Wednesday, March 7, 2012

An update and more

Some days I try my hardest to forget that I don't have cancer. On those days I try to just live life. Some days it works. I forget for a moment that cancer is trying to kill me. Here is one of those days. My brother came to visit and we went and did all the tourist "stuff" in Austin. Like taking a picture in front of a big longhorn. (only in Texas)

Then there are the other days.....The days that I really feel like I have cancer.

One of my biggest struggles is the mental battle cancer wages with you. Having a deadly cancer and trying to beat it takes quite a toll on your mind. I try to do a good job staying positive and I have a strong faith. But some days my mind is weak. My doctor has me on some heavy medications that also make my head fuzzy. I am worst at night after the kids go to bed and find myself most nights just laying on the couch. (That is why I haven't been blogging a lot, it is really hard to even put sentences together)

I am sick and tired all the time. I struggle with headaches from the chemo and frequently have a ice pack on my head to help with the swelling(yes my BRAIN SWELLS...scary huh?) and pain. I have a fever every other day. It usually breaks at around 103 degrees. I hate having a fever!!! I throw up a lot from the meds I'm taking. I am tired.....really tired. Like I sleep over 12 hours a day and am still tired. I get mouth sores, have really dry skin, have thinning hair again, and overall feel like crap all the time.

I am not myself. I try so hard to smile. To be joyful. To laugh. But at nights when I am the sickest, I just can't. I'm on so many meds that mess with my head and most of the time they keep me from being myself. I tried new meds last week and I hate them. They make me loopy and kind of crazy. And I hate feeling that way.

I still work out. I know that you think that it is crazy. But it is the ONE thing that hasn't changed. Well kind of. Unfortunately I am weak. I can't do what I used to be able to do physically. But I still try. My doctor and I agree that going to the gym is one of the reasons I am able to still do this treatment. Did you know that over 70% of people with this cancer do NOT complete the year of chemo? They just give up or their body gives up. Going to the gym is how I fight this from happening to me.

I have a serious, deadly cancer, and I ignore that a lot. I don't ignore that I am sick. I feel sick. But I do ignore the seriousness of my type of cancer. Is that weird? I am not sure. A doctor asked me what kind of cancer I had. When I told him, his face went white and he said that he was so sorry. That felt really weird.

I don't know how you can help me. I'm not good at letting people help out. It makes me feel weak. And I HATE feeling weak. And to be honest I am not sure what I need help with. We have a routine that works right now. And we just keep swimming.

My doctor wants me to go to some cancer camp. Rock climbing and river kayaking in Colorado. It sounds interesting. But I really just want to go to Disneyworld with my family. And I want to go to Haiti with my husband and our friends at @HELP.


Life is still quite perfect. My kids are awesome and we really love the routine we have right now. I can still go to Connor's karate here and there, I love coloring and laying low on my "sick days", we live in the best city that gives us chances to have fun outside and together, I have friends who love me, a Mom who talks to me whenever I need her, and a husband who rocks my socks off. No, seriousily he is really the best. He continues to write me letters everyday (, lays on the couch with me every night, gets up with the kids when I have bad mornings, and makes me laugh.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, I still love Jesus. Ha that sounds funny huh? But I really do. It would be really easy for me to have a problem with Jesus. It would be easy to play the "why me?" game, but I don't at all. I love Him more than ever. I have seen Him get me through so much and I really do feel so lucky and so loved. I trust and believe that His plan is perfect for me. And having cancer will not change that.

*Medical Update: I go in for x-rays next week to make sure everything still looks "good" and that there is no new cancer. We decided to keep trying this higher dosage of chemo even though it took me out for a week or so. We want to get as much in my body as we can, which makes a lot of sense to me.


MagistraCarminum said...

Jen- we've been praying for you daily since a mutual friend pointed us to your web site. Dave is a 20 year survivor from stage 4 melanoma. We know what your struggle is like, and are here to tell you that the strength of Christ will be evident in your weakness. Dave ran through most of his 9+ months of bio-chemo, and when he couldn't run he walked. And when he couldn't walk, he got out of bed and got dressed, and when he couldn't do that, we just kept praying. God's grace was sufficient for us, and now Dave has watched his children grow, and has met his forst two granddaughters. How good is that?!
Praying for you every day-
Chris in NM

I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord,the praises of the Lord,according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel
that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. For he said, “Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely.” And he became their Savior. In all their affliction he was afflicted,and the angel of his presence saved them;in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
~Isaiah 63:7-9

Sandi B. said...

Thanks for the update, Jen. I still can't really imagine all that you're dealing with so as bad as this sounds, it's really good that you write it all out. You're a REALLY good writer too. Thanks for pouring out your heart! I miss you and love you and think back to a year ago when we were dancing the night away at SXSW. We'll do that again someday and it'll be special and fun all over again. Love you!

Anonymous said...

YOU are THE STRONGEST PERSON I KNOW. YOU are an inspiration to this family. I love you. Know that where ever you are on this journey, it is enough. Whether you lie on the couch, go to the gym, laugh, cry, feel angry or sad, be joyful or happy, be weak or strong, it is enough. God will see you through and what a glorious triumph you will have when it's all said and done. Fight the good fight and be glad for it !
Love Nana

Anonymous said...

I know you dont recognize me, and if you did you might be supprised. I think about you often and remember the years we spent together without cancer. A life time of memories that I will not forget, and I still think about. I pray for your mind and your heart that Christ may strenghten them both. Remember, anything is possible through Christ who gives us strength!

Amy said...

i continue to think about you and pray for you!!
still wishing i were there to somehow help!!
hugs to you!

Psalm 94:18-19 "When I said, 'My foot is slipping,' your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."

EastCoastLove said...

Jen thank you for being so open about this journey! You are a beautiful strong woman. Praising the Lord as he walks with you and gives you what you need each an every moment!

Jen McManus said...

Thanks for all the love everyone. This is a hard journey and honestly I could not do it without everyone's support.

@Chris in NM. Wow what a story! I needed to hear it. I haven't been able to talk to anyone who has NED with this cancer. Thank you...thank you!!

@Anonymous person. You are being sneaky. You just can't leave me hanging like that. It is not fair. Email me or Facebook me, ok?

Anonymous said...

I need an email?

Any ideas?

Jen McManus said...

Leah said...

this post makes me love Jesus more too, and I don't know you but I am praying for you.

monica said...

Still praying for you, and so very proud of you.
Love to read what you write--you're gifted and God is using you!!
aloha friend,

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