8 years, nearly to date, to when we first learned about the Piece of Shit, life today bears little resemblance to what we knew.
Virtually everything has changed as has how others perceive and define us.
There has been change. Heaping spoonfuls for the better and a pinch of change for the worse.
We’ve shuffled, adjusted, accommodated, faked it until we made it and took risks sharing our journey.
We’ve gained and reconnected friendships while watching other friends disappear. Our journey has not been for everyone and we are and have been unyielding and uncompromising how we’ve chosen to spend our time the past 8 years.
It was an eye-opening experience recently to see how others define and identify me.
Over and over, I wasn’t Jennifer, or Paul’s wife. I wasn’t my children’s mother, a writer, photographer, a patient advocate or somebody’s friend Jennifer who lives in Atlanta.
I was, over and over… “Jennifer with the brain tumor.”
It’s a sobering moment when you realize the definition of who you are has been entirely lost.
The Piece of Shit doesn’t define who I am any more than the color of my eyes does. Who I am is not defined by what remains in my brain, nor is my life defined by my diagnosis.
Who I am and who we are as a family has certainly been shaped by life in general, through a multitude of experiences and certainly shaped by the Piece of Shit. However, I am bigger than this tumor, cancer and dismal statistics. My family is bigger than all of it and I am bigger than your judgment of how you have chosen to identify me.
I am many, SO many things than just “Jennifer with the brain tumor.”
I have worked so very hard in my 39 years to be so much more than “Jennifer with the brain tumor”.
We move on. I move on.
Onward I go as the same deeply complex individual who’s never simply been “Jennifer with a brain tumor”.
I am much, much more if you bother to take the time to let me introduce you to who I am and all that continues to remain.
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Jennifer, I want you to know I think of you as a “Mom” first. Paul might partially prefer those days when the label “hot wife” didn’t have to compete so much with “Mom”. 🙂 And then I think of how you are constantly opening my eyes, in so many ways, through your talent of being able to put inner true feelings so eloquently into words and photos. And then healthy girl, super woman, warrior and more. You are sincerely special, in so many ways.
I know you as Jen G; spunky, witty, edgy, passionate and compassionate. I know you as Jennifer, the one who is always faced with adversity but always finds a way to make lemonade out of lemons. I know you as “Chef Jen” someone who is always making a meal for someone in need. You are amazing
I love you and everything about you.
Sent from my iPhone
Well said….I think of you and call you “my pretend daughter”! …guess it seems a bit weird now, but I have since you were a child. Funny, hunh? ….and I always add, who is an incredible writer, photographer, mother and just a good person. 🙂