something to look forward to

Halfway through the 8 weeks of hell (the last stretch of chemo), I was pretty discouraged. While everyone was cheering, “You’re already halfway there!”, I was despairing that I was not done. And then what was the next stop in life? Surgery. Stupid surgery. My tendency to escape was in full effect as I looked for flights online. Much to my delight, flights to Nipples, Florida were on the cheap. Hey, this fantasy could be a reality. Reality is good! Visiting Naples is pretty easy because I have family down there. Did I ever tell you that I was born there? No? I was. And so was my sister, Neely. I have myself convinced we are the only ones ever to be born in this retirement vacationland. Don’t ruin it for me. 

Back to the story: I summoned Molly, Michele and my sister Neely to join me on a trip. I needed something to look forward to. I needed to look at beauty with some dear friends. And who can really say no to a girl with cancer? If I had my druthers, I would invite all of you and we would caravan to the ocean and we would stay there a good three weeks until we had seen enough sunsets and released all the japanese lanterns and we were weary of fresh seafood. But a small, girls’ retreat is actually more my speed if I’m going to be completely honest. 

I planned the trip to be around the halfway point between chemo’s end and the surgery. I did not ask permission from a doctor. I knew this medicine would sustain my soul during the hardest times. And it did. I would randomly text the girls’ “FLORIDA. That is all.” And I would remind myself that the next stop would be a happy place. 

And we made it here. I’m writing to you with palm trees framing my view. I have been brought to tears looking at the Gulf of Mexico and an incredible sunset shared with friends. I’ve never seen dolphins so playful and showy-offy. The thick, salty air is a welcome friend. 

Here is a peek into the blessing that has been the past few days. One more day, then I come home to the kids and husband I miss. Back to preparing for Christmas, back to getting an infusion on Monday (not the kind that makes me sick), back to trying to squeeze a bunch of love and life into a few more weeks before the big surgery.


4 thoughts on “something to look forward to

  1. Jenna! I am weeping with tears of Joy as I read this and scroll through your spectacular pictures!! You look so beautiful and happy and relaxed. I am so grateful God blessed you with this ultra special and much needed reprieve with your dear sister Neely and amazing friends Molly and Michelle! Soak it up, my friend! I am praying for safety on your return trip from Nipples 😉 and for a happy reunion with your family! Also, I continue to pray for your upcoming surgery. Love you to the moon and back, Jenna!!! Love, Joy


  2. Dearest Jenna, I’m truly grateful that you were able to get away with Neely and girl friends to soak up beauty and warmth. Everyone deserves a break from Life with friends….a Girls night or vacation and some deserve it even more! It is good to see you filled with joy and relaxation. And I believe you were given that time for recuperation…of your beautiful spirit. I’m glad you have a sister like Neely. She’s an incredible person so full of caring and love. Love you from KC….and I can attest that you were born in Naples. I remember holding your precious newborn body and rejoicing that I had another beautiful sister! Those big blue eyes. …you’ve always had them!!


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