Miscellaneous Musings and MD Anderson

It’s another of those days where my mind is full of thoughts but I have no clue how to organize them. You should know me well enough to read that as a forewarning of potential for randomness and ramblings:) But, I do have some updates and wanted to share. So thankful for prayers – the ones answered and the ones offered.

Maybe that’s as good of a way to start as any … answered prayers! I continue to feel better and better and better. On Friday night, as Scott and I went out (another thanks for Friday night babysitters!), he commented that he thinks my energy level is not only back from surgery but even pre-chemo levels. And I agree! I hadn’t put those words on it but, for the past 6 months, even on days when I felt pretty decent, I would catch myself spontaneously exhaling – tired from doing basic tasks like loading Linc in car, carrying groceries in from store, or getting in/out of shower. And, by God’s grace, with chemotherapy drugs and anesthesia out of my system, I feel much more like my old self. Also, I feel like my right arm works again! I can reach the glove compartment once again, reach around to touch Lincoln in his carseat, and even made it back to the gym this week. I’ve tried to heed the doctor’s lectures (and they are indeed lectures!) about fighting fatigue with exercise so, though it’s almost impossible to fathom that I’ve ever run a marathon or even more than a mile, I am actually back out for long walks and maybe even a few minutes of jogging when I feel really crazy:) Speaking of crazy, when you’re jogging and using your right arm to hold your right boob as backup for the sports bra, it’s definitely a crazy look. But, whether it’s mental or real, the idea of a bouncing boob or armpit (where scars are) still makes me nervous about any type of bouncing movement. But, with just a little exercise and a lot less drugs, I feel like we are back to more normal energy levels … and I’m SO THANKFUL! Nothing makes you appreciate feeling good like feeling bad.

Speaking of good … With my renewed energy levels, when my brother in law texted on Saturday to invite Scott to go to the Tech game later that day, I chimed in with “yes for Scott … but what about me?” Now, I’ll admit that it was easy to say that when they were flying (the road trip would have been different story!) but, needless to say, I was thrilled to be up for it and get the invite too:) So, Linc went to spent the night with Travis and Emmy Kate and I went to my first Tech football game, made some fun new friends, and sat beside my husband while he enjoyed his mistress – Tech football.

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And, more answered prayers … As we got the biopsy report a couple weeks ago post-surgery and realized that we had a harder road ahead than we’d expected, it brought back the discussion of seeking second opinions. Since the beginning, I’ve resisted second opinions for several reasons: 1. The effort seemed exhausting (as Scott says, I can be “mentally lazy”) to have more clipboards, more phone calls, more family history discussions, and more coordination for care for Linc and 2. I really think we have awesome doctors and 3. I’m more of a people-pleaser than I realized and though I know she’ll understand I cringed at the thought of telling Dr. Osborne (for fear it would seem to reflect dissatisfaction with her – which is totally not the case!). My mom has really wanted a second opinion (reminding me that she read that “87% of doctors, when they’re the patient, get second opinions …”) but that wasn’t enough to get me motivated. I committed to pray about it. She suggested I ask Jen Welsh – she is one of my dear friends and college roommates and a doctor. She strongly encouraged it. We’ll either get peace of mind with confirmation or, if they have different counsel, we’ll have the benefit of that as well. And, one of my best friends, Jamie (aka B) is married to a doctor whom I love (ie, he’s not only her husband but my friend) and he has done everything short of beg me to consider a second opinion since the first diagnosis. On Friday night, Scott and I agreed we’d pursue it. The next morning, after listening to another encouraging message from Jen, the Lord brought to mind a dear old friend who moved to Houston. I haven’t seen Amy in years but we served together in HighLight (a Thursday night Bible study at Watermark) for several years before she moved to Houston. I went looking for Amy’s number but couldn’t find it so sent a message on Facebook – all I said was, “remind me again … do you work at MD Anderson?” She’s a nurse and I just couldn’t remember for sure if that’s where she worked. To make a long sweet story short, we exchanged emails over the weekend but her first message back to me was, essentially, that she’d been praying about whether or not to reach out and encourage me to come (she had been following on blog), she had already given her physicians an overview of my case and they’d thought the same, and that she would have someone call me on Tuesday (since they were closed on Monday) to set up the appointment So, for the girl who dreads the phone, scheduling, and coordinating, for MD Anderson to call me by Tuesday morning at 9:30 was an incredible blessing. Not to mention my friend who will actually be my nurse when I go. I have an appointment for next Monday! They even offered me one as soon as Friday but Scott is going fly-fishing and I’m going to A&M with Lincoln to see Mel and Gulley (and to get help with Linc though they will be learning that little secret for the first time as they read this!) and we don’t need cancer to get in the way of fly fishing or fun with friends! So I was thankful that our fun weekend plans could stay in tact and we’ll just be up and at ’em at the crack of dawn on Monday, while Linc goes to his Nana’s, and we head to MD Anderson. I’ll have mammograms and other imaging down around 11:30 then meet with a breast cancer radiologist at 3pm. And, since Dr. Tereffe (who is an Ethiopian female and since I am partial to dark skin and Africans this made me extra happy!) will likely suggest seeing a medical oncologist as well, we could have additional appointments on Tuesday or in the future. I am ecstatic. Not only did the Lord clearly direct our paths, as we prayed, but He also made them smooth. That takes my mind and heart to Isaiah 42:16: I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them. Yes, I will indeed do these things; I will not forsake them. That’s exactly what He’s done. We are so thankful for friends that are doctors, friends that are nurses, friends that can get me into MD Anderson so quickly, Nana to keep Lincoln, and friends that pray. Thank you Jesus.

And, on to more comical cancer topics, I would now like to see a show of hands of who among you knows who the heck Amber Rose is?! No, I’m serious, I want to know. Raise your hand and let me see it. Because, clearly, this 40 year old had no idea who she was. But I do now …

So, I pull into ChickFilA drive through and the kid at the window says, “has anyone ever told you you look like Amber Rose?”
I said, “No, who’s Amber Rose?” The kid looked very disappointed and said to his buddy, “she doesn’t know who Amber Rose is!” I wanted to say, “dude, I’m 40 and do you see the carseat in the back? I’m maybe not as hip as you seem to think!” I said, “So, who is she …?” He said, “She’s HOT!” I liked where this was going. But, assuming she was a cancer patient or somehow sick, I said, “so why does she have a bald head?” and he said, “I don’t know, I guess she likes it?!” I drove off laughing – and confused. And dying to see what Amber Rose looked like. I quickly googled her. The only thing we have in common is a fuzzy head. I’m no model, actress, socialite or engaged to a rapper. Nor have I recently posed for Louis Vuitton. But, I am flattered. I am flattered that he finds any resemblance to me and the model and that he thinks this 40 year old mom would even know who Amber Rose is. And, the truth is, I later realized that he actually thinks I chose this hairstyle – he thinks that, like her, there’s no reason for a buzz except that I like it. Well, that’s not exactly the case but I’ll take the compliment. And, not but a few miles after that, a drove past a real tatted up guy in a big truck (and I’m fine with tats and trucks!) who gave me the double fist-to-chest pump followed by a big smile and wave. I was sure it was more love for the cancer girl until, later, as I reflect on my recent Amber Rose conversation, that maybe he just thinks I’m rockin’ the bald/shaved and maybe I’m his people?! Nevermind the SUV and carseat and 40 years old?! I may feel tired and forty but I’m likin’ it that the kid at ChickFilA and the tatted up dude on 75 have decided I’m much cooler than I really am.

So, I’ll take my cool self on down to Houston next week and see what those doctors have to say. My heart is full. He has provided friends to meet so many of our physical needs and friends who are physicians and friends who can escort me right into MD Anderson. We are abundantly blessed. I echo the words of Nehemiah that I read this week: You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. My God, who alone is Lord, has made me and preserves me. I am happy I’m His.

Much love from the Clouse House to your house.

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8 thoughts on “Miscellaneous Musings and MD Anderson

  1. Love your post- praying for next Monday and I am not kissing rear here you are gorgeous- smiling and beaming joy at target and north park- thank you for being you- blessed to see you 2 days in a row-
    Love and prayers sister-
    Guns up!!
    Shareese

  2. That was really exciting to read! I just loved reading how the LORD is working, and that He’s gone ahead of you, coordinating, preparing hearts, providing a second opinion and bringing it all together. God is good! God is Sovereign, and He has you! Praying!

  3. Jennifer, I am so happy how He has led you and given you so much peace in this!!! That is definatley from Him, knowing all the things you were feeling about more opinions…. and also knowing you.! I do believe all who know and love you are terribly excited for this to happen! Have fun this weekend and following His clear path to Houston! Love you so, MB

  4. I’m so relieved to hear that you are going to MDA. My mom went there for 14 years when she found out she had Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer. The doctors can be a little impersonal – maybe you’ll get a nice one. Just wanted to warn you. My mom’s doctor for over 10 years told her that he wouldn’t even recognize her if he saw her on the street and doesn’t even know her name. She is just a “case number”. But they are the best and you’ll be in the best hands in my opinion.

  5. Jennifer…..Each posting on your blog is such a blessing to me! Traveling this journey with you is such an inspiration and learning process. While I wish I were being blessed without the big C being a part of the story, I remain confident that the Lord who has begun a good work in you will bring it all to fruition in a way that will honor and glorify Him.. Now Houston will be touched by your faith and those doctors and nurses just don’t know what they are in for with Jennifer on the way 🙂 You go girl!!!!

  6. WooHoo – Nana gets Linc! Jen, glad you are making the trek to Houston and absolutely agree that second opinions are like more than one bid on a construction project (Scott knows) – you have to make certain that you are getting the absolute best advice and care even though you have great confidence in your current doctor, I know that she would not be the least bit upset with your decision to explore options. And yes, we are so excited to spend some extended time with the grandbaby – Papaw is already asking, which room will he sleep in? Does he like to swim? and more….love you, and support you and your decisions 100%! Mom

  7. Teared up some joy on how sweet our God is who spoke words of encouragement and light to you through a teenage kid at Chickfila…Seriously, hilarious and awesome how creative He can be to speak to us throughout our day! 🙂 You ARE beautiful, radiating His glory as a Proverbs 31 women and wife..Praying for this trip, excited to see how the Lord has planned the next steps for you!

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