Category Archives: Me and Cancer

Nicole

This has been a tough few years for us at MWC. I think every death hits us harder and we can’t get out of the slump. At least I can’t. I find myself driving my kids around and just shedding tears, trying to hide them from my children because Lord knows they’ve seen their mom cry way too much. Even if they were small enough to not remember going through treatment, they know all too well the emotional pain it’s taken on me. It’s another thing to worry about.
I’m still coming to grips with Nicole’s passing. I’m not really sure how we found each other but I’m pretty sure it was through Susan’s blog. Nicole had been diagnosed just before me and we started commenting on each others blog. Supporting, kind words, encouraging words. Then we blogged together on MWC. Then we were Facebook and twitter friends, although we both lacked the incentive to tweet much. She was my first twitter friend. Then we were featured in an article together here
In May we had a discussion about how hard it is to watch our friends die of cancer. How when we started MWC it didn’t really occur to us the toll it would take on us to watch our friends die of this horrible disease. To know these precious moms would have to say goodbye to their children.
I can’t believe I’m here 6 months later and Nicole is gone. Her sweet children lost their mom way to early. And we at MWC are grieving the loss yet again of one of our own. Nicole was a special person and a support to so many of us. She introduced me to boob humor often laughing at her lopsidedness and nicknames for them. I’m forgetting now some of the terms she used but maybe my MWC friends could help me out. I just remember having a good laugh at her descriptions and silly stories of the pain of prosthetics.
I will deeply miss you Nicole, even though we never met in person. There will be a huge void in my life from losing you, Sarah and Susan. When your faces pop up on my Facebook or when I’m driving somewhere or something reminds me of you…like the knitters at Panera. And the most I can do is pray for the family you left behind and that Jesus will hold them close.

Advertisements
Tagged

The Pink Owl Project

What can I say…I have no time to write. For the past 6 weeks I lived and breathed nursing school, Pink Owl Project, and teaching at Spring Arbor. Jeremy and I have been living a bit like ships in the night. He started teaching at SAU as I finished last week.
But the most fascinating news with me is this crazy little Pink Owl Project. We had our first show at the Kalamazoo Art Hop on November 2. We were such a hit the Park Trades Center asked us to come back for the December 7th Art Hop!
I’m hoping that as I get my final nipple tattoos in December, my connection to breast cancer will take on a different form. I’ve been feeling healthier and stronger over the past few months and I’m excited to see if my passion for cancer research might take me somewhere….yes, there are some secrets up my sleeve…and I’ll be excited to share them if they happen!
Check out our site at:
Www.pinkowlproject.com
And don’t forget to donate to an awesome researcher at University of Michigan: Sofia Merajver.

Under Threat!

Looking forward to reading this book….check out this article and book and the threat/assault against our breasts!

Tagged , , ,

I’m Gonna Love You Through

“After a few days, Jesus returned to Capernaum, and word got around that he was back home. A crowd gathered, jamming the entrance so no one could get in or out. He was teaching the Word. They brought a paraplegic to him, carried by four men. When they weren’t able to get in because of the crowd, they removed part of the roof and lowered the paraplegic on his stretcher. Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, “Son, I forgive your sins.”

Some religion scholars sitting there started whispering among themselves, “He can’t talk that way! That’s blasphemy! God and only God can forgive sins.”

Jesus knew right away what they were thinking, and said, “Why are you so skeptical? Which is simpler: to say to the paraplegic, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or say, ‘Get up, take your stretcher, and start walking’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both . . .” (he looked now at the paraplegic), “Get up. Pick up your stretcher and go home.” And the man did it—got up, grabbed his stretcher, and walked out, with everyone there watching him. They rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then praised God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:1-12

I recently spoke at my church on this passage.  I challenged the congregation to be “mat carriers” for each other and talked about the “mat carriers” I experienced while going through cancer.  Then I saw this video and it reminded me of how much it means when people reach out to you and truly care for you during difficult times in your life.  The paraplytic had four friends who carried him to Jesus, they dug through a roof to get him to the feet of Jesus.

So thankful for the people who cared for me and went above and beyond to help me feel His presence…..even today.

Tagged , , ,

Confessions Of A 5 Year Old

At 4 pm we made the switcheroo.

Jeremy came home from work and I ran out the door to a meeting with my web designer (it’s slow, but it is coming soon) and then to go meet with some folks for a run.

I had chicken in a marinade for Jeremy to grill, I set out some brown rice and showed him where he could find vegetables to throw in the microwave.

And I ran out the door.

Fast forward to 7:30 pm.  I arrive home and drink a gallon of water because it’s outrageously humid here in Michigan.  Then I set about looking for leftovers.  I managed to find the chicken and the rice.  “Jeremy” I yelled, were there any vegetables left? 

To this he answered.  “I didn’t make the vegetables.”

“Honey, you seriously fed the children only grilled chicken and plain brown rice?”

“Yup,” he answered.

So I heat up the leftovers, including the vegetables, which were the easiest because they were the microwavable vegetables with teriyaki sauce, and I go outside to sit on the front porch to eat my dinner.

Meleah comes out and sits next to me. 

As usual, my deep thinker asks me why God made tornados.  This of course led to a long drawn out answer from me starting with Adam and Eve and how we now know both really good and really bad.  Which of course led us to discussion on death and dying.

And my children do recognize I had a brush with death when I battled cancer and so she mentioned that I hadn’t died.

So I asked her if she would miss me if I died.  And she always gets this silly grin because the girl KNOWS how to tease, and she paused for a second and she finally said “yes mommy, I’d miss you if you died.” And she laughs.

And I say “You better miss me if I died!” 

And I went on “look, who’d cook you vegetables little girl, not your dad, that’s for sure!  And I make you breakfast and lunch and clean up after you…..”

And as I’m rambling all the reasons she should be really grateful I’m alive, she cuts me off and says in a really loud voice to make sure I hear:

“And mommy, you wipe me after I poop!”

And that my friends tells it all right there.

I knew I was good for something darn it!

“For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.”But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don’t have to make it worse—and it’s doomsday to you if you do.” (Mathew 18:2-6)

 

Tagged ,

Breast Cancer Survivor’s Beach Day Oath

1.  I will go to the beach and not let insecurity keep me from enjoying the sunny days of summer.

2.  I will not COVET my neighbors breasts, even the saggy ones.

3.  I will let people imagine how I got my funky tan lines.  

4.  I will make-believe that the blue dots on my chest from radiation actually do look like freckles.

5.  I will not keep hiking up my bathing suit top and sneaking peeks at my chest to make sure my scars aren’t showing.

6.  I will not care if my chest is super flat, it makes me look thin.

7.  I will find a nice bathing suit with a lining I can cut a hole in for the prosthetics instead of buying those expensive bathing suits where they cut the hole for you, Because breast cancer is expensive enough.

8.  I will live by today’s research and wear SPF approved by EWG if I’m out in the middle of the day for more than a half-hour, but if it’s less than that I won’t wear any to get my dose of VITAMIN D, which is supposed to keep cancer away. 

9.  I will try to keep up with current research just in case rule 8 changes.

10.  I will imagine people are looking at me because “I”M HOT,” and not for any other insecurity I have about my body or my chest.

Tagged , ,

Big Scary Dog

Yesterday we went to meet the newest member of our family. He’s small a furry and a mix of yorkie and havanese. After meeting him it was 100% yes. He’s docile, doesn’t seem to bark, and he’s sweet and gentle. He likes to chew though. This comes standard in puppies I hear.

Most people get a dog before kids for practice. My decision was based on Elijah being potty trained and right about now I’m wishing fo another baby to love. That isn’t going to happen ever again, so that is how we came to a long planned decision to get a dog.

Those reasons and that I’m two years cancer free and feel like I’ll be around to see the little pup grow up. I can commit to him.

Charis has also been begging for months now.

Here’s the most challenging part of having cute little cuddly friend.

The two youngest are totally afraid of him. I’m not kidding you. It seems ridiculous, but it’s true.

You can see them climbing up the couch in fear of the beast.

Any suggestions would be great!

Tagged ,

6 Words or Less

Last year someone mentioned coming up with my “life testimony” in 6 words or less.  As I was driving home tonight after having an hour to myself, the DJ on the radio mentioned this 6 word testimony thing again.  My old history professor at Greenville College despised wordiness.  I probably have him to thank for cleaning up my writing in college.  Although he would probably have a heart attack if he read my blog, because I am very wordy.  I create words.  Call me George W. Bush.  But I’m probably way less (even that was too wordy) wordy than I would have been had it not been for dear old Dr. J.

So as I was driving home I was thinking about what I would say if I could give a six word testimony.

And I was thinking how hard it would be, for me, to say anything in six words or less.  It may be impossible.

My first inclination is to lean toward something like:

“dark chocolate, dark coffee, dark men.” 

(My husband gets a healthy tan BTW, just for the record)

But that would be way too shallow, and I don’t want to admit that at times I lack depth.

So my second try might look something like this:

“Cancer scary, ministry scary, life scary.”

But this seems far too negative and redundant, but man, do I feel like this sometimes.  It seems like life is more scary redundant than not these days.  (If this makes sense to you then you have had repetitive hurts in your life and we are bonding through this blog right now.  Hugs dear one.)

And then I noticed that the skies were getting dark and it was about to rain, and this occurred to me:

“Weather volatile, shelter in the Son.”

And I liked it.  So that’s my six word testimony today.  Tomorrow might be different since I’m prone to changing my mind.

What’s your six word testimony?  I’d love to hear it?

Tagged , ,

Dear Mr. H

Dear Mr H,

What a very interesting experience it was running in to you the other day.

Since my son is three, it doesn’t shock me for him to experiment in touching things. This is pretty normal for three year olds. But what did shock me was your response when he knocked down the books next to you. I’m pretty sure it shocked my son when you hissed “Jesus Christ” loud enough for half the library to hear. You see, we tend to only use that name in a respectful tone or in prayer.

So it didn’t surprise me that he ran back to me quickly.

But it did shock me….again…when you were waiting for me with my three children after we were at the help desk to get right in my face about how my son knocked books down, or how when I walked to pick them up you followed me to continue to berate me. Like you needed to make sure I knew you thought I was a bad mom.

I was shocked and numb by your actions. If you were hoping to upset a random mom in the library, you did a good job. If you hoped to ruin a young mom’s day by ridiculing normal three year old behavior, you succeeded.

But what you didn’t probably expect is that I knew you, Mr. H. You see, I took music lessons as a child from your wife. And more recently I was the woman who welcomed you to the yoga class at the cancer center and spoke positive words to you about your diagnosis and treatment. I don’t think you remembered that, or me for that matter, but I remember you.

I want to thank you Mr. H, for ruining my day, and reminding me, following cancer, that every day is a gift. Every day I have the power to do good. My words can hurt or heal. I thank God for every day that I have to be a positive influence in someone’s life.

I’m sure I shocked you when I told you I knew you from the cancer center. I did so to remind you that life is far too short to worry about someone’s else’s child knocking some books on the floor.

Or spilled milk, or being late, or what you should wear that day.

And I meant it when I told you that “you could have chosen to be nice but instead you chose to be mean.”

Thank-you cancer and thank-you Mr. H for reminding me of this.

Sincerely,
Jen

(1 Peter 1:5-7)

“So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.”

Tagged , ,

July 7

Today I cannot play blogger. I am only mom. I spent the morning consoling a sweet little boy who couldn’t move because his neck hurt so bad. He cried to go to the doctor so I took him to a walk in clinic, who sent us on to Bronson for the pediatric specialists. Thankfully, our fears of meningitis were not realized and he is home but still clingy.

Today I’m thankful for good doctors who were kind to my son, and for the great doctors who put me back together so well that I held a 35 pound 3 year old ALL day and he had nice pillows to lay on.

I love being mom and I love being here on July 7, 2010 to comfort my children.

Tagged , ,