I know I was supposed to post pictures and tell you all about the trip to New York City, but that’s going to have to wait. Tomorrow is my surgery and I feel compelled to write what’s on my mind.

Maybe I’ve just forgotten the emotions and anxiety before surgery – and I’ve had plenty to be considered a veteran. The listing of my past surgical history always takes up more room than the medical forms allow for. But for some reason, I am much more agitated today than I think I’ve ever been before a surgery. Except for maybe my mastectomy while there was still a chance I didn’t have cancer.

I’m fairly certain one of the reasons for my apprehension is the skin issues I still have. My rashes seem to be fairly well under control, but a new one popped up just yesterday. And as for the blisters, I don’t know what to think. Every time I think they’re going away I find another one or two and we still don’t have a definitive diagnosis.

And all this started with my reconstruction surgery in December. So I can’t help but worry this surgery will just start something new. Then again maybe all my skin issues are strangely related to my ovaries and once they’re removed from my body my rashes and blisters will miraculously disappear. A girl can hope.

Another emotion I’m feeling right now is anger. I’m furious that I’ve been put in this position because of a stupid mass of mutant cells that decided to take up residence in my left breast. Those cells have turned the lives of myself and my family upside down. Even after all this time we’re still “suffering” the effects. Breast cancer has become an epidemic so I’m hardly alone. It makes me mad for all the women and men who have to deal with this disease.

I also feel as though I’ve been gypped. Like the little girl I was who would let most everyone have their way while I stood back and waited patiently for my turn. I’ve been waiting for my turn for two years now.

When I had surgery and then went through chemo I knew my “baggage” was temporary. The hair was going to grow back. The blood counts would come back up. My energy would be restored. I’d lose the weight I’d gained. My family would be reunited. My breast would be reconstructed.

Once the house in Arkansas sold and the kids and I made our move to Pennsylvania I thought reconstruction would be the end of my road. Before my diagnosis, I liked taking a bath in fragrant bubbles and slathering delicious smelling lotion all over. I liked wearing something special for Todd and I liked what happened when I did. That was just one aspect I wanted back after the reconstruction.

Between surgery and treatment, the effort of gussying up alone was too much. Then when I was feeling better I still had the image issues. A woman can feel only so sexy when she has only one breast. That is to say not at all – at least in my case.

So I thought once the reconstruction was over I’d have a better self-image. I’d lose the weight I’d gained and I’d get back my regular life. Todd and I would get back the intimacy we’d been forced to forfeit. I was looking forward to buying new clothes. Clothes that would flatter my new figure. Maybe a couple new nightgowns and a sexy, but modest sundress to wear on our date in Hawaii.

Instead, I ended up with at least three different skin issues and severe bleeding problems. Tomorrow I’ll go in and get the bleeding problems taken care of. Then I’ll have several more weeks of recovery, but I do know I’ll feel better when all is said and done.

That leaves me with the skin problems. I know that they will eventually go away as well and maybe THEN I can get back to the business of being normal. Well, my new normal. But normal nonetheless.

So I’m still the kid holding the rope while everyone else gets a turn to jump. I want to jump so badly, but I’m trying to be patient and wait my turn. Even though it seems to me a couple of the kids have had two turns already.

It sounds so silly as I read it, but that’s the truth of it. What probably sounds even sillier is that, while I hate what we’ve been through, I don’t think I would change it. I’ve seen God work in my life and the lives of my husband and children in ways I never would have imagined. And honestly, if any of this has brought even a little bit of glory to God, then it’s worth it. When I put it that way, it all doesn’t seem so very bad.

I’ll be back in a few days to tell you surgery went swimmingly and I didn’t say anything embarrassing while on drugs. Or off drugs. I hope it won’t be a lie.


  1. Manic Mom on July 1, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    Oh Jen, this post really brought a sadness to me. I am so sorry you’ve been through so much, and are still not the one ‘double-dutching’… you’ve got such an amazing strength, i can tell just from the words you share. I feel heavy in my heart for you right now and will be thinking of you as you go into surgery tomorrow.xo

  2. Eileen on July 1, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    I am so glad you posted how you are feeling, because after all you have been through, it is good for you to get it out and share with people who care. I think your an amazing person, who has so much strength and faith. It is ok to be worried, stressed and frustrated, on the life stressor scale you have been at a 10. Just remember that “you shall be secure because of hope” You have so many people who love you and care about you keeping you close in their heart. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and I know it will go well, and soon you will be home, recovering and it will all be over. Sending lots of love, blessings and healthy thoughts your way! XOXOX

  3. CindyS on July 1, 2007 at 8:44 pm

    I will say a special prayer for you and I’m glad my Magic Bullet gave you a bit of a laugh. I’m sorry for all you have been through but you and your family are still strong and I don’t think Todd is going anywhere. Hopefully this surgery will be the last and your skin will heal and you’ll revel in your new self.CindyS

  4. Angry Woman on July 1, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    {{{{hugs}}}}Sorry that your going through so much. I’ll be praying for your quick recovery.

  5. Colorado Writer on July 1, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    Praying for you! Thinking of you!

  6. Wanda on July 1, 2007 at 11:47 pm

    I am so very glad you visited my blog today, so I could come and visit yours. What a honest and insightful post. I can’t imagine all that you are going through, but know this, new friend, I will be praying for you, and I will be back daily to see your progress.

  7. Wanda on July 1, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    Oh, I almost forgot….I do love Francine Rivers novals…I think I’ve read them all!!! She had a way with words…and so do you. I an a wantabe writer too.

  8. Swishy on July 2, 2007 at 3:19 am

    It doesn’t sound silly at ALL–it makes perfect sense, and it flat-out sucks, and it’s OK to say it does. I was thinking about you this morning, remembering you were about to go in for surgery. I hope you realize what a wonderful influence you have on so many people and what an inspiration you are. I know it doesn’t make it suck any less, but there sure are a lot of people who are rooting hard for you to get your chance to jump! I hope that helps at least a little.

  9. Tara Marie on July 2, 2007 at 7:55 am

    Thoughts, prayers and hugs are with you.I can’t believe it’s taken this long for you to get “angry”–I’d have been royally pissed a lot sooner. Anger isn’t a bad thing–let it burn out quick, you’ll feel better.

  10. Beth on July 2, 2007 at 9:16 am

    wow.I found you through the wonderful swishy, and I’m sooo glad I did. I see your comments on other blogs and now I read you!!Life just sucks sometimes. simple as that. But you ahve alot of courage and I admire that. You WILL come out of your surgery kickin some ass and I can’t wait to see it!!

  11. Barb on July 2, 2007 at 10:24 am

    Um, you’re not the only one holding the rope out there, Jenster. There are lotsa others out there just like you, and many who have gone before you as well. Hang in there, kiddo, and try to enjoy your recovery time. God can usually do more with situations like yours than with people who are seemingly sliding thru life. :o)

  12. Jen on July 2, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Praying for you Jen – and Todd and the kids as well. Hang in there!

  13. Deb C on July 2, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Sorry to here you are feeling sad and angry, but glad you are getting it OUT! I will be thinking of you and saying a prayer today. When you are recovering from this surgery, I say get on the internet and buy yourself a cute pair of Jumpin’ shoes….a girl can’t be expected to move from rope spinning to jumping without a cute new pair of shoes…Hang in there girlfriend!Deb C

  14. Devonna on July 2, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    I’m praying for you, Jen. I so understand, though ~ enough is enough.

  15. Lainey-Paney on July 2, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    good luck with the surgery.:)

  16. Ann Jessup on July 2, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Jen,You and your family are in our prayers always. Take care of yourself and try not to push to be “normal” too fast.

  17. angela on July 2, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    “God had a better plan for us; that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.” Hebrews 11:40I see you living out this verse. The Bible lists faith giants like Abraham, Joseph, and Moses. I’m mentally adding Jenster. Not only do you believe without seeing (yet), but you’ve opened up your heart to us all so that we can learn from your trials. That alone takes more faith than most people have. God bless.

  18. Pokey Puppy on July 2, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    I’ve only been reading you a short time.. but i’ve been through alot as well medically speaking.. not as much as you have but a hell of a lot for my age… may god be with you and yours and i will pray for you often.

  19. Dorky Dad on July 3, 2007 at 12:51 am

    You’re handling that a heckuva lot better than I would, that’s for sure. I really admire how you’re facing all of this. I’ll say a little prayer for you …

  20. radioactive girl on July 3, 2007 at 8:30 am

    I am sad you feel this way, but so happy you put it all into words. I feel the same exact way. I keep waiting, and being patient, and it seems to get me nowhere sometimes. My life is fine, but so different from what I imagined it would be. Someday I know I will be done with all the medical stuff, but right now that light at the end of the tunnel seems just so far away. I’ll be thinking of you, and waiting for an update!

  21. Terri on July 3, 2007 at 9:45 am

    To all – talked to Mother last night, surgery went well. No surprises, nothing additional found. I’m sure Jenni will post details once she is home and up to the computer. Thank you for all the prayers. Terri, Jenni’s sister

  22. Anonymous on July 3, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    All:Really quick…..Jen is doing very well and is expected to be released from the hospital tonight……Todd

  23. Mary RM on July 3, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Sending prayers and good thoughts your way, Jen. Hang in there!–MRM

  24. Monnik on July 3, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Hey Jenster… I’m checking in from Sandusky, OH while on vacation. We drove through Pennsylvania on our way to and from New York…. I tried to wave, but I expect you were too drugged to see me. :)I’m relieved to hear that the surgery went well. Hope you’re up and at ’em soon.

  25. Swishy on July 4, 2007 at 1:46 am

    Jen! You let Todd read your blog? How are you supposed to talk smack about him?? LOL.Juuuuuuust kidding. I have been thinking about you a lot. I’m glad to hear you’re doing OK. Hang in there, you.

  26. Jodi_Lee on July 5, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    Jen, In a way, I know how you feel (car accident). It took me close to 15 years before I felt I finally had my turn at the rope. It was worth the wait. It will be for you too. ~Love & Prayers To You

  27. Jenster on July 5, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Jodi – 15 years?? You’re not that old. How old were you when you were in the accident?You make my two years seems like a few days. I’m so glad you’re jumping now!

  28. Mister Underhill on July 6, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Here I was feeling sorry for myself for the minor surgery I had to go through and it throwing me out of shape.It sounds like a terrible time, and I wonder that you have so uch strength to go on.I hope normalcy comes back for you soon. It seems it’s been a long road and you deserve it.

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