Hey guys, this is Jamie (aka Aunt B, B, etc.). I’ve been tasked with updating Jen’s blog again today. Let me just start by saying you know the feeling you get when you have to follow someone completely awesome at something? (Probably like how Brock Osweiler feels when he comes in for Peyton Manning during a Broncos game or like when Solange Knowles performs after Beyonce.) Well, that’s me right now. Jen is so amazing with words and following her feels a wee bit intimidating. But here we go nonetheless.
Yesterday Jen started feeling nauseated, had a headache and started vomiting. Today, it started all over again and Aunt Liz and Gigi were quick to come to her aide. This is typical behavior for Jen’s body after chemo, but she was unable to have chemo this week due to a low platelet count. Because of that, she texted Dr. Osborne, who suggested she come in for an MRI to rule out anything going on in her brain. I picked Jen up and we headed to the hospital around 9:45 to see nurse Christina who helped access her port. We then made our way over to a different building to check in for MRI, where we were joined by Scott. While Jen went back for her MRI, Scott and I walked over to join many of Jen’s close friends and mother who had already planned to meet at Baylor with the child life specialist that morning. (She will update you on that part later I’m sure – such a gift in so many ways).
Our instructions were to contact nurse Christina after the MRI to see if she had the results. She had told us previously that she ordered the results to come back STAT. Now listen, I’ve seen enough Grey’s Anatomy to know what that means. However, that must only work on TV because this particular STAT allowed us enough time to eat a leisurely lunch with the group in the hospital cafe AND play a round of monopoly in the waiting room. (Or maybe it just felt like that). Christina even came out to the waiting room to let us know there was a glitch in the electronic transfer of the results. She told us we could either stay there and wait it out, or go home and she would call Jen once she had the results. Um…have you MET this crew? We debated for a millisecond, planted firmly in our chairs, and decided to wait it out.
Eventually, Christina called for us, and the group (Scott, Jane, CC & Gigi) headed back to the exam room. At that point, she let us know that the MRI show a ‘met’ (short for metastasis) in her brain. The mood of the room suddenly changed and we all settled in to that place we don’t like to go. I think it’s called reality. Further explanation revealed that the ‘met’ was small (under a centimeter) and that there were also spots on her skull. The skull spots weren’t too alarming because we already have the knowledge that cancer has spread to her bones. (And even though this was new information to us, it wasn’t as significant of a finding according to Christina.) The ‘met’ in her brain, however, was a new character we didn’t want to introduce to this already sad story. We don’t know, nor will we ever, if this ‘met’ is new or has been there awhile. Up until this point, Jen’s brain hasn’t been scanned. But what it confirms is that the cancer is spreading and will likely continue to surprise us in unexpected places. Reality, does in fact, bite.
The next course of action will be for Jen to meet with a different doctor (who deals primarily with brains) on Wednesday to get scheduled for radio surgery. From what I understand, this is radiation to eradicate the ‘met’, and will be an outpatient surgery. It can last anywhere from 1-3 days total (meaning she may have to come several days in a row). She will stay on the same chemo treatment for now, and will possibly have a scan sooner than anticipated to check the rest of her body (as of now, insurance only pays for a scan every 3 months and her last one was at the end of May).
As you might expect, Jen, in typical fashion, began seeing God’s goodness and provision immediately despite this setback. She saw how the Lord allowed her to get sick, really sick, on the day her family & friends were already scheduled to meet at Baylor allowing some sweet fellowship while receiving difficult news. She saw how he allowed her to get sick, really sick, despite the fact that she hadn’t even had chemo so her doctor’s wouldn’t dismiss it as just a side affect. (Side note: they believe Jen may have a virus of some sort, but the nausea and vomiting are not necessarily related to the ‘met’). She saw how he allowed connections with her friends & family to the child life specialist helping Linc and to the nurse coordinating the surgery. In other words, she saw how He is in all of the details. And she continues to acknowledge that at every turn. It’s a beautiful thing to watch her share God’s sovereignty with every single person involved in this process without her even knowing that she’s doing it. She loves the Lord and trusts Him with each step. And even though that seems impossible given her circumstances, I’m here to tell you it’s consistent and it’s real.
In closing, I hope you understand that processing all of this, for me, requires some element of humor. I would hate for you to mistake my somewhat cavalier prose above for lack of concern or understanding about the serious nature of what we are facing. Jen and I are together a lot and can joke about even the most serious of things. It’s how we do it. It’s how we’ve always done it. But I also really hope you understand that I love my friend with all of my heart and I wouldn’t wish this journey on anyone. It’s been the most excruciating thing to watch someone I love being poked and prodded all of the time and land in countless exam rooms never knowing what she’s going to hear from the doctor. But this is where we are. And this is where she is. And I rest assured knowing that our Lord and Savior has a master plan that will eventually bring glory to His name.
Jen just texted and asked that I share this verse in my post, which I found extremely appropriate to my aforementioned point about Jen. (Also, she likes to have the last word, so this proves THAT point. Thanks Beyonce.)
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.” I Corinthians 4:7-10
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.