normal life

I think I post every 3-5 days or so. Okay–just checked–more like 3-8 days. Oops. I’ve noticed that when it gets to the three day mark, I start getting more “checking in” texts or messages. I think my people start to worry. If that’s true, what do you worry about? I’m starting to forget what it’s like to be on the outside of this. 

At the front end of this little journey, I was experiencing it as if I was sitting in the front row watching this cancer story play out. It was surreal. Everything that was going to look like cancer was in the future and it wasn’t even clear which things would actually happen for me. So, early on, I could more easily relate to you than to me. Now, I’m so in this, I’m forgetting what it was like to not have cancer and I don’t know which parts to bring you into. Weird, right? Also, I am slightly obsessed with being totally honest. This slows me down. The problem is, if I write about the sad parts, you’ll think I’m really sad until I write a happy post. If I write about the bright side, I’m making it seem like I’m coasting through cancer. I could make a cancery someone who is reading along feel like a failure for not loving the “gift of cancer”. And, when I’m feeling good, I’m really busy trying to keep up on normal life. So writing anything seems like an impossibility most days. Oh, and then there’s the problem that I’m so inside my head, I can’t remember what I’ve written so I have to go REREAD my own blog to make sure I don’t write the same post every time. That’s so annoying.

What does keeping up on normal life even mean. Doesn’t she get meals, like, all the time and don’t her friends do, like, EVERYTHING for her? Mmmnotreallkindof…no. I think you all would do anything I needed, but I kind of want to do things myself. I’m still able even if it’s a little bit harder. And I DO get meals delivered 2-3 times a week. That’s huge. And I do hardly any driving for school or extra curriculars. Other than that, it’s my privilege to live this life and do our laundry and wash the dishes and be with my kids and don’t even think for a second that I do these things in a holy way! Just normal. Like, dangit the laundry pile is high and when will these kids stop asking me for things and how did the sink get full of dishes again?! I’m glad I get to do this stuff because who knows how long I get to live this life? And you know I have a husband and kids to help with the chores. It’s a team effort. 

I think this past Sunday is a good example of a day in the life:

Sunday morning I woke up with no energy. I was so sick of being bald and cancer felt like an inescapable nightmare. I was terrified that I only had a week and a half before I start feeling really sick on the new chemo drugs. These first 12 weeks haven’t been so bad. (As I write this, I am at my 12th and final dose of Taxol, Perjeta and Herceptin.) I was teary and emotional. I was weary from another night of hot flashes oscillating between sweating and chilling. Depressed, the shroud of darkness felt so heavy. My sliver of hope was that I knew that it wouldn’t last forever. So, I kept moving forward. Amazingly, we not only went to church, but we got there ON TIME (maybe a first). Warm faces and Holy Spirit power and worshipping the one true God eased the darkness from my soul. We had plans to have our pastor and his family over for dinner. I was still exhausted, but really wanted to keep our commitment. Brent and I ran to Target to get all we needed and while our children did homework and cleaned the house (I’m pretty sure they did like two things and then played). I felt like I was going to fall over by the time we got to the check out. Yes, I know we could have canceled, but I didn’t want to. I want to do the maximum that I can do right now. It’s only going to get harder. We put together an easy dinner. We sat together, the 12 of us, and enjoyed our meal and our company for hours. It was so refreshing. That evening–my energy restored–I went for a power walk with Michele. We laughed and connected while I got the exercise the doctor ordered. Who knew that a day that started out with such a deficit could end on a high note? 

So, when I take big breaks between blog posts, I’m just kinda doing this “normal” life. Don’t you worry. Just pray against sadness and thank God for his faithfulness.

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7 thoughts on “normal life

  1. I can’t imagine any of what you are experiencing but I must say your wonderful gift of writing is still so vivid in everything you say. Picturing you through it all is so hard and in my mind I want to push it all away and say…. NO!!!! You dear, sweet, funny self is still there!!!! I must say I fight anger when I think about what you and your dear family are experiencing. I know God is there and in it all. I pray every day for your family. Much love and prayers and so thankful for all those near by that support you each day. Love, Laura Warnken

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  2. I couldn’t add a thing to your eloquence and transparency, and even, incredibly enough, humor. But I wanted to say that it is an honor and blessing to share a tiny piece of this journey with you and your amazing family. You are in my prayers.

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  3. I so enjoy reading about your journey, the good and the not so good. Your positive attitude about life is something we should all follow and must of us have no clue what you are experiencing. Thanks Jenna. Lots of love to you and the family. And, of course, prayers.

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  4. I haven’t commented yet, but am following along. Thank you for taking the time to share all this! I’m sure many people are praying for you whom you don’t even know about – that’s the great thing about the Body during suffering. Also I was up late a couple nights ago sewing and my mind went to that story about the speeding ticket and I realized I’m still really miffed at that cop. 😡

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  5. I worry about you not being able to find peace in this continuing struggle with cancer. Here is what my favorite theologian, “Frederick Buechner” writes about Peace. “One of the titles by which Jesus is know is Prince of Peace, and he used the word himself in what seem at first glance to be two radically contradictory utterances. On one occasion he said to the disciples, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). And later on, the last time they ate together, he said to them, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27). The contradiction is resolved when you realize that for Jesus peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle but the presence of love.”

    Peace be with you, Jenna.

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  6. You asked, “what do you worry about?” so I’m going to take a stab. I’m on the outside, way on the outside, not even close to the inner circle. I’m a neighbor on the block who knows you through a 15 minute conversation at our annual block party and your participation at planning meetings for that same block party. I know you are funny, resilient, a devoted mom and I see the love you and Brent have for each other. It’s not so much that I “worry” but that I’m curious, maybe in a morbid way, but I prefer to think of it as in a caring way. I don’t know you well enough to bring meals or offer to drive your kids, but I want to know what you are experiencing and make sure that I keep you in my thoughts and prayers and yes, I look for a tiny hint in your posts of something that I can DO to make things easier for you and your family. And I read your very, eloquent, honest and raw posts trying to put myself in your shoes. Would I have the same questions, feelings, reactions? And always, I read for how in the world you come to grips with the possibility of not being there for your children and husband (I don’t want to jinx anything by even mentioning it, but I’m following your lead on honest posts.) So keep writing – I’ll keep reading.

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