On pins and needles. Or meds and more meds.

Hi faithful friends. Sooo many of you have reached out and remembered yesterday was chemo day and to tell me you’re praying for the dreaded today and tomorrow. The worst doesn’t usually  start until later on Thursdays but we talked to Dr. Osborne about playing defensive so I’ve already taken the heavy meds (Dilaudid – 5-6x stronger than Hydrocodone) and decided to send a message before the extent of my communications becomes groans or gags. Unless, Lord willing, this one is different!  We shall see…

In other medical news…

Over the last months I’ve had numbness in my right pinky that has migrated down into my palm and towards my ring finger.  And, in last couple of weeks, 2 friends commented on my swollen hand (thanks Mandy and Barron) which I hadnt noticed. But when I told Dr. Osborne she asked if my arm was swollen too – and without sportin’ much sleeveless I hadn’t noticed that either. A coupe months ago, I saw a chiropractor we love to see if there was a pinched nerve affecting the pinky but he couldn’t find anything. To understand the pinky numbness and the hand/arm swelling, we did 2 MRIs – in neck and shoulder. The neck shows a compression fracture at bottom of my neck (C6) where there’s evidence of a metastatic lesion (medical term for tumor). When bones are weak ‘they fold over on themselves’ which is the compression fracture. I can feel it in certain positions but don’t want to do radiation (as she described it that would be similar to ‘spot welding’ to strengthen the bone) until it’s more problematic because radiation also compromises the bone marrow and one of reasons for my anemia is the disease in the bone marrow. But the lesion in that location doesn’t explain the hand or arm. And the MRI of the shoulder shows inflammation but nothing growing so we will start a low grade steroid for the inflammation. And, by ruling out any growth causing the swelling and numbness we are left to conclude I have lymphedema. Lymphadema is a common condition that can surface weeks or months or years after having lymph nodes removed – in my case it has been 3.5 years.  The function of lymph system is to filter things out of the system and without any of the nodes under my arm it can’t ‘detox’ my arm or hand – hence the ‘edema’/swelling.  So lymphedema therapy (which starts today at 1p) involves massage therapy to help encourage the system to filter things away from my hand and arm as well as a not-so-cool sleeve that I will soon be sportin’. I described it as bad pantyhose for the arm and the nurse didn’t disagree.  But as Jamie pointed out clearly I’m not the only one with lymphedema because there’s a website called lymphadiva.com with hundreds of their attempts at more attractive sleeves. So if you see me and wonder if I got a new tattoo from shoulder to wrist I hope you remember this post.

And, as if there isn’t enough going on in my body, when Jamie brought me home from my MRI on Monday I casually ran my hand across my shirt over my left boob (see also: the Lord) and thought I felt something. That seemed so incredulous that I didn’t even mention to Jamie and was home minutes later. When I changed clothes I did a better assessment and was pretty sure I felt something. I wasn’t too scared or alarmed and didn’t mention it to anyone else until Scott got home – and he confirmed my suspicion. As did anyone else who happened to come by between Monday and my appointment. Poor Steph and Sue who were both offered a feel!

In yesterday’s appointment with Dr. Osborne and a new doctor doing her fellowship that we really liked, we reviewed all my numbers from blood work (which looked good for most part though the tumor markers which had been steadily declining had crept back up a few points) and discussed my anemia. The fatigue is definitely a big factor in my quality of life so when she suggested a low dose of Ritalin as a possible help for fatigue I was quick to accept. My little peanut gallery of support (Scott, Amy, Jamie and my mom) couldn’t contain their running commentary and amusement (well, except for my mom…) and I heard Scott ask under his breath  ‘does that come with marriage counseling?’ Very funny.

And that was all before she pulled back my gown to do her regular tests of lungs, heart, and breast exam. While we had been waiting, also to the shock and amusement of my peanut gallery of support, I had borrowed my mom’s pen and drawn a circle where I found the lump. A little roadmap?! But with or without my ‘directions’, she didn’t have any problem locating the lump. She asked if I am willing to do a biopsy. Yes! It’s not fun being poked on but I want The information. [And as I was writing this post, Dr. Lamont’s office called to schedule it for Tuesday at 11:30.]. At this point, whether or not it’s cancer isn’t as important as it’s biological attributes that might give us more information about how to best fight the cancer in my body.  This would be the second time that while things seem to be getting smaller within my body something has grown elsewhere that we can see or feel – the lymph nodes in my neck I noticed last summer, or the inflammatory breast cancer last spring, and now this.  It is statistically very rare for cancer to move from one breast to the other but as both Christina (nurse) and Dr. Osborne commented (separate from each other) ‘your case hasn’t been known for being normal.’ 

In other non-medical news…

And for my last tidbit of an update from my world and a request for prayer, Scott and I are sharing our story this Saturday at Watermarks Training Day and I am leading a lesson on all I’ve studied and learned about Heaven. Anyone want to join us?! 

You can sign up here: Training Day. Checkin is at 9 on Saturday (less expensive and easier if you’re able to register in advance). Our story and the lesson portion starts at 9:30 until 12. You can imagine why I might be passionate about this topic:) And hopefully you can appreciate why it would be more fun with friends – so I sincerely welcome/invite any and all of you to join us. I would also appreciate your prayers for the energy I desire for the session (by Saturdays I am usually feeling better but just wiped out from the week) and for clarity of my/His message. It’s my heart and hope that others would be as excited as I am about the Person and Place that awaits the sons and daughters of the King!

To the many of you who have prayed and texted me already about this week’s chemo and aftermath, I can’t thank you enough for pleading my case before a Heavenly Father who knows, cares, grieves with us, and is kindly sovereign over all. You bless me. And my family. And we love you.  


26 thoughts on “On pins and needles. Or meds and more meds.

  1. Jen – praying for you and your family! Although I don’t know you personally, I feel I do – you always seem to lift everyone else up with your encouraging updates! I was in a car wreck back in October and had so many people praying for me – I know the power of prayer – so please know we all love you and are praying for you. Take care –Brenda

    *Brenda Austin*

    Assistant to Mike Ashcraft

    Port City Community Church

    250 Vision Drive

    Wilmington, NC 28403




    *My One Word 2016 – Seek*

    *Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always – Psalms 105:4*

    *From:* Pink. Pray. Love. [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* Thursday, February 25, 2016 9:55 AM *To:* brenda.austin@portcitychurch.org *Subject:* [New post] On pins and needles. Or meds and more meds.

    theclousefamily posted: “Hi faithful friends. Sooo many of you have reached out and remembered yesterday was chemo day and to tell me you’re praying for the dreaded today and tomorrow. The worst doesn’t usually start until later on Thursdays but we talked to Dr. Osborne abo”

  2. Praying for your strength and energy – see you Saturday at Watermark! Thanks for sharing your story – you are an inspiration to me and so many others!

  3. As long as you keep on fighting we will keep on praying! I am so sorry I will hear about of town Saturday but I know I will hear about it from many.


    Jennifer >

  4. Jennifer…

    Praying today you will not experience the “usual” side effects from this week’s chemo treatment. Also praying for you and Scott on Sat. I have NO doubt the Lord will be speaking through y’all as you share your incredible story and teach others the reason for our hope in Christ!

    Love your way!


    From the thumbs of HotRod to Heaven


  5. My trusty calendar reminder told me what to do this morning (although I didn’t need reminding!). Also, I receive a daily verse in my inbox each morning…today’s was sooo apropos. I felt the need to pass along to you…

    The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.
    – Proverbs 18:10 (NLT)

  6. Sending prayers for you to feel better after chemo and for strength for yourself and the loving circle around you from up here in Canada – you are very inspiring-

  7. Jennifer, you and your family are in my daily prayers. I hope that you have a better time of it today & tomorrow than in the past. Wish I was a little closer-I’d love to come to your Training Day. You will be in my thoughts though.

  8. The Psalms Bible study is another example of God’s perfect timing; He is our refuge – He is our protector – We will have trouble. But we will put our trust in Him. And we will praise Him. You and your family are in our prayers constantly. Love ya, sweet friend!

  9. You are so beautiful and so loved. I thank God that I get to know you through our dearest Kristi G. And Debbi C. God bless you and your loved ones always, dear sweet Jen.

  10. I’m just a Big Mama fan that pops over here occasionally to see how you’re doing and pray for you…but as I read this post I thought “I have to comment about Lymphadiva!” And I’m so glad you already know about them! My dear friend is the owner/President of Lymphadiva and his sister Rachel started it as she bravely battled breast cancer. It’s a great company that does great things and I hope you can find some fun sleeves that will help!

  11. Jen, thank you as always for this post. Those of us carrying your name to the Lord appreciate how to pray specifically. I wish we could be there on Saturday. You and Scott will bless everyone so completely. We are in Chicago for a meeting, but our heartfelt prayers are hovering over you. David learned this week that a small tumor has recurred on his brand-new transplanted liver. We are grateful for early diagnosis and just like you, lean heavily into God’s provision for the right treatment and outcome. This is not our home! But, until we reside in that perfect place, we will seek Him and trust in His goodness even when the scan reports suck! You know what I mean.
    Sending hugs and much love,

  12. Continuing to pray for you Sweet Jen!! Always at a loss for words but thankfully I do t have to worry about that in my prayers!!

  13. My friend, I am unsure if you are able to, but if doctor okays it, the lymphatic drainage massage is what really helped my lymphedema. Especially if you are not physically able to do any exercise. This just sucks that you now have to deal with bs like lymphedema on top of cancer!

  14. And castor oil with heat over it immediately reduced my lymphedema selling. I do it at least every other week. Good thing is the massage and castor oil just feel good and relieve general pain.

  15. Jen, I participated in your training session at Watermark. What a blessing to me. I lost my Mom a couple weeks ago and to see your passion and joy for heaven comforted my soul. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you – amazing to see how God is using your story and your courage, passion and vigor in you limited time here on earth. Praying for you and your sweet family.

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