scan day.

Today is a scan day.

And I surprisingly don’t feel all that anxious. Typically, my body will start to feel sick, weak and in pain just days before the scans:  a physical response to the anxiety I’m subconsciously  feeling. It always takes me a while to figure out what is wrong with me, and then I happen to look at the calendar, and BAM! before I even remembered my body knew scans were upcoming. Isn’t the body freakishly amazing like that?

Thank God that I haven’t been feeling anxiously and that instead I am happy, content, at peace. I have been reflecting on the past couple days actually how happy I have been. What a crazy difference! Instead of anxiety, peace. Instead of worry, joy. He is so true to his promises as we hand over our worries, He exchanges it for peace and joy. Why don’t I give them over more often when I know in my heart, knowledge and experience for this promise to be true? I am so fickle and forgetful.

I’ve been so grateful for the energy I’ve been having. So different state of body and mind compared to this past weekend, where just days ago I was at the ER and had an overnight hospital stay for fevers and low blood counts, low life energy. I feel like I am finally starting to understand when my body needs rest (not always, because that is how I ended up in the ER probably) but I am understanding more and listening more and agreeing more instead of disagreeing and going defiantly against my own self, my own flesh and blood. And sometimes you just have to know when it’s appropriate to “push it.” Without this pushing, this dragging of my body at times, I would miss out so much of life, of events, of moments great and small like celebrating a friend’s engagement to going out to eat dinner with my husband. Sometimes need that push, that boost, that pep talk to take those small steps towards life instead of laying in the midst of despair and sadness on our mattresses.

I ask the Spirit often for that push, that boost, that pep talk. I often also ask Josh, and to help me as a check and balance system of whether I should get out and go or stay in and rest. Because I want to be there for the big things and the small things. I want to be healthy enough to walk my fur baby Wylie and attend birthday dinners and weddings. And I don’t want to just be a presence there, foggy consciousness from chemo brain but I want to engage and have a light through the fog. Sometimes that light is dimmer than other times and sometimes its so bright that I forget that I am sick, that I have cancer.

So, today I’m living before scans. I’m running errands and playing with Wylie. I’m enjoying the bright sunny cold of February. I’m reading from my devotional hymns and prayer journaling gratitude and requests. These scans might be a “pause” from life, but no matter their results, they aren’t going to keep me from living, no matter the tumor sizes and shapes that emerge from the imaging.

Please pray with me, my family and friends today for good scan news! This has been a rough chemotherapy on my body; I’ve received already several blood transfusions because of how much so. Please pray that it’s all been worth it! Thank you for your prayers, always!

 

bright.

hello all.

It’s sunny, bright, cold and crisp today. It is the perfect January winter day in Ohio.

A week out from my chemotherapy transfusion, and I feel refreshed. The winter sun is energizing and at the same time calming, grounding me and fueling me. Its brightness is such an encouragement against the bleakness I usually feel.

I truly believe God has heard everyone’s prayers this past week for me. I honestly can’t believe how good I truly feel, just normal so quickly. I am not complaining, and I hope it lasts! I want to ride this energy as long as I can. Sustain me Lord to do your work! Keep me in this perfect peace, this relaxed and content state.

My pain has lessened. Looking back on the past few weeks, I should have experienced a sore and swollen throat, a side effect from radiation. I had been so worried about it, since the last time I had radiation to my neck, my throat was burned so badly from the inside out. These past few weeks though, I only noticed a tight constriction of pain whenever I yawned. I tried to hydrate with water and green tea to keep the inflammation down. Praise God for such little pain! What a relief!

My neck and shoulders also have been improving. I no longer feel this ache-y stiffness all the time, and my electric heated shoulder pad proves its usefulness daily. To begin to feel some freedom from such an intense pain for over a year now is a miracle! I cannot begin to express how much this impacts my mood, my mindset, my perspective, my quality of life. Thank you Jesus!

I hope this report brings brightness to your day, joy, and a clear reminder that God hears our pleas and listens to us in our time of need.

back to treatment.

Last night, pain became my alarm clock again. I had been freed of pain’s interruptions for a little over a week, being treatment-free for 11 days. I also was no longer waking up around 4:30a/5:00a with Josh as he prepared for the police academy. I hadn’t even thought about that when he graduated that I too would now be getting more sleep, a bonus blessing! During my 11 day break, I was sleeping better, eating more and having an appetite once again, having more energy to go and do the things I love on my own, with no one needing to drive me. I’ve felt almost normal again, and then the pain comes again, a signal throughout my body that it needs more treatment again, and its cue is right on time.

It amazes me how much my body does communicate to me, be it through pain or feelings. Over the past year, I’ve tried to look at my cancer care even more holistically. Diet has always interested me, but for the most part when I read “what to eat for when you have cancer or to prevent cancer” books and pamphlets, I find that I’m already eating the things they recommend. (So what does that say about me? haha) This past year, I added acupuncture and meditation to quiet the pain and my mind. As needles have been placed on me, I’ve felt currents between the needles, mapping out constellations and images of good health for me. I listen to a meditation before I sleep, hoping I will focus on my breath instead of the pain I’m feeling or shift my focus from the anxiety of what I feel like I must do tomorrow. Through adding  both acupuncture and meditation, I sense I can “read” my body more and therefore know what it needs. I’ve always had a sense or feeling come over me when I’m about to hear of bad news from scans. I can tell the difference between fatigue from treatment working from the fatigue that growing cancer cells cast on to me. And there are times when I can’t read the Morse code of pain-strikes within my chest. Is this pain from cancer birth and growth or from cancer cells dying within me? (Isn’t it interesting how both birth and death bring their own types of pain?)

So, tomorrow I go back for chemotherapy.  Today, I’ve been preparing my body with my pre-medications. And, when I think about it, I’ve been preparing my mind/soul also. I’ve been doing things around the house now so that later in the week I won’t look around and be overwhelmed. I already made some soup ahead of time so I have a go-to meal to eat, because cooking on treatment is just overwhelming. I’ve been talking to God more and reading more and listening to Bible teachings while my mind is clear like a summer night sky, able to think, reflect and meditate on the Word with much more ease. I constantly need to guard my heart with gratitude fences that surround and keep me at peace within my heart and mind.

I don’t want to admit it, but taking chemotherapy and steroids and medications that all come with it just transform me into a different person. I try really hard not to let that Jenna-version exist and to jump-start the return of me with little joys that I know I love: walking and petting my dog Wylie, going to coffee shops, rummaging books, prayer-journaling. But sometimes it is really hard to bring me back. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever come back or am I cursed under chemo’s spell. The spell’s curses include feelings of defeat, physical tiredness, insomnia, lack of appetite, lack of joy. It’s hard to be the damsel in distress and also feel like I have to be my own knight in shining armor to defeat the disease and the negatives of the chemo-not-yet-cure.

So please pray for me. Pray for strength, patience, and joy. Pray for gratitude and promptings to express that to my parents, husband and friends who always are quick to help me.