Tick tock

Dec 13

Chemo dripped in today.  I feel great about that!  Cancer killing commence.  Wooooooooo!  It’s also daunting because it means I knowingly start to feel crappy again.  So soon?  Whoa!  But, I’m pulling on my bootstraps, straightening my spine, putting on my big girl panties because whining doesn’t help.  And as soon as my body demands it, all of those energetic decorative statements I made actually translates to: climbing in to my bed.  Huzzah!

Yesterday was my first fully upright day in several weeks, and I think I used every crevice of my brain to check things off my list all day.  (I still have a lot to do.  It’s December.  Luckily, there’s grace.)

I had a good conversation with my mom, who understandably said, “It’s hard to watch you suffer.”

I stand behind what I’ve said to her many times before, “It’s waaaay harder to love patient zero than it is to be patient zero.”  There is no doubt in my mind that my parents (and other loved ones) who are watching me walk out my hard days are hurting more than I am hurting.  There is such beauty and pain in it, and for that I am grateful.  Still I insisted, “I’m not suffering!” because I am not suffering!

She said, “Well, then what?”

“I’m living!” I said.  “This is the only life I’ve got, and I am determined to live — LIVE — as absolutely well as I can.”

It’s an argument of semantics and wording, and I am living with pain, with loss of hobbies, with loss of time, with loss of my normal, with loss.  And I suffer, mourn and grieve those losses.  And yet I live.  And that is the victory.  The opportunities to execute actions of valor makes me proud of my life — even with the loss, even when it’s from my bed.  If suffering is the bottom of my pendulum, the victory is in every tick tock.  A pendulum doesn’t self start, it gets a push.  Sometimes I push myself, often God pushes me, sometimes it’s another person or inspiration from another person.  Tick tock, people.


Last weekend both girls made forts in their bedrooms.  I’m pretty sure it was a subconscious coping strategy after a week of a present, but not very engaged mom.  Greta surrounded her lower bunk bed with blankets and taped a sign to  it that says, “Caming Area”.

“What does that mean Greta?” I asked her when I saw it.

“I forgot the L,” she said with no further explanation.

It took me a beat before I was able to fill in the L in the proper place: “Calming Area”.

I never got to see Maren in her tent because she also had a sign on her door about secret ninja Christmas activities inside, and I know better than to get on the bad side of elves.

I love that they both love to retreat.  It’s so necessary to function well as an individual: we come back to the swell with so much more to offer of ourselves.


  1. sending you love and prayers from South Africa. Been following your journey from the beginning and you are truly an inspiration.

  2. Praying, praying, praying. 50 years!

  3. Peggy Hyland /

    You are Amazing!
    Continued Prayers for a Miracle for You!

  4. suenitz /

    Dear Jen, your life has been such an inspiration to so many people. You are fulfilling the plan God has laid out for you with such grace and strength, not holding back. You are real and in this world we need the real. We need to be strong and courageous and to appreciate all that we have and all that God has given us because ultimately it leads to peace.

    I am going to remember this post forever because it is you, filled with strength, courage, and an appreciation for life and living and most of all love of family and God. You are an amazing woman and I am blessed our paths have crossed.

    You are and always have been in my prayers and will continue. God bless you and your family this Christmas. Much love to you.

  5. Kim Rourke /

    My oh my! You have done it AGAIN! You, dear Jen, pull US up by our boot straps to remind us that life.is.good! Living is good even when it is crap because it IS living. A concept so important for all of us to remember. Thank you for reminding me to do today well for myself and for those in my life.
    P.S. Greta might pattend her calming fort!❤️

  6. Peggy Wolfe /

    Praying for you and your entire family. I want to know if there’s space in Greta’s “Caming Area”; I think many of us want to join her. The bravery and strength of the Anderson family amazes me. You truly all DO TODAY WELL. Here’s to a wonderful Christmas (the time of miracles).

  7. Emily Smith /

    Oh Jen, this is beautiful writing my friend . . . writing of the truest form as it is straight from the heart! I am praying for you. Much like your girls and their tents, I’ve been retreating myself each day as the hustle and bustle from the outside world is often overwhelming to me.
    Great perspective keeping your focus on the tick tock!
    May God’s presence rest on you dear one.

  8. Aunt Annie /

    ?? ?for miraculous healing, ????for your valor, and ??for your victories. For now you?In your ?for rejuvenation and the girls make a ⛺️ for calming. Your ??‍♀️?‍?‍?‍???‍♂️??‍??‍?‍?‍??‍?‍??‍♂️??‍♀️??‍?‍?continue to ???? you! Tick Tock!

  9. Kathi Roth /

    Needed to read what you wrote. Thank you friend.
    Continuing to flood heaven on your behalf, Brad, Maren and Greta’s.

  10. Christin /

    I love your honesty, and I love your grit. Goodness, Jen, you live life right and you make us all want more of that. Not to mention… your writing is beautiful. Thank you for painting the picture of your life and letting us sit in it. I’m constantly praying for you and your family.

  11. A reminder to me, deep in the gut, to live. Thank you. ❤️ And part of that living…praying for these next steps you are taking.