A season change

Sep 10

Last week I had a scan.  Cancer scans come up regularly, and yet there is nothing regular about them.

The scan shows that I have a few spots in my left lung that are both more active and larger.  Ugh.  There are many other spots that are either stable or regressing, but these active spots need to be addressed.  Unchecked cancer growth is what we are working against.

Dr. Wonderful’s recommendation is that we go to an old conventional chemotherapy, which means that it’s the “kill the weed by burning the forest” approach.  Fortunately for me, there is a weapon against the cancer.  Unfortunately I am the forest in this analogy.  It’s going to be a rough season of chemo.  (Again.)  But don’t worry about me, my attitude with chemo is always: Bring it. I got this.  Chemo is not my enemy, it is my friend.  I will start the new stuff on Wednesday as long as my blood counts indicate I am strong enough to handle it.

This marks the end of a ten-month period of relative stability — the most stable season I have had in six-and-a-half years.  With stability and predictability came hope and dreams.  Not unexpectedly, I am both appreciative of the gift of that season, and also mourning the loss of it.  It’s complicated.

I have lots of feelings.  My feelings about cancer are full of sadness, loneliness and  disappointment.  My feelings about my life are feelings of gratitude, joy, love and hope.  Needless to say, my challenge is to focus on the life-living.  My mind is steadfast in this pursuit.

You can pray for all of us — this is tough for everyone who loves me.  Brad and I absorb it together, and yet our experiences of it are so different like opposite sides of the same coin.  His unwavering love and strength keep me focused on the life-giving part of our story.  My children, now eleven and seven, know all.  When we told them, Greta said that she is going to be a scientist when she grows up and she is going to find the cure for cancer.  My prayer over Greta is always that she will use her moxie for good things, and I love her ambition.  Maren shared how the book she had to read for her reading assessment at school was about the development of nanoparticle technology that delivers chemotherapy directly to cancer cells and is promising.  Sign me up, I told her.  My children are each having their own cancer experience and growing up with a unique lens with which to view the world.  Please, if your child is friends with my child, coach them on cancer etiquette: 1) don’t bring it up 2) if she brings it up “I’m sorry” and a hug and running interference to get her to a support adult or private space are most appreciated 3) don’t bring it up.  Cancer is invading their classrooms, minds and relationships in ways that are unique to them.  I simply continue to pray that God equips all of us with the tools we need to do today well with the integrity, grace and service to which we are called.

People keep asking me what I need, and it’s a tough question to answer.  It’s a tough question for anyone to answer, and hardship makes everything harder.  I have everything I need; that’s the advantage of a diagnosis like mine: perspective.  I have many wants, but they change from minute to hour and they aren’t sustaining. With regard to myself or anyone you encounter who has hardship: if you feel yourself wanting to ask, “What do you need?” or “What should I do?”, I can offer a suggestion. Think of a thing and do that instead: press the feeling into action.  If you really can’t think of a thing, seek out the person’s best friend and ask her/him what the needs are — that person will probably be more articulate and forthcoming than the person themselves.  Love comes in many forms and the more of yourself you put in it, the richer it is.

May we all embrace the season we are in and squeeze all the life out of it in that we can.


  1. Kathy Weiss /

    Prayers always with you and the whole family!

  2. Ginger H. /

    Hugs and prayers❤️?? For the strength you need. You’ve got this!!!

  3. Cindy Mitchell /

    Jen, you and your family are amazing.. You have a family to be so proud of and they are so caring.. Prayers for you and your family..

  4. Praying, praying, praying. 50 years! Blessed to have little Maren at LJS.

  5. Tara Eddy /

    Jen you truly amaze me, my prayers are with you and your family!

  6. Another day in this Journey ,yet another Day to Trust, Hope and Believe!! You do have this Jen but more importantly the Lord has YOU !! ???

  7. Lisa Marker Robbins. /

    Oh Jen! So very sad to read this but claiming all good things in prayer for you and yours.

  8. Sherry Stoffer /

    Jen, you are ever inspiring!!! May God continue to give you strength to overcome this disease!!! Our prayers are with you all!

  9. Christin /

    “Think of a thing and do that instead: press the feeling into action.” You explain it so well.

    My heart is heavy and simultaneously full with you.

    Unending prayers of hope from this corner!!

  10. Darlene Cliff /

    You are always in my thoughts and prayers

  11. Aunt Ann /

    You are so inspiring! Love your soul and fortitude. ?Hugs, Aunt Annie

  12. Melody A. Smith /

    Jen, you are so very STRONG and an inspiration to oh so many. I will continue to lift you up as a daily mass intention – praying that God will zap the nastiness out of your entire body, once and for all…

  13. Lindsay /

    Love ya girl…you’re writing never ceases to capture it all.❤️❤️

  14. Marlayne Skeens /

    Hugs Jen & families ??✝️

  15. This was not the scan result I was praying for. It’s difficult to not be a little bit furious about it. I see your community is fired up in prayer; that’s good news. My plea is for relief for side effects and a miracle for you.

    Love from afar.

  16. We are thinking of you now and always. Praying those crappy three spots respond well to the treatment. Praying for safe, relaxed periods again. All our love to all of you.

  17. Angela J /

    Prayers for you and this new round of chemo! Prayers for the forest, for your girls. Scans showing activity/progression are so scary. So hard. I am positive your attitude has something to do with your survival. ❤️

    My eight year old son and I just read the picture book Cancer Hates Kisses. We read it because of my mom, who was Dxd with lung cancer just after your Dx, but I thought of everyone I know who has cancer, and people I don’t know but know of – like you. In the book the people fighting cancer are superheroes, and cancer hates hugs, laughter, high fives, live, and yes – kisses. ❤️(Many times I had to point at pictures to buy myself some time as I was too choked up to read. It’s a profoundly moving and inspiring book) Praying you get all of those – kisses, hugs, laughs, and love you – all you can handle. Everyone on your team – family and medical – are super heroes. You are too, Jen. Thanks for what you bring to the world. You may just be a fairly regular person (in your own opinion) but you are inspiring others to Do Today Well, too, while facing big things, and there’s no telling how far those ripples can spread. See? Super hero!

    Hugs from Michigan. And KA-POW to that cancer!!

    P.S. love your guidelines for your kids. Great job watching out for your ducks. ❤️

  18. As you enter this new fighting season, I’m cheering on your chemotherapy with a modified quote from Macbeth: “Out, darn spot!”