Friday, April 6, 2012


I am officially cancer free again!!! I still can't work right now,but I am still positive about everything!!

I am so relieved to be done with treatment again, it was a hard route but I am so excited to be cancer free!!!

I had an MRI done this past Monday April 2, and my dear oncologist called me the same day with the results!!

I still had to go see him on the 4th, and I am scheduled for a MRI and CT scan for July 10th.

Until then, I shall post my thoughts on survival as I try to do.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's been almost 4 months since my last post. I need to provide a confession. Basically friends, 2 weeks before my 1 yr cancerversary, I started getting sick. We thought I caught a nasty strain of the flu, and had a 2 week long no medicine will help headache. I was vomiting left and right, horrible uncontrollable diarrhea, and I was losing strength in my left side. Finally *I* reached a point where I felt I needed the ER. We went, and the doc on call said you do have the flu, its a bad strain, you are dehydrated big time. Go home drink lots of fluids and come back if it doesn't get better. Two days later, still sick as a dog, I was walking from the bathroom back to my bed (down was good) and I collapsed before I got to the bed. I took out the oscillating fan, broke it and was unable to respond to my wife Celina. She was yelling at me to get up and get off the floor or she was calling 911. She was upset with me because I would not respond to her. Usually I would be cussing her out for hollering at me like that. I could tell she was scared, so I managed to say, I am trying to think of the appropriate response.  She knew something was up and called 911. I don't remember much until I heard the ambulance arrive. She had to help me sit up ( I may possibly have this in the wrong order) and I heard them come, and stated matter of factly, they are here. They took me to the hospital, I was shaking and shivering, and THAT dr on call was a little more on the ball. Our nurse Bunni who is now our framily, at first did not believe anything was wrong with me. I was acting normal, joking, laughing, telling her how the fan might be in pain, but I'M NOT!!!  Celina was trying to tell her she's not acting like Jen, she is not acting normal at all. Bunni still did not believe her until it became evident that I was slowing WAYYYYY down.

        The dr came in, sent me for a CT scan based on my prior history, and came back about an hour later and informed Celina ( i was toast by now) that there was a 2.5 by 2 inch tumor on my right frontal lobe. They admitted me right away, but the fun didn't end there!!! My blood pressure was sky high and probably has been for a while, but I could not stand lights in my eyes and I was hot or cold off and on. Celina had to crawl into the hospital bed with me to get it to come down. However, it still was not enough. I was admitted on 11-11-11 and by 11-12-11 they had to put a drain in my head to relieve the pressure because they were afraid I would stroke out. I was awake for this. There was immediate relief. My left eye was not tracking at all it was pointing in the right side direction only. After a couple of hours it was more normal but I still had double vision. on 11-14-11 I was taken to surgery where the tumor was removed from my brain and he got all the way down to swollen brain, so he is fairly certain that he got it all.  I don't remember a whole lot from that day other than when I was in ICU I saw naked Garden gnomes standing at the end of my bed laughing at me, Lucy from Charlie Brown was hiding from me and I was convinced someone was trying to kill me. My poor brain!!!

I was in the hospital for 9 days, most of them spent in ICU. It was scary and I was afraid, but like always I am miss perky and cheerful, but I got NO sleep ( go figure) and I was uncomfortable. On a lot of medication, I.V. initially and then by mouth.  When they released me, I could not keep my eyes open because I was soo nauseous. I started Radiation therapy ( whole brain) on Dec 8th, 2011 and finished January 16th. Now I am recovering, with my crispy black skin and peeling ears. ( I also, in all this got ear tubes because the rads were drying out my eustacean tubes) My hearing is not as good as it was before, but we are still holding out hope that it will get better as I get better. Celina has peeled tons of dead skin off my head and ears, and lots of hair with it. She is no where near done, but each round makes my head feel sooo much better!!!

So where does this bring me, in my quest to remind you that cancer is only a word, not a sentence? Well, the same as before, but maybe softer, You CAN fight this and win it. I have done it now TWICE. I did have a lot of realizations while I was sick and in ICU. I think everyone who reads this should spend half a day or a full day volunteering on their local ICU floor. Not in the rooms, thats hard to see, but in the waiting room, is where the greatest need is. The people that are waiting and visiting their loved ones. Celina met so many people who just needed an ear or shoulder to cry on. ICU is a scary place, and most people are there because they are dying and need that extra special care. I came close, 3 days more and I would have had permanent brain damage, 5 days more and I would have died period.

But somewhere in my body, was a power cell who said, NO JEN, we are NOT dying today. NO NO NO. So I lived. And here I am.

Hello, Again!!!

This is all for today, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. If  I cannot remember, I will ask Celina.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Book Review..
I have had the pleasure of reading a book called Little Patient, Big Doctor by Haleh Rabizadeh Resnick. Now this book is an excellent resource for anyone- not just parents and kids, but for people of all ages who are battling the patient/doctor knows best war. One of my favorite lines in this whole book is "Doctors are trained in Medicine, not communication.. How true this is!!! Most Doctors stand on the level of, I am a professional and I know what is right, whether you think it's right or not is irrelevant.

Then there are the few and far between ones who, like the Boston doctor at the end of this book, who listen and read and judge the truth to be what it is and do what they can to look further into the situation, rather than just agreeing with what everyone else has said. THOSE doctors are GOLDEN!!! These are the kinds of doctors you want to have on your side!!!You DO NOT want someone who repeatedly insists that something is something when really it is not. Or who gives up on you before even giving you a chance.  I had one such doctor myself. He came into my hospital room and told me and my parther, The cancer has spread, there is nothing we can do. Signed sealed and delivered my death papers right there.  Exit stage life, right over here ma'am. You also do not want one who tells you nothing is wrong when it is very obvious that there is!!!

Then I met my oncologist who was quite the opposite. He tells us, I don't give pronosis' anymore, it's up to you. You wanna live, live. And since I did want to live, I made it a point to be the patient that would buck the system. Just as Ms. Resnick was the parent who bucked the system. She knew she was right, and they were wrong, and I commend her efforts in proving not only that she was right, but that which would "help" baby Alex would actually HARM him!!! As well as for all of her children, researching alternative therapies to help them. Yes I 100% firmly believe alternative therapies are useful for many things.

It's a very good book, and while I guiltily admit it took me way too long to finish reading it, I am glad I had the chance to do so. So see, I am not the only one who demands people stand up and listen!!!!
Thank You Haleh, for writing this book and for everyone else, here is an Amzon link to it, if you should want to read it also:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What now?

So now you have your diagnosis. What to do now? Well you can't give up that is for sure. That is not and should never be an option. Your doctor has rattled off a list of medical terms that you are pretty certain even Einstein didn't understand, and now you are expected to get it right away. It doesnt really work that way unfortunately.  It is a lot to take in all at once, but here is a quick tip. Once you are armed with the proper information, then you can be a HUGE proponent for your own care and survival!!!!!

Take some time to let it absorb. (I will sit here and wait patiently)

I have cancer.
I have cancer.
OMG I have cancer.
I have cancer?
Cancer? really? As in CANCER??

You got to be joking me!!! I DO NOT HAVE CANCER!!!

oh. I have cancer.

Well, fuck.

This really sucks.

Yes it does my sisters. It sucks. But again, it is not the end of the world. ( Oh I see you werent done yet- sorry)

I HAVE CANCER!!!!!!!!! SCREAMING,THROWING A FIT, YELLS, SWEARS LIKE A SAILOR, COLLAPSES TO THE GROUND IN A SOBBING MESS OF HYSTERICS. I don't wanna have cancer. I'm gonna die, I don't want to be sick. This is not fair. What did I do wrong? Why me? I can't do this!!!

MMkay, feel a little better now? here, I will help you stand up, here is a tissue, wipe your eyes off a little, take a deep breath and just know inside, everything is going to be all right. You can do this, you are a fighter, and above all, you are NOT alone. I will not leave you out in the cold. I will be here to hold your hand, answer your questions, be your strenghth and support. However, be warned. I will not allow you to give up.

You are a fighter, you are strong, you are woman, and some silly little word is not going to define your life. Unless that word is MILLIONAIRE,  and in that case, this conversation is over, and we are all about the monies!!! But since the word is actually CANCER, it's a conversation we are going to be having a lot. Whether you are Stage 0 or Stage 4, this word does not define you as a person, as a woman, or as a human being. You are not a statistic, or someone standing in a long line of women waiting to get their Exit Stage Life papers.

You are a powerful source of inner strength you never knew you had, and we are going to tap that strength a great deal during this fight- but it always regenerates, so don't worry, you won't run out!!!!

Now let's just get some tea, sit back and relax and reflect on the awesomeness that we all are.

and remember- CANCER is a word, not a definition.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Let's talk for a minute about BEFORE. No, not before you were born, not before you were choosing colleges. BEFORE the day you found your lump or got your accidental diagnosis. ( Yeah those do exist- points to self)  What were you doing? Were you in college, taking a class to better your career? Perhaps waving goodbye to your husband or partner as they left for a business trip? Or taking your kids to and from school, and then spending the evening doing homework, dinner, bathtime and bed.....

All pretty normal stuff right? Yeah it is. Whatever it is that you were doing, is what your life was. You were more than likely happy with it, and life was good.  You woke up, started and ended your day and were never the wiser to that which is going to change your life.

But it's okay. I promise that your life as you know it does not stop completely when you get the news. You will still wake up the next day and breathe, and think and your heart will still be beating. It's what you do with your news and how you plan to fight your battle that defines you. Not your cancer.

And we will talk about that next time. For now, remember all the good in your life and remember you are not alone!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

And so we begin..

Congratulations!! If you made it to the second post the it's obvious that you have the stamina, the willpower, the STRENGTH to stand up and fight your battle.  So let's begin!!!!

Remember when you were in elementary school? And your teacher asked you what you wanted to be when you grow up?  How many of you stood up and said "When I grow up I want to be a BREAST CANCER PATIENT!!!!"

No seriously, don't be shy... Speak up.. We all will understand!!!

Of course no one does that. No one ever stands up and wants to be fighting this battle. No one asked to get this news. No one blames you, and you should not blame yourself. That is really the first step.  You did nothing to deserve this, you are not getting your collective asses kicked by Karma.  I promise.

Now it's time for some hugs all around. *hugs*

Now let's all stand back, take a deep breath and prepare for the next step.

No one ever sees it coming. Thousands of years ago, it WAS indeed a death sentence. In ancient times it was a disease that was untreatable. No one knew anything about it except that in many cases it was extreme and painful and caused the women who suffered from it extreme pain. And they were left to die.

This is not the case anymore. Granted, we all know that there ARE some instances where there is nothing that can be done, but in this day and age, typically that is RARE.

So this is where you step in for your own lives. This is where you have to start thinking positive, start realizing that this is not some off the wall punishment for scribbling on your mothers cupboard doors.  From the very beginning women have been treated with disdain, fear and misunderstanding when diagnosed with the cancer of the breast.  On the flip side, they also learned very quickly to avoid speaking about it because of the stigma associated with it. They hid themselves away and just waited to die.

No more!! It is time to shake off the past and look to the future. We as women, as women who fight this disease have the POWER to change the future!! To change the way this disease is presented to us!!! It is no longer a death sentence yet women worldwide are still told that it is!!!

*I* was told that it is!!! And look at me!!! I am still alive, and healthy again and ready to stand strong and fight this for all women everywhere. It is time. It is time for change.

Who is with me?

Monday, March 7, 2011

What I have to say...

First let me type a little disclaimer here..

1. I will not apologize for anything I say or think.
2. If you truly don't like what I am saying- it's okay! Just don't read it. Go ahead, wallow in your self pity and unhappiness, waste your life crying about what could have been, should have been, and now won't be. If you are so down on yourself that you just want to give up without a fight, then this blog-to-be book is not for you. Goodbye.
3. If  you suck it up and read my words anyway and they make you angry- then I have done my job! I'm not here to pamper your bums, or pat your backs. I am here to kick you up off the ground and make you realize you can still live your life. Cancer is a DIAGNOSIS not a death sentence.
4. Cancer sucks. Yes it really does. But so does domestic violence, child abuse, world starvation, plane crashes, accidental shootings, and last but not least, puppy mills.  So see, you are not the only one suffering right now. Fortunately for you, something can be done about your problem.
5. I am NOT A DOCTOR. Anything I say is my opinion or thoughts only, and anything else that is actually proof positive will be given the appropriate linkage. Just so you know I am not running off at the mouth.

Any questions?

In that case... Shall we begin?