investigate.

The hour that he was getting that procedure done was a long hour for me.  I’d much rather be the person in the bed than the person in the waiting room, for what it’s worth.

The cardiologist came out smiling and shrugging, “His heart is perfectly normal.”  He told Brad, “It looks like the heart of a 20-year-old.”  It’s probably the best news we could hope for.  Yay! But also, Huh??  Apparently the heart attack was vascular spasm of some type.  He is starting on some cardiac medications and we’re to follow up with a cardiologist in Cincinnati.  Things de-escalated from there, but it was a long hospital day of waiting, crossing t’s and dotting i’s, and waiting.  We were discharged last night, and had a holy-crap-what-just-happened evening together.  My saintly parents took the girls for us, and it was so great to focus on Brad and know they were doing fun things with NanaRoz and Grandad.

I love, love, LOVE my husband, and am so very grateful for the many elements of providence that took place in this 72-hour window of unexpected chaos.  “What if” is not a game I play for obvious reasons, but it is clear that things could be very different if we (and the medical team at University of Louisville Hospital) didn’t take every single step we did to mitigate what was happening.

Brad’s body is recovering from the heart attack, the hospital procedures, and the endurance event, so he’s taking it easy the rest of the week.

I’m at chemo one day late, and am grateful to Dr. Wonderful and his team that they are willing to flex to my scheduling needs.  Not all offices are willing to work with their patients the way that my team works with me.

Also, it’s my birthday today!  Having a healthy Brad home with me is pretty much all the birthday present I could ask for, so year thirty-eight is being swept in with a whole heap of gratitude.  “Medically boring” is a vastly under-appreciated status, so if that applies to you, take a moment to be grateful today.

I have a sense of a season-change (more in circumstance than weather) as the girls start school this year.  I’ll have school days to budget and buffer my good hours: more time for myself to tackle my own priorities and goals.  After most of last year spent only managing what is “on fire” and needing attention in that moment and/or resting/sleeping, I’m oddly excited to have more time to spend.  It feels rich.  What’s keeping me pondering, however, is that I don’t have a certainty about how to spend those hours.  Should I prioritize a big fitness push and try to gain lost ground in that arena?  If so, what kind and how hard?  Should I write?  If so, what kind of writing?  Should I dive wider and/or deeper with relationships?  If so, which ones?  Should I make a big dietary health push and spend endless hours prepping and shopping?  The disappointing reality of my physical circumstances is that I can’t do all of the above — or, at least I can’t do them all well.  And doing things well is obviously pretty important to me as my mantra is Do Today Well.  Lately, when I have time to myself, I’m turning in circles because there are SO MANY THINGS I want to do.  So some clarity there would feel really great.

So, as we calibrate to a new season, I would sure appreciate your prayers: first that this chemo and my cancer would continue to provide lifestyle/medical stability for me.  And then that I can focus and adjust my priorities to be the best Jen I can be.  Prayers for Brad’s amazing heart, the girls’ school years, and my Jen-ness would be much appreciated.

I love the life that Brad and I have built together.  He is amazing.


  1. Marsha Vonderwish /

    Oh My! So very thankful Brad is OK and can’t help but think how wonderful God’s timing is! Continued prayers for all of you.

  2. Michelle /

    Wow! How scary. So glad Brad is doing okay!

  3. Lindsay /

    Wow…what a crazy post but thank you sweet Jesus that’s Brad’s doing much better!!
    And Happy Birthday to you- lovely Jen!!!! May your day be blessed and you feel the love!

  4. Melody Smith /

    HAPPY 38th BIRTHDAY JEN! I so enjoy reading these updates and was totally surprised when I reached the part about the heart attack. Thank goodness all is OK with Brad. Know that I will continue to pray that our merciful God blesses you and your family in many, many coming years.

  5. Patty Wheeler /

    Sending love and Brad glad you are ok!

  6. Aunt annie /

    Praise God that Brad is OK! ?

  7. What a maelstrom of events you endured but so pleased to hear Brad is recovering well.

  8. 50 years!

  9. Kelly Burns /

    So glad that Brad and his wonderful heart are doing okay! Continued thoughts coming his way. Hope the girls have a wonderful new school year ahead. And I’m always thinking of you too!

    Happy birthday dear friend! How are we possibly 38?!? Seems like we were just celebrating at all of our fun birthday parties growing up. Hugs to you!

  10. Jane Powell /

    YOU are amazing. You are an amazing team. Carpe diem, dear Jen. Love xx

  11. Kathleen Roth /

    Happy Birthday Jen! What a way to end summer. Gosh
    Enjoy your beautiful girls and your amazing man on your birthday

  12. Shannon Weiss /

    Wow!! Glad Brad is doing ok and he was in the best hands. Sending our live and continued prayers. Happy Birthday Jen!

  13. Amyrhoo /

    Whoa! <3

  14. The kids are starting school… oh by the way, Brad had a heart attack! Never a dull moment in the Anderson household, and never a challenge you and your posse don’t meet and conquer. So glad Brad is on the mend. HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!

  15. Lisa Marker-Robbins /

    Whoa! So thankful Brad is okay. Happy happy birthday, Jen. Here’s to another year I’m completely confident you will do well XO

  16. Marlayne /

    WOW ~ What a weekend!! Prayers & Gentle Hugs to your Whole Family 🙂 As far as the year going so fast, my Nana said the older you get the faster it goes ~ I didn’t know I was that old LOL ~ By the way, You look Great for your B-day filled w/Oh My Goodness!!!
    Hugs, 🙂

  17. Happy birthday to you and best wishes for a full recovery for your husband.

  18. Julie /

    You are all amazing!!! So glad this turned out well and I know you will use your time wisely as another chapter begins. I am praying for you on your birthday and always celebrating you! Hugs to all of you….and a big one for Brad!

  19. Shari /

    Happy birthday, Jen!! Scary about your hubby! Prayers for health and happiness for all of you!!

  20. Christin /

    Ah! A whirlwind of a post! Happy race, scary vascular spasm, happy dreams of a season change. Somehow you navigate between each of them wholeheartedly! I’m praying for the doctors as they follow up with Brad, for your family as you process, and for your extra time, that God directs you to exactly how to fill it!!! Loooooveeee youuuuuu!!!!

  21. Ginget /

    What a weekend! I am so happy that Bead is ok! Happy birthday? Hope the girls have a great year❤️

  22. peggy /

    WOW! Never a dull moment in the Anderson household! You continue to blow me away with how calmly and efficiently you handle all life throws at you. HaPpY Belated Birthday, so grateful you rock star hubby is okay, and hope those darling little cherubs have a magnificent school year. Keep on keeping on in the grand style that you do. peggy

  23. Deb Herrington /

    Happy Birthday! Best wishes for good health for all!

  24. Diana Gibson /

    Guess a heart as big as Brad’s just needed some physical, tlc acknowledgement of its greatness!! And isn’t God good to give gentle symptoms, available time and another good medical team to ensure good outcomes. Power on, You ALL

    Wishing wise, knowledgeable, caring teachers for the girls new school year.

  25. Marge Greene /

    Wishing you and your lovely husband and daughters a great year for your 38th!!
    I suggest you not focus your “free” time on one thing for a whole season, rather focus on
    one thing per day and “Do Today Well”! Thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures.

    ~ Marge Greene

  26. Volpano Family /

    Wow! What a crazy end of summer for you all! Glad to hear Brad is doing better. Please give him our best! And thrilled to know your team is so understanding and flexible. Definitely a group of angels, which is exactly what you deserve!! Hope your darling daughters have wonderful first days at school!

  27. Cindy Mitchell /

    OMG Jen, You have been busy.. I am glad to hear Brad is doing well.. Happy Birthday to you and many more.. Prayers continue for you, Brad, your girls, family and friends… Take care and enjoy your Holidays coming up..