Thursday, January 26, 2012

Let's go ride a bike...

We are an outside kind of family. We love doing things out and about. And especially if it involves bikes. I have raced a triathlon and was training for another when I was diagnosed with cancer. Adam does a competition with a couple buddies to see how many miles he can ride in one year. And he just accepted a position with a company who is all about cycling called "Map My Fitness"(Yay Adam!). Watching the Tour de France is a 3 week event in our house each summer.

One of the reasons we love Austin so much is because this city is all about getting outside and doing something too. And this city LOVES cycling. So it is a celebration when our kids start riding with us.

Connor picked up riding a two-wheeler very quickly. He kind of just got it. He has no fear and just jumped on and went. His current love is his roller-blades and that kid is CRAZY on them. We will soon have a little half ramp so he can learn how to do more tricks. If that kids is outside on something that "goes" then he is in heaven.Bryce is another story. He does not enjoy "trying" anything new. He wants to do things that he is good at and bike riding was not one of those things. We got him a big wheel when we was 3 and he has been dominating the road on that thing ever since. And to be honest Adam and I thought that he would ride that thing forever.
But about a week ago he told me that he wanted to ride a two wheel bike(which made me a little nervous). But I wanted him to do it, so we started practicing. I let him just tool around on the bike without worrying about the pedals at first. He got used to balancing on the bike and how to put his feet down when the bike was tipping over. Then today we tried pedaling. I held onto the back of the seat for about a minute until he got the feel and then.....OFF HE WENT. He just got it. He rode all day long and was so proud of himself. And we are super proud of him too. Way to go, Bubba!
We only have one more McManus to go....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How are the kids doing?

I get asked this question a lot. And it is a good one.

The fast simple answer is "They just don't get it" and "They are doing fine." But the truth is: it is a little bit more complicated than that.

knows that I am sick. He has seen me at some of my worst moments and has even shed a few tears. But life for Connor is pretty wonderful. On my bad days he gets extra Wii time and time on the computer. We go to the gym 3X a week and he loves it there. He loves playing basketball, dodge ball, and helping the teachers. He also LOVES doing karate and is really good at it. We kept Connor at home this year and have been doing school with him. He is doing awesome. Connor is the oldest and loves being the boss, but I have loved watching him become a more compassionate and better older brother every day. He is my helper, and he is very excited about calling 9-1-1 if I ever need him to, seriously he asks quite a bit if he can call me an ambulance. Ha

doesn't understand that I am sick. But he gets that he can cuddle and lay on the couch with me A LOT and he LOVES that! And he also loves all the extra TV time. His personality is more of an at-home kind of dude, so he has loved that we stay in the house a lot more. One of our favorite things to do is coloring and drawing. I draw a picture of him and he colors it. He is the first person in the house to notice when I am having a good day and actually get dressed up, hair done, and make up on. And he still thinks that I am pretty. ( I love that)

is having the hardest time with this cancer journey. She is VERY attached to Mommy and all the hospital visits, doctor appointments, surgeries, and laying the couch have her very paranoid. I can't walk into the other room without her checking on me. It is super adorable and super kind of crazy. Poor little thing just knows something is wrong, but she doesn't know what. But because of all this time at home she is also getting pretty spoiled. I take a nap every day and so does she, so naturally we take a nap together. I haven't broken her enough to mess up her sleeping in her bed in her room at night, but naptime....yup I have broken that one. We love having a couple minutes to giggle and talk before we fall asleep. She is the first McManus kiddo who has been all about Mom, and secretly I LOVE IT! But I do worry that she doesn't understand what is going on and the fact that I can't get up to go to the bathroom without her freaking out is pretty disconcerting. Luckily, she loves going to church and the gym and has never cried there, so she can't be too broken. She also thinks that she has a headache whenever I have one too.

Because I am sick or laying on the couch more than ever, Daddy has had more and more "kid time" lately. And I love that. Dad just does the "cool stuff" and the boys especially love it. One of their favorite activities is going out into the woods and just exploring. I hate having cancer and I hate being sick and I HATE fighting so hard to live. But God is so good and He gives me these moments that make my heart sing.

It's hard having cancer at such a young age. And it's even harder being a wife and Mom. But it is not quite as hard having cancer with kids who are young. And I praise God for that. I am strong and I think that I am fighting this fight pretty well. BUT if I had to watch my kids struggle with having a Mom who is sick, that would be too difficult. I don't have to answer any "big" questions yet. They don't have any anxiety or even get what cancer is. They have never lost anyone close to them, so they don't really get that either.

So, their Mom lays on the couch more than usual. So, the littlest one REALLY loves her Mommy. So, all the kids get just a little bit more Daddy-time. So what? Connor, Bryce, and Alexis' Mommy has cancer, and it is not really a big deal.

So, when you ask me "How are the kids doing?" The truth really is..."Great."

Praise God for that.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Good News but NOT Great News

Last night was a BAD night. I consider myself a tough cookie, but every once in awhile chemo completely kicks my pants. I had a high fever, body tremors, killer headache, and puking lots of puking. Mentally I felt weak, very weak. There was tears, frustration, and lots of praying. I felt pretty crappy today, luckily Adam stayed home and let me rest. I needed that.

I also needed to hear some good news. So when my Doctor's office called with results from last week's biopsy I was excited.

Good News: NO NEW CANCER CELLS!!! Praise the Lord. That really would have just crushed me.

Bad News: It was not a clean result. I had abnormal cells. That could be nothing or it could be something. So we wait and we check it again.

I really wanted a clean scan and then a clean biopsy. I wanted to hear "Everything looks great, Jen. Everything is working" But I didn't hear "bad news". And I need to Praise God for that.

We have questions. Lots of questions. And will schedule a sit down with my oncology team. Mostly because I don't understand why spots keep showing up(spots that are not from the sun.) And mostly because I don't understand why my body is still struggling so badly on chemo. And mostly because I am bothered that I am still not taking the "full" dosage of chemo. Thanks again for all the prayers. We will keep fighting and continue on.....

And here is some more good news: I am a blond again. I was super excited that my hair was growing in. But I was feeling very "boy hair". So I got blond highlights and I feel much better.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thoughts from my journal....

I decided to share some of my thoughts from my journal regularly with you. I will post them on the blog and then have a special page tab so you can go straight there to see the new and old ones all together.....


Dear God,

I went in for another scan today. I really thought that this one would be completely clean. I really thought that we “deserved” good news this time. I really thought that I needed to hear that they found nothing this time. I really…….

The Doctor did find another suspicious spot. And today I was reminded that this is going to be a loooooong battle. I may not always take having an incurable cancer seriously. Today I do.

I “deserve” a lot worse. And sometimes I need to be reminded. And sometimes I need to remember that you don’t work that way. And that you have already saved me from death.

-Jan 12th, 2012

Dear God,

I can’t believe this is already my 3rd day doing chemo in the infusion room. I call it cancerland, cause that is what it feels like: a different land. The people are soooo sick here. Am I going to get that sick?

I sat next to an old man, he was alone and sad looking. I talked to him as we looked at the window. He smiled once and then took a nap.

I pretended to take a nap too. But really I just there thinking. Thinking about how blessed I am. And about how I want to share my joy with others. That fact that I can still smile as big as I do is a miracle.

And I want to share that with others……

-August 3rd , 2011

Dear God,

Bryce asked me today about his future wife.

B: Who am I going to marry, Mom?

Me: God has picked out a perfect girl for you to marry. But in a long, long, long, time.

B: Is she going to be pretty?

Me: Baby, she is going to be the most beautiful girl you have ever seen. Like a princess!

B: (huge smile on his face) Wow. God really loves me.

That was adorable. And he is right, God you do love us!!!

-Jan 15th, 2012

Dear God,

I have been the hospital for 2 days and it really feels like I will never get out of here. I am pretty high right now, so I am sure that this does not make sense.

I miss my Adam. And I wish he was here.

I am so glad that my Dad is living in Austin now. Everyday I wake up and find him visiting me. He gets up early and heads over to the hospital. He cracks me up because he doesn't wake me up, just turns on the TV, makes some coffee for himself, and sometimes munches on my breakfast. And I LOVE IT!!!

Thank you for an earthly Father that just loves me. A Daddy who wakes up early in the morning and heads over to hang out with his daughter in the hospital.

-June 17th, 2011

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Where have you been, Jen?

In a short answer? I have been playing "Hotel McManus" for weeks and weeks and weeks now.

Whew that was a crazy bunch of weeks. Last summer when the holidays and family plans came up for discussion, everyone (including me) thought that it would be a WONDERFULLY AWESOME idea that I NOT travel during the holidays. I am still taking chemo shots 3X a week so I get sick a lot and have a low immune system so traveling would have been a disaster. But that also meant that I was host to EVERY family member for Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Was I stressed? Nah not really, I love my family. Did I freak out? Nope, although I did make my family help cook ALL those meals. Was it hard work? Maybe. I washed more sheets, blankets, and towels than I have in years. And I cleaned my house like a mad woman. AND I took a nap everyday no matter what everyone else was doing Did you have fun? I had a BLAST and so did everyone else. RIGHT?

So that is why I have been so quiet lately. I have been loving and being loved on by my family. And without sounding too sappy and silly, it meant a lot to me. Fighting for your life forces you to look at things differently and one of those things is spending time with family. God hand picked my family just for me and this year I was reminded of that even more.
This is my Mom's family. We haven't been "all" together since my wedding 9 years ago. What a blast we had. The weather was perfect, we did all the fun tourist things in Austin, and we were VERY LOUD!

Papa and Debi live in Austin now and we love having them close by. We loved celebrating the season with them. Here we are riding our neighborhood's hayride to see Christmas lights. (That is Hotel McManus in the background, we need to step it up on lights....huh?)

Adam's parents live 3 hours a way on a boat at the BEACH!!! I love the beach. And I also love that they drive up whenever just to spend time with us. We enjoyed a beautiful Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with Granny and Granddad.
Our oldest "son" Daniel still lives with us (which me might have to do FOREVER) and he loves to invite friends over to stay at our hotel. At one point we had 13 people sleeping in our house.

Have you booked time at the Hotel McManus??? We love hosting. We love having fun sharing our city with others. We love the eating. We love the cleaning (well ok I love the cleaning) And we love loving on others. So when can I pencil you in?

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