Friends, it is time I share what has been going on this past week and if you can, please pause for a second and picture me on my knees begging you and everyone you know to pray through this with me and my family because these posts and my time spent sharing intimate details of my journey with cancer are not for social media entertainment or a gossip column about “have you heard about Jeni?!”… I share these details because I have faith in Jesus’ promise (Matthew 17:20 #mustardseedfaith) and the power of prayer. Not the kind of empty “aw, so sad…I’ll pray for you” prayer but EARNEST (James 5:16-18), AUDACIOUS (#joshua), INTENTIONAL prayer. I believe God is good and I believe Jesus died for me so I can live for Him, even if that means I suffer in these small worldly ways. My life was transformed by His Grace and this embarrassing and emotional can-barely-hold-my-baby//lose-my-hair-twice//firstname-basis-with-all-the-doctors//cancer-sucks story will somehow, someway be used for His glory.
The MRI scan of my brain last week show an unfortunate growth of new cancer around my brain.
There are a handful of friends and family members that I wasn’t able to call this week starting to cry already, please don’t be sad.
The good news is that my medical team is very aggressive and put together a treatment plan that has already started. In addition to the continuation of my “chemo pill” Tarceva, I have to visit my friends in the radiation department for whole brain radiation twice a day for two weeks.
There are so many intentional prayers needed here…I will trust that the spirit leads each of you reading this to know what something specific you can pray with us. (Speak over the cancer cells to leave my body, prayers for the radiation team treating me, prayers over everyone helping me get to the cancer center twice each day, pray for the next scans to be clear, ETC!)
The type of growth in my brain is the same I described at my last hospitalization when Leptomeningeal Disease was found at the base of my spine. This is just a different kind of cancer growth, unlike a typical “tumor mass,” it occurs when tumor cells infiltrate the layers of protective tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord and begin to grow. So you can better envision, my past brain tumors (2 of which remain in the back of my right and left cerebellum/ 16 of which disappeared after my first round of radiation last summer) were masses in my brain, whereas this new progression of cancer is around the lining of my brain. Even though it’s a different type of cancerous growth, the radiation to my whole brain will cause my hair to fall out once again.
The good news I have has me praising God for answered prayers! I’ve prayed and prayed and cried and cried over my pain. One of my doctors was able to finally able to put a reason to the rhyme; Cauda Equina Syndrome. My severe lower back pain is due to the leptomeningeal disease at the base of my spine (that we already knew about) damaging all the nerve roots that are down there, causing radiculopathy (a rare condition where nerves don’t work properly), making all of my complaints and tears over severe pain, weakness, and a numb right leg believable! My doctor is confident that three weeks of radiation to this area will reduce the agitation at that site and provide pain relief. Hallelujah!
I want everyone to know that I am OKAY. I am under the best care where I am and have the best support team (all of you). Please don’t feel obligated to write me unless you feel called to share your prayers and well wishes… I am confident that He hears all of these prayers and that is enough. This week has been painful, but has drawn me and my husband closer, me and my family closer, and given me much much much deeper gratitude for this life I’ve been blessed with.
Here are a few photos Adam was able to take when the radiation team was fitting me for my radiation mask that holds me in place during treatments. It’s not fun but kind of fascinating.
Lastly, Please join us in saying goodbye to my hair, again. You all know it’s my favorite part of this! (Isn’t my husband handsome?!)