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Jeni’s Story (Breast Cancer)

Jenni's Story (Breast Cancer)Here is the gist, at age 31 I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. It was aggressive and so was my oncologist. I immediately started chemo, got the double mastectomy, and did six weeks of radiation. After about a year of craziness I beat that and went on my merry way, or so I thought. At the age of 34 I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and I immediately started chemo. Guess what, I beat that too!!! If you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of a bad ass and cancer wasn’t going to hold me down. I have an amazing support system; an amazing husband of 13 years of marriage, we have been together since junior high,  and with an incredible seven year old, everything shine brighter. After a clean PET scan they have reduced my chemo by 50% and am starting to feel like my old self. I will have to do chemo for the rest of my life, but hey- I am here and still kicking! I just had a minor set back that mostly just pissed me off. Like really, what else?!!! And here is that day: Cancer ducking sucks!

So I was told today that I would have small screws drilled into my head for a halo! Yes…a halo! You know those crazy contraptions you see people in the movie wearing (usually a comedy) because (not funny at all) they have had a brain injury and have to wear this metal weird thing to keep their heads from moving. Well, because there are a few “spots” on my brain I will have to go do radiation again. I thought radiation wasn’t so bad.  It just sucked having to go there everyday for six weeks. It was really more of a nuisance than a real problem. I had minimal side effects mostly just  a sunburn in my armpit. Nothing a good thick, greasy salve that ruins your t-shirts (it’s supposed to be used for sore nipples after breast feeding) can’t cure. But I guess this ones a bit different, it’s a one day deal. “Cool,” I thought, “no side effects…even better. Hmm…screwing a crazy contraption into your head so you don’t move and the tiny radiation lasers don’t hit the wrong spot…maybe not so cool.” Oh well, I will just have to cross it off my bucket list! Anyone else had a halo before seeing those pearly gates?! Didn’t think so. 🙂

Okay so this was my day (If I was that person that posted on Facebook about all the awesome shit they accomplished today, which I am not, I totally sometimes want to, we need approval, I get it this would be the day): I haven’t really slept well because of the new, “little spots in my brain” scare me and not knowing what it means, but I finally slept well for some reason last night (could be the glass-I mean bottle of wine I drank last night, the world may never know). I woke up early to get my son ready for my amazing mother in law to take him to school. I feel guilty,  but not having to drive him 20 minutes to school to drop him off to turn around to another 20 minute drive is amazing and feels like a mini vacation. Hey, I made his lunch, even with a special note, I drew on his sandwich bag, made him breakfast, and made him brush his teeth…I am good! I actually stayed up, rather than going back to sleep, which I kinda wanted to do but I cleaned the kitchen (half way- I’m not a miracle worker). I  decided to make banana bread muffins for my wonderful nurses at chemo. I did this partly because the bananas were getting really brown but mostly because I thought I would actually do something nice for someone I thought about and not just think about doing it. Let’s just say I tried.

So I had my “JBoog” music on (look it up on Pandora, I love it) and pulled out my all time favorite cookbook, the Classic Betty Crocker and flipped to the banana bread. As I’m feeling all Martha Stewart and combing all my ingredients, preheating the oven, and beating the egg, I realize I don’t have a key ingredient. Really? I am  trying to do something nice people!! Where the hell is the baking powder?! After my search on our three shelves of spices and the pantry there was no baking powder to be found! Shit!! Really? I mean I know I’m not a baker- except the occasional few times I make cupcakes a year (out of the box) but I’m pretty sure I would have written down on our endless shopping list that I used the last of the baking powder! Anyways it was beyond annoying. At 9 am I called my neighbors asking for baking powder and no one is answering of course. Fine! So I package up all the half-way made muffin ingredients and tossed them in the fridge to hopefully be made later….we shall see. Sorry, amazing nurses! It’s the thought that counts right???

Okay so on with our day: I showered. Yes, an accomplishment and I put on make up. I dressed in my new yoga pants and off we went to chemo. I joked with my hubby, “Did I just work out? Did I just go grocery shopping? Clean? Go to chemo? Garden? No one will ever know with my precious yoga pants!” LOL . Now back to my amazing day! I had chemo then a sneak peak from my amazing oncologist . I was praying and hoping I would be able to see him today- even though I didn’t have an appointment. I was also scared to death at what he was going to say about the tiny “spots” on my brain (Hence the first paragraph). As I fought back the tears I got through that and the rest of chemo. I mentioned to my hubby that I was actually hungry and asked him where should we eat. He said he didn’t feel like it and wanted to just go home. Excuse me?? What?? This is my ritual! I have to sit in this shitty chair for four hours and then I get to go to lunch with who ever brings me! That’s the deal! Not. Well he said we have been spending too much lately and we needed to cut back and that we don’t need to spend more on going out. Excuse me? What? No shit! I hate going out and spending money on shitty food when we both love to cook but I cave because you want Little Caesars because it’s fast and cheap and admittedly yummy. But not today mister. He saw my sad poutey face and asked what?? I pleaded my case and undoubtedly won- wow chalk it up to maybe Jeni: 11 and Noah: 5,356.

Hope this helps someone in their crazy journey! I would love to hear about yours. 😉

Submitted 05/15/2014

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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  1. Jayme

    Jeni, I just want you to know that YOU ARE A BADASS. Even if you didn’t get up and make Jr his lunch and make him brush his teeth (hey, some days I don’t want that argument either!), and then shower and put on make up, and actually make banana bread muffins for those nurses (which even if you don’t finish them, I KNOW they appreciate you AND the thought!) YOU ARE STILL A BADASS. I pray every day to my good Lord Almighty in Heaven and everyday He knows what i’m going to pray for. One of those consistent prayers is YOU. I love you to the moon and back. You have truly given me motivation and appreciation for the “little things” which aren’t always “little” to someone doing chemo every week. I think you are an amazing person and you don’t fight like a girl…… you fight like a badass girl. xoxoxoxox

    • Jeni253

      Thank you jayme! And it’s friends like you, that keep my going! Love you too!!!

  2. CynB

    Yes I have to agree… Totally bad ass! Thanks for the share. You sound amazing!

  3. Renée

    You are the definition of strength, courage and being a badass! I read your story and once again am reminded how blessed I am to know you and your incredible family. You are my inspiration and your story reminds me to cherish what I have. Thank you Jeni from the bottom of my heart… you got this… your a badass !

  4. Rachael

    Jeni, the yoga pants can always keep ’em guessing!! 😉 people like you are why nurses do what they do, why they fight right along with you, and yes, they do appreciate the thought of the muffins. plus, the funny story of why they didn’t actually get the muffins! your strength encourages so many… keep fighting, stay strong, prayers continue to be spoken and heard for you and your family all around this country!

  5. Auntie Pam

    I agree! You are a bad ass!! You truly amaze me little girl! I knew you had so much love and support around you but then again getting to see in person what all your friends have done for you is really touching. I think I sometimes get worrying about silly things that don’t amount to anything and then I see you handling all that has come your way and it really makes me put things in to perspective. We all need to be reminded to be in the moment! Enjoy the moment! Always let the people you care about know.

    I love you little girl and truly hope if I ever have a fight like this that I can handle it with as much positive thinking as you have shown us! Don’t be hard on yourself when you have a bad day. We all have them but I think you’re a little more entitled to have them. You always show us the positive side but if you ever want to just vent or whine you just let me know. I’ll put my listening ears on and have arms ready to hug you when you want it.

    You really inspire me every day!

    All of Uncle Gary’s and my love, prayers and hope are with you.
    Auntie Pam

  6. Tina

    Love your blog. ..I was diagnosed at 39 with stage 3 breast cancer and quickly moved into stage 4. I just turned 43 and I’m kicking cancer ass right along with you.
    I also have a blog sight and reading yours reminds me of mine. Even on a bad day you have to appreciate the humor. .I also insist on lunch after chemo…I look forward to it…like a special trea;)
    I wish you the best. …keep fighting!!! Hugs and prayers xoxo

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