October update

Oct 21

Hello autumn!  The leaves are changing, and it is often lovely and brisk outside.  I can see the fall color from my bed which is a reminder that my life is a blessed one.

We rocked fall sports in our house.  Maren played volleyball for her junior high school team.  The whole experience was awesome for her and nostalgic for me as she’s attending and playing for the same junior high school I did in the early 90s.  Wow!  She was so nervous heading in to tryout results day that she had Greta walk in holding hands with her.  It was a cute moment in a season full of growing moments.  The highlight of the season was when she burst out of the post-game team meeting with a pink face and a brilliant smile: “Mom! That was the best we’ve ever played.  It was so fun; so so so so fun.”  Seeing your kid exuberant from a lot of hard work is awesome.  Greta double-dipped on fall sports: she ran for her school’s running club which culminates in a one-point-five mile charity run, and she also played volleyball for the local rec league on the Pink Panthers team.  Every single day of running practice the temperature was in the 90s, so that was rough, but her perseverance was admirable.  The Panthers have improved a lot and the G-meister now gets her serve over and is a consistent passer: big milestones!  Brad and I got good use out of the bleacher chairs we invested in, and love watching our girls play. Driving carpools listening to a spectrum of serious-to-silly chatter and high-fiving our teams were weekly highlights for me.  We also made an excellent trip to Madison, WI for some grandparent time and to watch Brad’s Badgers play football: perfect weather, great company, and a win!

Throughout the season I have been quite challenged medically.  I’ve learned over the years that I must listen to my body: when it says rest, I rest.  When it says sleep, I sleep.  I’ve long been grateful for my active moments because they are not my status quo. I did well during the sports season to save my energy for the afternoons and evenings: carpooling, sourcing dinners, socializing in the bleachers, homework help. As the weeks tick by I’m finding the challenges are increasing: my energy is very low and my lung capacity is less. Movement makes me cough, coughing makes me vomit, vomiting makes me weak; it’s a terrible cycle.  I am spending most of my time resting and sleeping.  Standing is taxing, moving is more laborious, and tasking is exhausting and becoming impossible.  I did some experimentations (with Dr. Wonderful’s blessing) with my medications last week to see if I could get some positive changes with my energy and nausea.  Those experiments did not go well, so I am back on the regimen from ten days ago–and grateful for it!  Dr. Wonderful’s team is looking to get a scan scheduled to get a picture of my cancer; he will make good decisions based on that information in the upcoming month. In the meantime, I am continuing to do my days well, if quietly.

My girls are handling the changes with grace and selflessness that makes me weep with pride and compassion. Please be considerate of my girls as you discuss our family in your household: our preference is that it is up to our daughters to raise the subject of cancer, and if done so in the presence of other kids — the other kids should listen well and then lead them (or report to) a trusted adult.  We are grateful for your prayers and love, but there is vulnerability in monitoring how they are experiencing my cancer (and also my writing).

Brad serves me endlessly and never gets frustrated, tired, or burned out with any of his girls.  Last week I paused on my way up the stairs to catch my breath as he came out of the bedroom to head down the stairs. Both girls were in the upstairs hallways getting ready to go somewhere. He jauntily took the nine steps down to me, offered me his arm as if we were walking into a ballroom, and we laughed and the girls cheered as we ascended the last part of the stairs together.  He helps me find joy in the smallest things. This past Saturday night he planned a date — more goodness from my 40th year of wishes.  I wasn’t well and ended up taking every medical intervention at my disposal to get myself vertical; luckily it worked, and I tricked my body into relaxing and enjoying the night.  Whether we’re at home or on a date night, he loves me so richly.  His self-care game is probably as strong as it has ever been in our history, and that is timing that is a gift.  We are all so grateful for the people who love us.


  1. Karin Eppert /

    I love you, dear friend. That sums up all the feelings that I’m feeling.

  2. Shannon Weiss /

    Been thinking of you? Glad to hear Greta had a great volleyball season. Can totally tell in your writing how exciting it is for you as well. Continued love and prayers from Wisconsin! XO

  3. Praying, praying, praying. 50!

  4. Ginger /

    You are a Rock Star!! Thank you for the update. You are going through something really hard, but you are inspiring us all with your grace and positivity.

  5. Heather Rose /

    Thank you Jen for being the most exquisite human. Thank you Brad for loving Jen with such tenderness. Thank you Maren and Greta for traveling these days as such brave souls. Your stories are such a gift to us all.

    Always with love,

  6. Thoughts, prayers, and an abundance of love and grace to you and your precious family.

  7. Newbie friend /

    Sending hugs hugs hugs -you have been such a great inspiration to me – love You and love your spirit- you are such a gift to the world!

  8. Patty Wheeler /

    I love all the love that surrounds you. Can not believe Maren is in junior high. Sending my love!

  9. Roslyn Mathie /

    So happy to read your stories of your days! We are the wind beneath your wings.
    Let us help you fly so you can do what your heart desires.

  10. Christin /

    The walking-you-up-the-nine-stairs moment was a beautiful image. I love you and your crew.
    Prayers always.

  11. Have been thinking of you from Seattle, wondering, praying, hoping…hang in there. You are amazing.

  12. Julie Talford /

    sending love and light…and lots of hugs….

  13. Jen – You have such a wonderful family, which totally makes sense knowing how wonderful you are! Praying for you!

  14. Lindsey Ritsema /

    I love that you celebrate all of life and have learned to listen to your body. Praying for the Lord’s strength moment by moment.

  15. Lindsay /

    It’s lovely to hear from you…thinking and praying for you often. Ran a race this weekend, realized afterwards I forgot to write on my arm like I always do…but thought of you!❤️❤️❤️

  16. Kelly Burns /

    I wonder if that gym floor at Liberty Junior is still as slippery as I remember?!? 😊 Very fun that your girls love volleyball just like you. Sending lots of love your way! ❤️

  17. Denise /

    Love you jen with all my heart❤️
    And your family💕praying 24/7

  18. Lisa Marker Robbins /

    ❤️ getting this update and the beautiful picture of your family. Praying for each of you.

  19. Shannon Kahrs /

    50! I love you Jen! My heart and soul bleeds for your suffering and rejoices even more in how well you LIVE! Many many many times I think you live better than myself. You are an inspiration. Thank you for living well – it helps me live better!

  20. Kim Rourke /

    “We are all so grateful for the people who love us.” Amen!!

  21. Well goodness gracious, your man continues to love, serve and give relentlessly and you continue to fight hard, give yourself grace and live well. All of us have so.much.to.learn by your example of prioritizing the right things all the time. Love you and miss you and praying for some reprieve for more fun dates and sweet time with your girls. ♥️

  22. Michelle /

    I always comment about you and your strength, Jen. And, make no mistake, even though you are feeling less thank stellar, the love and passion for your family continues to shine in your writing. You are a pillar of strength and inspiration for us all — your girls, and Brad included. But what I’ve failed to mention, in the past, is how strong and courageous they are – in spite of it all. Life, especially for the girls at their ages, has its own challenges – figuring out their place (like their teams), putting forth their best foot (even when things get tough) — but clearly, they’ve learned from you and Brad how to face it all with grace. I love how you’ve taught them to find the celebration in everything. Brad, is teaching them how to love someone fully and completely. And, together you are showing them what love is – holding onto one another through the good times and the challenging ones. 💜

  23. Marlayne /


  24. Amy Saxby /

    Jen. Loving you. Praying for you.

  25. amy betters-midtvedt /

    I had been stalking your page for an update, I was happy to see this today! So glad to hear you are finding so much joy in these days despite the trials and it’s so heartwarming to hear how your girls are growing and thriving. Know you have prayers being sent from someone who feels she is a friend you’ve never met. 😉

  26. Terry Reznick /

    Sending many, many prayers for you and your wonderful family.

  27. Kara Uhl /

    Love to you, Jen. Thanks for sharing the good and the bad so beautifully with all of us. xoxo

  28. I’m praying for joy and peace for the Anderson family.

  29. Another Jen /

    Oh what wonderful fall “wins” you all have had! What a beautiful season. Praying for many more of these moments for your “team”. 😉

  30. Cindy Mitchell /

    Jen, I am so happy to hear that your girls are doing so well in their sports.. They have great and proud parents to cheer them on.. You have been on my mind everyday and sending prayers for you and your family..Great to see you blogging with your success and memories of you and your outings..Take care and you are in my prayers.

  31. Bonnie Jackson /

    There isn’t a day that goes by that my prayers aren’t with you….. Quiet Strength is your gift….Shared with us all and we are Blessed!!

  32. Conni Carlson /

    Prayers, Hugs and love to you and your sweet family. 🙂

  33. Jennifer /

    How you are writing this story of your life is a great inspiration to me. Sending so many wishes to you and your loved ones.

  34. Cheering you all on from afar, I rejoice in the image of Brad escorting you up the stairs to the applause of your precious daughters. Your focus on Doing Today Well and choosing your husband and children as the #1 recipients of the very best Jen honors them and you and God. ♥️