Plan

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I woke from a nap in the hospital this afternoon to Little J showing me his trophy and certificate from the T-Ball celebration.

His eyes were so tired. I could tell he just wanted to be at home. Me, too.

Tomorrow I’m going to have a stent put into my intestine where it’s clogged. It’s a tricky procedure, so send your prayers at 11:00 am.

I’m hoping to be in clear liquids by noon and to have my belated Mothers’ Day latte and croissant Monday, late morning, from my own bed.

Hugs,

Jenn

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Here’s a pic of a double rainbow over Sugartown. It’s where I want to be so badly right now.

I so would rather be at home for Mothers’ Day weekend than here in the hospital.

I was admitted Thurs for that intestinal blockage that won’t leave me alone. This time we need to, “do something about it.” Probably a procedure for now and a surgery soon.

We’re waiting for the doctor to come in and let us know. It’s looking likely that I’ll be spending Mother’s Day here.

Will update soon,

Hugs,

Jennifer

I woke at 6:30 with a migraine. Sometimes epiphanies come with headaches. I couldn’t open my eyes, but shortly after, Little J, on instinct(?) crawled into our bed, wedging between Dennis and me.

As his little arms wrapped around me, his hands softly petting my shoulders, the pain didn’t budge, but all of my focus went to the little pads of his fingers, their potent tenderness.

Dennis scooched in and wrapped a strong arm over both us. Then Virgil settled into the top of the pile. Nothing moved but our breathing bodies and J’s gentle pets on my arm.

I learned how early it was when I asked for some coffee and Excedrin a bit later. Dennis obliged and also called Kim who was able to move my Avastin appointment to eleven. The dears.

My headache was gone by the time the boys snuggled back in after breakfast, waiting for the daily Virgil story. With an icepack to the noggin for good measure, I whisked us away to the land where that cat gets up to crazy adventures. Soon after, we were all starting our days feeling fine.

I say it time and again, but it’s true. Without the love of this family, I would be dust. Their hearts and the love of my dear friends, my mom, dad, and brother, is what keeps me going. We have survived hell time and again. And I’m not even talking about the cancer. I mean the likes of which make this disease seem feeble.

But we choose love, because that’s where life is.

If you are bitter and complaining because you feel like you don’t have enough, or others aren’t giving you enough, steer clear of me. If you lash out at people around you because you feel victimized or stressed by something you brought on yourself, steer clear of me. If you choose to see what’s wrong with every day when you have sweet little fingers reaching for you, needing you to be happy, steer clear of me. If you walk around with a scowl on your face, my door is not open to you.

This is new for me. My heart is open to all, but my physical space is open to people who put positive energy into the world, who feel what’s good and celebrate it. This is a new boundary for me and it gets enforced. Starting now.

Here’s to more moments in the garden with friends, more laughter, and yes sorrow, because that’s life. But always a willingness to see the good. I can feel those tiny fingers on my shoulders now, as the Avastin goes in and the space around me has more place to breathe.

Hugs,

Jenn

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While Dennis was away on a James Bond business trip which involved a tux and flying on a jet(!), Little J and I enjoyed some gorgeous weather and good times with friends here in Sugartown.

One afternoon in the garden, the dude took my phone and snapped a couple shots which he then cropped, tinted, captioned.

The first one is above. I love the framing and light streams. The second is below. Note the caption:

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Hugs,

Jennifer

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Our hearts are so full. We’ve had days and days of beautiful sunshine and no school, time to hang out with grandma and “Ray” as J calls his Gramps. So much family time makes me miss my brother. A trip to Seattle is in order for sure.

Last night little J called cousin O to wish him a happy birthday. They chatted about O’s new wetsuit, his trip to the sacred Japanese Shinto. He’s a great one for J to look up to. Just like his dad is for me.

Tending to the family, like a garden that appeared suddenly, like these irises at J’s school. Here, but not forever, to be cherished. Forgetting the seasons of neglect, we look at what’s here now. Always loving what’s here now. I’d forgotten how sustaining the love of family can be.

If you want more love, give more love. I’d let go of that somewhere back in a season of wanting more love. It’s in the giving. The giving.

Love,

Jennifer

Harmony

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Three cute Cooper guys spend Easter afternoon building with Legos. Quietly, seriously, calmly, in the signature Cooper way, they proceed, bonding in the deep, wordless way of the Irish male. Fascinating. And adorable.

We’ve been enjoying days upon days of harmony. Having my parents close, knowing that I’m okay for now, watching the layers of a barely-winter peel back to reveal spring.

My friend Lori is teaching me to play piano. I sit at the window and watch the hawks circle our court while I run scales. I don the pretty new apron my mom bought me and pick sweet peas in the garden. I read and rest and play with Little J and his friends.

That’s all. Just life. As simple and beautiful as it can be when the alarms are turned off.

I hope you’re enjoying all the gifts of what’s easy and harmonious.

Hugs,

Jenn

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Good news. My scan looked good. There are still hot spots of activity, but they haven’t grown. Some are smaller.

Wow. No one saw that coming. I do believe the islands Gods granted my wish.

The pain, it seems, is from some non-malignant fluid that is collected in my lower, right abdomen. We don’t know why it’s there.

The other reason for pain is the sigmoid narrowing. That’ll get flushed this week.

For now, it seems, I can stay on my current regimen of Avastin and Cytoxin. It feels like a miracle. It’s what we’ve been praying for. I want get through at least the spring and summer on this doable regimen.

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers and love.

Hugs,

Jennifer

I woke up from a dream of Granada this morning. Maybe the birds singing out my window reminded me of how, on a day like this, when I lived in the Spanish city, my best friend Jon and I would sit in the Paseo de los Tristes and sip our cafes con leche, listen to the River Darro, and watch the light play on the hillside, the houses leaning over the river, the cobblestones:

We would invent a life story of the busker, whose dog, so obedient and comically sad, sat by his side, perhaps daydreaming of a better time:

Then Jon and I would walk for hours through the city, through twisty-turns streets of the Albaicin:

Calle Zafra, where I lived

At some point in the afternoon, we would part ways to go teach English to the children of wealthier Granadinos. Then I would come back to my flat in the Albacyn and rest, listen to the radio, or just sit on the balcony and look out at the Alhambra:

At night, we would gather friends and go out for tapas, for more drinks, to dance or listen to music. And we spent two years doing this, sipping coffee and chatting, soaking in the culture and learning a language. At twenty-five I was thrilled to be doing something “irresponsible” for the first time in my life. To be doing something that wasn’t meant to achieve anything or further a career in anyway. To be doing something that just felt so good and inspiring.

Ironically, my experience in Spain helped form the foundation of what was to become my career in educational publishing. I still marvel at that sometimes. It’s really true, that when you follow you heart and do what feels right on a soul level, things really do fall into place. Not every time, I guess. But sometimes.

I also believe that you don’t need to drop everything and move to a foreign country to live an inspired life, a kind of life that I like to think of as just, “Spain in the spring time.” It’s harder with the day-to-day grind, the scary doctor appointments, the stack of laundry to fold. But it can be done, at any moment. The wisteria blooms and our hearts are ours to open. At any moment. No matter what.

I’m going to listen to music that reminds me of Granada today. I’ll use chores like flex-spending reports and laundry to distract me from thoughts of the appointment that looms. And I’ll try to find the “Spain in the spring time” that surrounds me. And has, for all these years. Whether I see it or not.

Abrazos,

Jenn

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Little J and I took a colander out to the garden yesterday. Under a grey sky, we dug through the brambly tendrils and leaves of the sweet pea vines and pulled at the plump pods.

We gathered quite a bounty and sat down at the table to pop the pods open, one by one. I showed J how to slide a finger down the center of each, pulling fresh peas from the smooth bellies of their sweet, green homes.

The process soothed me. I’ve had a lot weighing on me. As we search for a clinical trial for my next round of treatment, we struggle to stay positive. PARP trials fill up between the time I hear about them and call about them. Many trials are closed to me because of my “heavy pre-treatment.”

When I dig my nail into the flesh of the pea pod, I am awed by the humble work of nature By simply waiting in the dirt and drawing in sun, water, and nutrients, the pea pod grew a thick skin and vibrant, watery flesh that now fills up the space beneath my nails and fingertips as I scrape.

I long for the perfect health of this simple, green plant. It takes in goodness. It gives out sweetness. Like the little boy across from me, it is pure from the inside out, nothing eating away at it. They are whole.

I still have faith that something will bring me back to that place: the right trial, Doxil. Something.

More importantly, there is faith. Enough faith to seed and grow plants and flowers to fill all of Sugartown. That has to be worth something.

Hugs,
Jennifer

Chorus

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My PetCt scan went well this morning. Mari spent the night last night so she could take me. It’s always better for D to be able to walk with Little J to school on scan days. It was also good to be able to take an Ativan and not worry about driving home. The Ativan relaxes me and helps me with the nausea caused by the various dyes and radioactive liquids I’m injected with.

My parents arrive on Sunday to stay in the house they’ll be renting for the coming year so that they can come and stay as often as they want.

I get my results on Monday, and we’ll be talking about a new treatment plan.

We are all still pretty stunned that Doxil is not available in spite of the fact that many cancer patients, including me, desperately need it.

Dennis and my mom have been in touch with Congresspeople all week about this. Dennis even spoke with Diane Feinstein’s Chief of Staff. I may not be able to get it for this round of treatment but will definitely need it in the future. It is insane that pharmaceutical companies and their lobbyists are coming between me and my fight to survive.

I’m happy to have so many people on my side, praying and fighting with me.

Hugs,

Jennifer

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