Monday, December 12, 2011

It's an update!

It is time for another update. So sit back, grab a yummy snack, and enjoy.....
*I am still riding high from getting good news a month ago. We found another tumor in my leg and had to have it removed and tested, it came back PRE-cancer. It was the first good news we had heard in a long time.

*I am still doing chemo at home 3X a week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights are still tough for me. My body is fighting HARD, which is good and bad. Good because my body is strong and hopefully that means that all the cancer is getting destroyed! Bad because I experience terrible side effects. I still get high fevers (around 102-103), bad headaches, chills, body aches, and throw up A LOT. I am still only doing a half dose too. My Doctor wants me to get through the Holidays before we discuss upping the dosage.
Getting my chemo port taken out!

*My lymphedema in my leg is manageable right now(sometimes). My whole left legs still swells up with fluid a lot, but exercise and my compression pants help. I hate this new disease, and will address it more next year. We are looking at getting a manual pump system at home that I could use nightly to help with circulation. This could be a HUGE blessing if we can find a way for insurance to pay for it.

*One of the biggest difficulties I am having right now is the fight I have with the medications I take daily. I don't like taking pills. I HATE that I have to take so many of them. And to make matters worse, I'm taking lots of pain pills. I don't like how I feel on them, but it is the only way I can manage pain and honestly it is the ONLY way I can get out of bed most days. With that said, I'm scared of being on pills ALL THE TIME. I have talked to my Doctor about this one too, but he doesn't seem too concerned. 80% of people with my cancer quit the chemo only after a few months, so he wants me to do whatever it takes to stay on this treatment even if it means I become addicted to pain pills. I am not sure how I feel about this, but it doesn't sit well at all. But yay for completing 3 and 1/2 months of chemo at home.

*I still make it to the gym 3X a week. I know that this sounds crazy to so many of you. But when we discussed the fight I have ahead of me with my medical team, I understood that to give myself the best chance I HAD to work at keeping my body strong. And so I do just that. I work as hard as I can to stay physically strong. I do bootcamp Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings and I kick my ass every time. I still struggle with the eating "healthy" thing, especially now during the Holidays. Can I get an amen?

*Mentally I am doing just ok. Having cancer messes with your head. I have Doctor visits where my mental state is the first thing we talk about and honestly it is one of my Doctor's biggest concerns. Cancer patients struggle with depression and I'm beginning to understand why. I have always been a cheerful person, probably annoyingly cheerful. I am just wired to see life that way. So it was hard for me when the Doctor explained that cancer, chemo, and the medications I would be on WOULD attack my mind and outlook on things. This is a hard battle. And it is just that....a battle. I work hard to keep my body as strong as I can and keeping my mind strong is just as much work. I feel weak mentally. And this is hard for me. I need prayer. I need friends who are willing to just sit and laugh with me. And I need lot's of Jesus.

* My stomach looks like a push pin and it is really gross. I know that I am probably being a little dramatic about this one, but I don't care. And I understand and feel for everyone else out there that daily have to give themselves shots, but this seems different. First off just the act of shoving a needle into your stomach is just creepy. But knowingly injecting poison that you KNOW will make you VERY sick it just crazy. I have to mentally talk myself up before each poke. And the skin on my poor stomach is having a hard time with getting stabbed 3X a week.

*My hair is growing FAST now. I still get sores on my scalp (I know gross huh?) But the baldness stage is gone (I hope, I could lose my hair again at some point). This makes me happy, because I have always had long hair and I guess it makes me feel prettier. Everyone has been so nice about my hair, but honestly it can hurt me feelings. I don't like my short hair. It is a symbol of something that is trying to kill me. I know that I should be proud of it of the battle I am fighting. I know that I should wear my new hair with pride. But mentally that is just hard for me. I miss my hair and what I used to look like. I miss my husband playing with it. I JUST miss it. So even though I LOVE hearing that you think I am cute, it stings just a little each time.

*Some new jewlery. I am on the search for a good medical bracelet. One that I can wear all the time. It is just a smart move. If anything ever happened to me doctors would need to know what I have and what medications I am taking. If I am unconscious then a medical bracelet will help. Anyone know of any good ones? I am currently looking at roadID.

*The kids are still doing great! They just don't get it. That is partly because I don't let them see anything bad. And partly because they are just so young. I will tough out most things until they are asleep or gone, then I lose it. I cry, moan, lay on the couch, and complain to Adam once the kids can't see me anymore. I could be doing A LOT better at a lot of my Mom duties, but for now I think we are just holding on. Fostering is still out of the question, which makes me feel sad and weak. I miss my babies. And little Alexis is still having some separation anxiety. She loves her Mommy very much and freaks out whenever I leave.
I think that is it for now. Did I leave something out? Do you have other questions? Then leave a comment and I will answer.....Until next time.....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Last week I had my chemo port taken out. For many cancer survivors this is a big day, because it means the end of treatments. For me it was a surgery that needed to be done for practical reasons. One because my doctor was worried about a blood clot forming and two because we have hit our out of pocket limit this year and wanted to get this surgery paid for. Lets hear it for insurance. But it was still a good surgery to be had.

I'm doing well. Sore, sick, and tired but that is more because I am still doing chemo 3X a week not because of the surgery.

I was thinking about all the surgeries and I had this year(all FOUR of them) and more specifically the new scars I have now. I have 4 new ones. They are big, ugly, and I don't like them. But each one tells a story. A story that I need to be PROUD of.
My physical scars tell a story of God's blessing, hope, healing, love, and the battle Jesus has already won for me. Although they are ugly to the eye they are most precious to me. My physical scars tell the world about my, His story in me. And because of that I will WEAR my new scars with pride. I will not be ashamed of those pink zigzag lines.

Friends, I challenge you to do the same. Be proud of your scars. The physical, but more importantly the emotional ones. I have those too. I have had my heart broken by others, been betrayed, lost a baby, watch another baby fight to live, given back my foster babies to another, and now a cancer fight to live as long as God will let me. I have scars from all of those stories, ones that are painful and deep. But there is healing in the hurt. And I want that to be what people see when they see my scars. I want them to see the healing from a Savior who loves us no matter how deep the wounds are.

And to be honest no one will see those scars if I don't show them. I could hide all of my physical scars if I wanted to, and no one would ever see them. But I refuse to do that. I want them to shine. I want to do the same thing with my other scars, I want to share those with others too. I understand wanting to hide that hurt, but others out there are hurting with something similar battles. And trust me when I say that sometimes just hearing that someone else has a similar scar makes a world of difference.
I want everyone to see the "real" me. The one that has been broken and hurt. The one who has lost so much and yet gained even more. The one that is struggling even right now with fighting cancer. The "real Jen". And I pray that ever scar, battle wound, on the inside or outside points others to Jesus.

I invite you to do the same.......

Monday, December 5, 2011

Visiting with my Bro

My brother came to town this weekend and I haven't seen him in a year. Cancer has kind of made me a big sappy baby when it comes to all things family. So I made sure to spend every second loving on my brother this weekend. Unfortunately I am paying for that today. I am sick, tired, and sore. But it was worth it. I love him and love the time I got.

Are you seeing family this December?
I'm working on a blog to update everyone on my treatment and look forward to seeing the story God is telling in my life on video soon.......
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