Hi guys, it’s Jamie again. Jen asked me to update her blog so here I am. :) I love that when I ask Jen to give me the highlights of her health journey so that I can post accurately, her text is SO LONG that it has an arrow at the end. Has anyone even seen that before? No. Is anyone surprised by this? No. I’m the first one to tell you I write long texts, so I have no business throwing stones. But mine has never had an arrow at the end indicating ‘there’s more’.
See that little arrow on bottom right (>)? When you click on that bad boy an ENTIRE NOVEL pops up. I’m not kidding. Oh how I love my verbose friend. I’m debating on whether or not to just cut and paste the rest of her text and call it a day. As much as I’d love to, however, I’ll try to do this post justice by relaying HER words through MY words. (I can just see Mrs. Merryman, Señora Plexco, Coach Hines and Mrs. Snell harkening back to the day of hearing both HER words and MY words all day long while trying to use THEIR words in class – so sorry about that!).
Anyhoo, Jen is doing this in Florida right now in case you are wondering.
While Linc is doing this…
And while it all looks and sounds like a little piece of paradise, she is still hurting a bit as you can read above in her text to me (right before the ARROW indicating you are about to read WAR and PEACE).
And while I was joking about copying and pasting Jen’s text, I just finished reading it and I am totally going to copy and paste it. She even wrote it as she were writing a blog. And she called herself out on it at the end of her text. Like why didn’t she just write the darn thing?! And it’s a good thing because the end is actually all I ever read. In ANY novel.
So here is Jen’s latest update:
– started radiation to spine and hip/femur on Tu – going well until Friday and back pain that escalated to 10 by Sat if, heaven forbid, I needed a deep breath or cough or LAUGH. Pain was in new area and felt like a broken rib.
– doctors on Monday speculating that back pain is bc if radiation and as they target the spine it causes temporary inflammation that is pushing on nerves along the left/right of the spine (T8-T11 for the medical peeps). The original pain which prompted radiation for relief was on left side so I didn’t connect it to radiation when the pain was on right side but makes sense when it’s explained as mirror image of original pain and inflammation from the spine.
– expected to also likely have tummy issues and esophagus issues nc radiation waves cross all those areas but nothing too troubling yet.
– I’ve had 6 out of 15 treatments – at Monday’s appt (and via text from Dr O at 8p on the first day she arrived from a 2 week vacation … Who does that?) I learned that my liver numbers were up
– these ‘tumor markers’ are supposed to be 1-6 in healthy people and when I first got diagnosed in Feb 2012 mine was 1.2. When re-diagnosed as stage 4 (Dec 2014) they were 25 and over the last 18 months have, on average, stayed in that area w some bounces up to 60 but also coming down to 11 when various chemos worked for short seasons. So, NOT GOOD when the same number that was 30 on last blood test was 140. Dr O had two possible explanations: 1. Not good or 2. Can happen when chemo kills a lot of cells that are dead and turn into protein before they can be flushed out of liver (or something like that?). If it’s 2. we would see them start to go down after first cycle of chemo (cycle for this round is 2 weekly treatments and then 14 days off) and I was at the tail end of first cycle w chemo again on TH if my other numbers were high enough.
– based on blood work on Monday, we were very pleased to hear that both the ‘tumor markers’ they measure were down from 140 to 120! And are THANKFUL and HOPEFUL they will continue to come down. I don’t really know what 140 means but something tells me that being 40-45x the max of normal/healthy range just might not be a good sign for my livers ability to do its job
– in other blood news, the numbers for white and red blood cells were pretty low (expected on this chemo). Not at dangerous levels (i.e. not needing blood transfusion) but at ‘wash your hands and don’t get sick and if you get a fever call me immediately…’ levels.
– as for the don’t get sick, it wasn’t such good news to find L sooo hot yesterday and not eating breakfast or lunch and telling him his throat hurt and requesting a nap. Who is that kid?! In my mom-greatness (or denial) I didn’t connect dots of potential sickness until he put his face against mine and I felt the temperature. And what does any good mom do in that situation!? Ice cream. And while he’s not the most photogenic kid (Scott and I blame his parents) I think it’s funny that he can’t take his eyes of the ice cream even for a picture.
But the best news of all is the location of the picture and the timing of bad news mingled w good news and needed rest… In the picture, Linc is at gate 5 headed to the beach. Or, as Scott overhead him telling his teacher at school when he picked him up early yesterday, ‘I’m going to the beach. It’s called Summerside.’ Or Seaside?! Tho actually it’s neither and we are going to a friends house in Rosemary Beach with a couple girls and then repeating our fall trip to Watercolor (sooo thankful for generosity of the Harrells!) with friends and family starting Friday when Scott and the rest of the gang arrives.
Speaking of trips, I’ve gone quiet on blog so never shared the post hospital update that we decided, after 12 days in the hospital, that it would be too hard to spend 2 nights together as a family and then leave at 430a, without Lincoln, for Turks and Caicos. So, in our friends grace and kindness, they rescheduled the trip for us and we are sooo excited that it could be so soon. We are headed back to beach (sans a 4yo!) on May 14. As if we weren’t sooo excited before, this just gave us another month of counting down the days!
[Jamie again starting here]
Y’all. This was ALL IN A TEXT. A TEXT. And I’m afraid to even ask her if she did it via voice text because that girl has mastered the art of voice texting. We laugh because when I attempt voice texting with Siri, and say ‘period’ at the end of my sentences, Siri always just types out ‘period’. That can be unfortunate in some situations. But JEN. She just bosses Siri around with her ‘period’, ‘exclamation point’ and ‘comma’ and Siri LISTENS. I’m reduced to thinking Siri obeys me about as well as my children do. Period.
And to make a long post even longer, I do need to interject one more thing before you get swept away with dreamy visions of Turks & Caicos, Rosemary Beach, Watercolor, etc. This journey is not for the faint of heart. It can take your emotions from ceiling to floor in about 2.2 seconds. I’m sure those of you who are close to Jen or anyone with cancer can relate. I can’t even wrap my brain around how Scott, Lincoln or Jane must feel. My heart breaks for them. And even though I’ve actually gone awhile without crying, the last few times I’ve been with Jen I’ve cried. And by crying I mean super ugly cry – not dainty tears. What is up with THAT?! I think the Lord is continuing to remind me to cherish every moment I have with my people. I often wonder if this experience with Jen has changed me forever in a way that I will not ever take my relationships for granted again. I sure hope so. Jen and I have had so much FUN through all of this that sometimes I forget what she is facing and how this will all end. But other times something will trigger my heart and mind and remind me that our time together is limited. Our laughs are limited. Our hugs are limited. Our times for sharing stories is limited. Our times for her introducing me to fancy food is limited (and thank goodness for that ’cause my pants are getting snug). And in those times, every single second feels like a gift. I like to take a mental picture of these moments hoping that in the future I can somehow recall them with abundant joy. I know we joke a lot both on this blog and in person. But I have to be honest that it’s getting real up in here people. This cancer is everywhere. And it doesn’t want to go away. I LOVE my friend dearly. And I’m so very proud of her. To watch her embrace life, embrace family, embrace friends and most importantly embrace Jesus in spite of her circumstances is one of the best examples of a true believer I’ve ever seen. And I imagine God is up there putting a little arrow (>) in the bottom right corner of Jen’s life saying to her ‘there’s more’ to be done here on earth, good and faithful servant. And for that, we are grateful.
Much love to you all,
PS: No one was harmed (or exhausted) in the building of this amazing sand castle except maybe the people who actually built it. But it does make for an incredibly precious photograph, don’t you think?
PSS: Sorry for any typos, Leo Tolstoy, but I’m not ABOUT to go back and proofread this novel.