When I was in high school I had an exciting 3-summer career at Six Flags. At the peak of my tenure there I was promoted to ‘assistant foreman’ of Flashback – at the time, that was the park’s newest ride. So, in short, you could say I was pretty much just a few promotions away from CEO. Or at least that’s what it sounded like if you read my resume after college. Lots of folks had fancy internships and I instead had worked at Six Flags but as my dear friend, Chris Hite, said after reading my resume ‘you make it sound like the whole park couldn’t open unless you were there!’ That pretty much sums it up. Or not.

Flashback was a roller coaster that went forward and then did the same route completely in reverse. And, sometimes, that’s what cancer treatment feels like. Full speed ahead and then all comes to a screeching halt and it seems like you are going the wrong direction…

As we’ve shared we are super excited about getting a spot in the trial and access to new medicines.  Yesterday, I had an appointment with Dr. Osborne and met with Nancy to begin the pre-trial testing (blood work, urine analysis, and EKG). We had barely been seated in the exam room  before Nancy came in and her first words were ‘your platelets are too low for the trial.’ Thankfully, that isn’t necessarily a permanent conclusion (please pray that it’s not?!) but it’s not exactly encouraging news either. They are just below the minimum threshold of 75. And there’s nothing to do (medically) to boost platelets. As more blood work results came in she also informed us that my ANC (absolute neutrophil count which are the front-line cells for fighting infections) were less than half of what they need to be – need to be 150,000 and mine are only 70,000. There is a shot I could take to increase neutrophils but they need my body to increase them on its own. And, lastly, though it doesn’t affect the trial, the blood work confirmed the anemia that I expected. I have learned to listen to my body – but don’t always like what I hear. I knew that I was very easily tired (winded from just a set of stairs) and my red blood count confirmed the fatigue I feel.

So, here we are. Again. Reminded that sometimes a few steps forward is followed by feeling like we are all of a sudden going the wrong direction. Thankfully I still have scans scheduled for tomorrow and we look forward to that information to, hopefully, help explain some back pain and internal pain and coughing. And the scans are baseline information for the trial and not factors for acceptance. We will take blood again tomorrow to see if it’s trending positively. We would appreciate your prayers for it to bounce back. Dr. O is hopeful that these are side effects from the most recent medicine which slows the cell growth – but in impeding the cancer cells the good cells also take a hit. Lord willing, they can start to rally.

And, today, I tried to go for a walk with my friend Liz that ended with my head hung over the trash can in Starbucks. I apologize to all who saw that. And sweet thanks to Jan, the manager, who couldn’t have been any more gracious – and I later learned is also a cancer survivor. It is really a gift to be met with compassion in those moments of utter humiliation. 

So I am back on the couch for my second day in a row. Thankful for such a perfect temporary place to live, for friends who rescue me from Starbucks and rub my feet, a husband with lots of compassion, and friends who pick Lincoln up from school so that he doesn’t have to witness the weary.

We would love your prayers for the blood numbers. And for rest. My body is weary today.

Much love to all.


26 thoughts on “Flashback

  1. The flashback is a perfect description of your journey today. Ok, trusting and faith continue to push past obvious challenges. Nothing it too hard, for God, or you. Sending hugs!

  2. Oh friend! Hate the weary and the SBUX ‘event’ for you…Marveling even more that you checked in on ME yesterday. Love you so mucho and praying for those numbers & some energy to jump back up. Flashback indeed. >

  3. Sweet Jennifer. I’m so sorry. Prayers that God pick you up tomorrow, dust you off and give you good test results. Thinking of you always.

  4. I’ve been reading your blog via big mama and just wanted to say you are in my prayers. You are an inspiration for strength, courage, humor and beauty!!!

  5. i love you, jen, and am praying for you, scott and linc. tell scott hi for guy and me. call if we can help you with anything…

  6. Praying Jen. This is beautiful & true: “It is really a gift to be met with compassion in those moments of utter humiliation”.

  7. Sweet Jen. I’m thankful for His healing (the ups) yet so sorry for the down you had today. I’m praying boldly for divine strength for you and for miraculous test results. Your faith is such a light to those you encounter. I believe that you have to be a friend to have a friend. It’s obvios by how much you are loved that you have been an incredible friend to others.

  8. So difficult to read these words and know you are so weak and nauseous but praying for God to change all these things tomorrow . You have a huge support system but I am available to help in any way. Have Cynthia or anyone just holler at me with any requests-I would consider it a huge privilege to be able to do anything. Love

  9. Love to you. Just prayed and then read these words: “our bodies had no rest, we were afflicted at every turn — fighting without, fear within. BUT God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us…” (2 Corin 7:5-6). Praying that truth over you. 💕

  10. Jennifer I’m so sorry that today isn’t a ” rainbows and unicorns” kind of day for you but instead full of let downs with the news of the trial, platelets, etc.. I’ll be praying for your body to improve so you can get into that trial. In the meantime, try to enjoy a day on the couch and catch up on some trash TV. And how do you pull these analogies out of your head like Six Flags??? That is hilarious. I’m sure it has gone totally downhill since you left there!!

  11. Oh we have been praying big time for platelets to go up. Norm keeps drawing on your example of strength and faith as he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer with surgery Oct 19th. He says if you can make if through your whole field of hurdles, he can make it over this little one. We love you.

  12. Oh man, so sorry to hear about this setback. Praying it’s very temporary and your numbers improve and you feel better so soon!

  13. Praying for you with all my strength. I love you so much & am so sad how you are suffering. I so appreciate your amazing perspective, & am grieving with you…

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