Snuggles, Cinnabons & Reepicheep

Good morning friends.  It’s Jamie again.  Feels like it’s time for an update on our friend, but I honestly don’t know where to begin.  Those of us close to Jen have experienced so many different emotions throughout this journey, yet each day still seems to produce new ones.  A cornucopia of sad, mad, frustrated, confused, joyful, content, helpless, exhausted & grateful is the latest offering for me personally.  And that’s just in the last 5 minutes.  I can’t even imagine what it’s like for Jen, Scott, Linc & Jane.  I’m so thankful we have God’s truth to rely upon when our feelings are so uncontrollable.  Psalm 27:13, 14 says, “I would have lost heart unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord…I will wait on the Lord…and He shall strengthen my heart.” Blessed reminder.

Jen is settling into her new normal, which basically means a lot of time resting and trying to eat.  She is able to enjoy some perks like snuggle time with Linc in bed.IMG_9609.jpg

I don’t know about you, but my experience snuggling with an active 5 year old means knees in the back and an occasional elbow in the face.  I’m going to pretend that Linc’s sweet little fists folded up under his chin are going to stay put for Jen & Gigi’s sake.

Same for this scenario.  Keep those elbows tucked in, buddy.

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Jen had chemo last Thursday and is still tolerating that fairly well.  Especially when Cinnabons are part of the deal.  IMG_4356.JPG

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For now, chemo is the chosen course of treatment.  Things seem to change rapidly, however, so I don’t know how much longer this will be the case.  A brain MRI on Monday showed more metastasis, which could potentially alter the next steps.  Please continue to pray for wisdom for Jen’s doctors (Dr. Osborne, Dr. Casanova & Dr. Cheek) as they process and plan.

As for Lincoln, the only thing he’s planning is how he’s going to play with his birthday hamster, Reepicheep.

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Someone call Hallmark.  This is too precious.  And a little unnerving.  In fact, I think snuggling with Reepicheep may be the actual equivalent to how I remember snuggling with my 5 year old boys.  Just add elbows.

Friends, I’ve been tasked with updating this blog.  I hope it’s helpful, and that it allows you to feel connected to Jen and to know how to pray for her and her family.   Some days I don’t know what to say.  Today is one of those days.  This is tough.  This is surreal.  This is at times unbelievable.  But this is life.  And for TODAY, this is the day that the Lord has made.  And if I know Jen, she will choose to be glad in it.

Thank you for your continued support through prayers, calls, texts, cards, errands run, laundry folded, bills paid, play dates, etc.  The Clouse family is grateful.  And thank you for respecting their time together as a family.  Jen is in need of a lot of rest, but would love to connect by reading your comments below.

Much love to you all,

Jamie (aka B)

 

Scan Results & Update

Hi everyone – it’s Jamie again.  I asked Jen if she would be okay with me updating the blog with scan results from last week, and I got the green light.  Jen’s people (YOU) are extremely faithful in prayer and concern, so I know you’ve been awaiting the results.

Last Thursday was a very long day for Jen.  She had to be at the hospital at 6:40am to begin her scans.  (PS: I’m thankful that Gigi was assigned that driving shift).  She then proceeded to undergo a myriad of scans that lasted until about 1pm.  Somewhere in between 6am and 1pm, however, Jen got into a scuffle with one of the nurses and I showed up as the drama was dying down.  Let me just say you don’t want to mess with Jen or else you mess with us too.

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Don’t be fooled by those smiles.  We can be really fierce when provoked.

We were grateful Jen asked for some food after the scans were over, and Burger House was her first choice.  Being the good friends we are, we ate fries and onion rings alongside our patient.  (As a side note, just because your friend needs a shake doesn’t mean you do too.)

After lunch, Jen was able to get in a quick nap before her 3pm appointment with Dr. Osborne.  Scott and Jen then went to the appointment where Dr. O shared the results.

Basically, Dr. O said there were ‘mixed results but overall not as good’ in every area where there was some stabilization (defined as less than 20% growth).  She is watching the following:  liver, lymph nodes around clavicle, mediastinum (chest) and fluid around lungs (which is present ~ indicating activity).  The neck CT takes longer to get back and she doesn’t have results from bone scan yet.  Also, they did not do a brain MRI as it’s on a different quarterly schedule.

They also spent a lot of time talking about ways to increase her appetite and about next steps for treatment.  Jen will stay on the same chemo for now, but will decrease the frequency to every other week to hopefully lighten the negative side effects.

If you are like me, you were probably wanting more conclusive information.  (Somehow I feel this illusion of control when I have a lot of details.)  I’m confused by the results and all of the percentages.  I’m frustrated by medical terminology.  I’m wanting to hear something more concrete.  A timeline, a definitive plan, an opportunity for a miracle.  But I’m realizing quickly that cancer is cancer.  And Jen’s body is riddled with it.  And whether a tumor has grown or not doesn’t change the fact that God is in control.  I am not.  He’s overseeing every single detail of this journey.  And although He never promised that our lives would be easy, He does promise that ‘our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.’ (Romans 8:18).  Thank goodness our hope doesn’t depend on something as unreliable as scan results or tumor marker numbers.  Instead, our hope is in the one true God who never changes (Malachi 3:6a).   Psalm 56:4 says, “… in God have I put my hope; I will have no fear of what flesh may do to me.” I find peace in this verse as I watch this insanely cruel disease take over my friend’s body.

These truths are especially poignant today as one of Jen’s friends in her Pink Not Grey group passed away from stage 4 breast cancer yesterday.  Oddly enough, I grew up with this friend in church and know the family very well.  She was 41 years old and also a patient of Dr. Osborne.  She was a lover of Jesus and shined His light brightly.  She had lots of friends who loved her well.  And she leaves behind a loving husband and one precious child.  My heart simultaneously breaks for her family as well as for Jen. The parallels hit way too close to home.

I heard someone once say that “pain is the soil where the deepest kind of faith in God grows.”  And for those of us in pain, our love for God is able to mature if we turn to Him.

As Jen enters a new stage full of unknowns, please continue to pray for daily reminders of God’s knowns.  Pray for Scott as he cares for his wife.  Pray for Lincoln to be surrounded by love and to have no fear of his future.  Pray for Jane to feel the Lord’s arms around her.  Pray for Jen’s friends and family to seek God in times of confusion, sadness and helplessness.  Each of you are a part of this story and we continue to place our hope in the Lord as he writes the pages of Jen’s book.

Much love to you,

Jamie (aka B)

 

 

 

 

 

Scans Today – Please Pray

Hi everyone!  It’s Jamie again.  It seems like so much has happened between the last post and now, but I will try to give you the abbreviated version as we would appreciate your prayers today.

Jen has her ups and downs, but has been plagued with extreme fatigue as of late.  That, coupled with a lack of appetite, has left our girl weak and thin.  At the urging of Scott on Tuesday, Jen contacted Dr. Osborne to let her know she was not feeling well.  Dr. O asked Jen to come in for fluids to help with dehydration.   We laugh because Jen told Gigi ‘it shouldn’t take too long’ when we were deciding on who’s car to take to Baylor, but I reminded her that Baylor can be a little like quick sand and once you step in the doors it’s really hard to get back out.  Let’s just say the quick sand was in full force because Jen ended up being there for most of the day.  She received an IV concoction of Magnesium, Potassium, and some other things I can’t spell or pronounce.

Dr. O also examined Jen then returned for a visit later to let her know she really needed to start eating.  Apparently her blood work looked like that of a person who was starving.  Literally.  Normally, I would make a joke of how ironic this is because Jen loves to eat.  But it was actually such a sobering moment that I can’t muster up any humor.  To watch my friend lose so much weight in such a short period of time is difficult.  Like really difficult.  There are moments on this cancer journey where I can almost pretend like it’s not really happening because Jen is so upbeat and looks so hip with her bleached pixie cut.  We laugh like normal and do life like normal.  But those times are starting to fade and my heart is breaking all over again.   My friend has cancer.  And her outward appearance is not letting me pretend any longer that it’s not happening.

Today, would you please pray as Jen has her scheduled scans to determine what is actually going on inside of her body?  She will be at Baylor for most of the morning then will have an appointment later today with Dr. Osborne.  I will be back in touch after we know the results and new plan going forward.

Jen’s faith is as strong as ever and knows that the Lord is still very much in control.  She clings to His promises daily, and reminds us of His goodness despite the circumstances.  Thank you for your continued encouragement for Jen, Scott, Lincoln and Jane.  This road is not to be walked alone and they are comforted by your prayers, texts, calls and cards.

I always like to end on a positive note, so I wanted to share that Lincoln turned 5 on June 1st and had a rainy celebration at Caruth Park fishing with friends.  Right before the celebration was to begin, however, the rain came POURING DOWN.  So much so that the party was even in question.  But miraculously the skies cleared up just in time for the party and fishing commenced.  Somehow I feel like that’s a beautiful metaphor for this journey. One minute the rains are drenching us and the next minute the sun is shining.  We are praying for a little sunshine today.  IMG_0052.JPGIMG_0025.JPG

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Much love to you all and a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my favorite 5 year old!!!

Jamie (aka B)