That’s a shit ton of days, weeks, months and years. Actually, it is 10 years and 10 days to be exact. A lot has happened and setting aside some crappy stuff like the economy that tanked, job loss and financial strains, over-all it was pretty damn spectacular.
Tuesday felt different, like a cosmic freaky “got the feels” kind of way. I do believe you just know.
We had a family meeting last night.
It started off with a bang when Paul announced I was pregnant.
I am not pregnant.
It took a while to convince the kids that this was a bullshit diversion of epic proportion, yet I suppose, as always, Paul is perfect with timing and appropriately set them up for what was about to come.
The Piece of Shit is back.
I didn’t tell them like that, I am a better mother than you may think despite my affinity for four letter words. We do open, honest and transparent in our house. No secrets and no shame. It is hard to talk about real life and it is hard to talk about cancer… but we are facing this as a family and we will support each other through it.
My MRI on Tuesday (3662 days since my first surgery) was awesome. It was a collection of all my favorite human beings. Bromley, my MRI nurse; Stephanie, my former Neurosurgical PA, Emory Radiology staff friends and of course my dear friend Sara who drove me and kept me company. We laughed, I showed off my bad ass melanoma scar, we caught up on life, made promises to do better about making lunch and dinner plans, hugged a lot and laughed A LOT.
Yet, I knew. A faint blanket of peace had fallen over me and I could feel it, I could sense the change and I knew what it was. Oddly, I had no fear, there was no panic, it was a sense of peace an acceptance for the reality I knew and understood.
I could see the change in my scan when I loaded it on my computer Wednesday before I sent it overnight to my surgeon in NYC. You notice things after 10 years of looking at stable scans, especially when you are a photographer.
The Piece of Shit has grown 20-30% since my scan in December. So, the Piece of Shit needs to be removed.
I will be flying to NYC Wednesday and have a clinic visit with my surgeon & friend Costas Hadjipanayis at Mt. Sinai on Thursday, September 6. Surgery is currently scheduled for Friday, September 14. I will be staying in NYC for the duration until I am released to fly back to Atlanta.
As much as I loath and hate radiation, that will be the plan of attack after surgery as well as oral chemotherapy (Temodar). While we pray that the Piece of Shit is still a Grade 2, we are expecting it to be a Grade 3.
Our family will need support and we are asking for it. For the boys, 15 & 13 is a different ball game than 5 & 3 and their needs and their process through this again will be different. Then there is Harper. At 7, this is her first rodeo with my cancer treatment. She’s simply devastated that I will be away for that long and already misses me. Paul. My sweet, hysterical, stubborn, brilliant and strong Paul is devastated and broken in his own deep way, yet remains our rock. I am good. I am emotional, but I am stable and most importantly, I am grounded. I feel confident in my medical team and am deeply grateful for the friends who will be hosting me in NY/NJ when I am gone and recovering. It takes a village and we are blessed beyond measure with ours.
I will update along the way and in the meantime, we ask that you give us a few days to process, work on logistics and establish our plan for the next few months.
For those local friends, we are having a party on Sunday at 4. Bring a side dish, a sense of humor and some alcohol. Life, my friends, needs to be celebrated.
Damn lady! You’re an awesome example for your children as well as all of us. I witnessed the effects of cancer, in my wife’s case it was breast cancer, which took her from me in 2011. Like you, she faced it head on, never complained. I admire you very much and say, keep on fighting, never give up!
Love to you and your family.
Hello Jen….We don’t know each other, yet I find myself reading your blog for the very first time, today September 11, 2018. All I can really say is I’m hoping for the best possible outcome for you. I may have been a few years older than your children are now, but I know what it feels like to see your mom going through brain cancer. My own mother was diagnosed with GBM grade 4 in late August 2012 (I was 31). Sadly, we lost her in May 2014, but when I read about others going through this horrible disease it gives me hope that someone will beat it. My hope right now is that someone is you, and that you can be around for a very long time!
I have been thinking about sending you this for several days and debating whether I should or shouldnât with all you have going on but I try to live my life with no regrets so I decide to send it.
I want you to know how much you mean to me.
I posted a comment about being sorry on Facebook I could not attend your party last weekend that sounded so hollow. Despite our plans and talk about getting together I never seemed to get it done. It has been too long.
I want you to know that your Tattoo of âPersevere has been an inspiration to me as you have dealt with your challenges. I feel like you have taught me how to deal with the challenges of life and keep a sense of humor about it.
I wasnât able to attend your party because I had another seizure (about monthly) . They are controllable with my emergency meds but they wear me out for a day or two. I have also been faced with some other challenges that have me in an MRI tube more than I care to be. I was diagnosed with Kidney cancer and have had a kidney removed but all is good now.
In spite of this I really am doing great. I travel all the time for work and fun and none of this has slowed me down and life has been pretty damn spectacular for me as well.
Like you, I donât want any tears or sympathy, we just deal with this Shit (if I can borrow your term) and move on. Shit is also one of my favorite words.
I think of you every time I go in the tube and one of the comments you made about Bromley a while back in one of your posts. âIt is nice to have someone by your side that understands the magnitude of what you may find outâ.
I really want you to know how much your raw, honest and open comments have helped me deal with this shit. I am able to laugh about the seizures telling my close friends and family , âIt is my time of the month for my cycle to happen and I figure I must have lost at least 1 or 2 pounds by taking out the kidney. Hell, I still have one good one and that is all you need.
I also want you to know I will be thinking of you on the 14th and I am glad Costas will be taking care of you. He is a man we both have tremendous respect and confidence in.
I would rather say this in person to you but at this point this is the only immediate option I have.
All the best my friend and remember I have been through the radiation shit and if you need to talk, I am here. I have and will be praying that the pice of Shit is still Grade 2 and for you and your family.
Love you for who you are
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this email and any files transmitted with it are for the exclusive use of the addressee and may contain proprietary, confidential or privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. To the extent this communication includes technical information subject to U.S. export control regulations, this communication is restricted to persons legally permitted to receive such information. If you have received this message in error, please delete this e-mail and all files transmitted with it from your system and immediately notify the sender by return e-mail. Thank you for your cooperation.
Sending love and prayers to you and your family!
Oh Jen- deep breaths from Charlotte. This is heavy news to learn and my heart is fuller than full for you and your dear family right now. Thank you for sharing such that I can keep you all in my prayers. You’re a warrior of fierce proportions and this POS is an idiot for messing with you again, but you’ll show it who is boss in very due time and in the meantime, I send you every ounce of strength as you move through each hour and day of this particular week and month ahead. Much love your way. xo Alex
I just read this Jen and through tears I want you to know we are thinking and praying for you and your family! Wish I still lived close so I could help. Xoxo
Jen, you are always in my thoughts and I will continue to pray for the best for you, Paul and the kids. Love always, Amy
You and your family are in my thoughts.
Will be praying for you and your family. The piece of shit has picked the wrong person to screw with!. Safe travels!
Jen-when I saw your post, I thought yeah…she hasn’t written in a while and I love reading her blog. After I read it, I was in tears. I struggle with what to say. So much I want to say but worry how it will be taken. I too have cancer (breast). I’ve decided to go the alternative route and have learned so much in this area. I want to share. I want to respect. I want to help. I want to hug you. I want to make this all go away for us both. I want to be there for you and your family. My prayers are going up for you. I had really put this out of my mind…thinking you were healed…I mean geez after 10 years you would think the POS would have given up! I know this is a devastating blow for you and your family and I know you know there is a huge village here for you and Paul and kids. We love you and are here for you. All you need to do is let your need be known and we will flil it. God- I lift Jen and her family up to you now asking for strength, your peace, support. I pray the doctors will choose the best protocols for her . Please surround their family with your peace and healing power. Give Jen the hope and feistiness that keeps her going strong. Let her surgery be successful and recovery be swift and smooth. Thank you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
So sorry Jen…. please keep us updated on your journey. I hate hearing this news. I’m glad you are able to address this with Hadji again. I am confident he will get you through this again. Let us know what you need.
Jennifer, darling… You are beautiful, strong, courageous, resilient, and inspiring. I am gobsmacked by the news of you recurrence. You are in my thoughts and prayers along with your family and loved ones. I carry you in my heart and pray for you that the days ahead go as smoothly as possible. God bless… Kay
Sending much love and prayers Jennifer. I loved meeting you in Charlotte and you are in my thoughts often. Love, Susan Fisher
Sending all of you so much love and support. You, my friend, are truly amazing and I will pray for you every day. I will pray for the solidarity and strength and faith of your family. Love, Kelly
Praying for you. I don’t know you well but I know you are one tough cookie. And you have a great attitude and philosophy. You will beat this.
My heart is broken for you and your children. But I know how strong you are. You are facing this head on as usual and i know you will never give in and never give up. The cards you have been dealt just suck but you continue to face your reality and persevere. You have people rooting and praying for you that you don’t even know about. Hang in there.
Jennifer, I am so very sorry to hear this news. Please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. If
Love you times a million.
Xoxo – One of your village members
Love you guys like you’re my own family. The even better part of that is that I get to choose to love you guys. I’m ready, willing, and able to do whatever I can to help you guys through this phase…