Time to lace them tighter...

Snippets of randomness flit through my mind on a daily basis. I'm not sure if they can be attributed to chemo brain or just the fact that I have always been a little random with my thought processes. The phrase "the incredible lightness of being" has been stuck in my head, and upon Googling it (I find myself amused that "to Google" is an action, and a proper one at that) I realized I was actually thinking of the Unbearable Lightness of Being, which in and of itself would be a bit more apropos, if I was actually feeling "lightness of being". Unbearable seems to fit the bill at times, but I digress. I noticed, however, that Amazon says that those who bought the previously mentioned book also liked One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I read that book years ago when it was given to me by a friend back in Boston. Jen Clark. I lent it to a friend of a friend of a friend here in Phoenix about 5 years ago and never saw hair nor hide of it again. That's my randomness of the day.

Randomness, it seems, is potentially better than the alternative commentary that might be found here...

I remember when we ran my first half marathon. We had just crossed over the Mill Avenue bridge and I saw the 12 mile marker. I think it might have been the farthest I had run at that point, or at least pretty close to it. I let out a triumphant yell at that point. Greg was a bit in front of me, and turned around suddenly to see if I had fallen down or something. With an enormous smile on my face, I told him that no, I just realized how far I had come, and that I knew I could finish. And I ran on. I remember getting so tired after that point. It was almost as if I started to celebrate too soon, and still had more that I knew I needed to dig deep and find. I remember him telling me, " I only need 10 more minutes from you, then we're done. It won't even TAKE 10 minutes. You have got this..." I ran on, and although I remember that from 13 miles to 13.1 miles seemed momentarily endless (although if that's not an oxymoron, I'm not sure what is...) the finish line was finally in sight. Just before we crossed the sensors, he reached over and grabbed my hand. Triumphant, we finished together, and as I looked up at the clock, even though I knew that my actual chip time was even faster than the number I saw above me, I still saw that I had beat my goal by more than 5 minutes. Mission accomplished, over and above my expectations...

I can see the 12 mile marker ahead of me. Or, at least, I think I can. It still seems a bit far, particularly lately. Except this time the distance from, 12 miles to 13.1 equals two more weeks of treatments. I have to remember this. I need to lace up the gloves tighter, dig deeper than I think I can, take the deepest breath I can muster, smile through it all, and make it through to the morning of December 19. That will be my 13 mile mark. Treatment will be the last 1/10 mile. Then I can exhale. For a little while, at least.

I couldn't stop the tears, while writing the paragraph above about the half marathon, and I can't for the life of me realize why it's become so hard when I'm so close to the end. At least the end of this chapter. I so look forward to the break from treatments, and although I know there is a slim possibility that once January 10 has passed and the surgery is done, and all the offending ovaries and masses are once and for all out of my system, I won't need to have more chemo. However, it's such a slim chance that while it's in the back of my mind, I can't count on that being reality - if it happens, I'll be pleasantly surprised (read: ridiculously ecstatic). For now, the break is the finish line. The final peak, for now. I just need to get there...

So, ok. I'm approaching the 12 mile marker. Maybe I'm not quite ready for the triumphant yell. Maybe I don't quite realize at times, how far I've really come. Maybe the dark circles around my eyes and the alien I see in the mirror tends to cloud my vision. Maybe I need to remember that I have a very incredible husband who has sat with me through every week of treatment, who has continued to treat me like a person instead of a patient, and who has managed to look past the alien life form I see in the mirror and still see his beautiful wife somewhere in there up to this point, even though lately I don't even know how or if it's possible to see past this mess. Maybe I need to remember that six months is a small period of time in the big picture. And maybe I just need to suck it up even when I feel ugly and tired and fat and so ready for my life back that I can taste it.

Between now and then, I need to find as much laughter and love as I can, wherever I can. I need to focus on the fact that these treatments are working and that I'm one step closer to being re-acquainted with my elusive friend Ned (No Evidence of Disease). I need to remember that I'm alive and I'm strong and I'm able to get up every morning and walk a 10k. And that the poisons they are pumping into me, although they have really taken a toll on my physical and emotional self, will enable me to live as I am supposed to live for many years after this one. I may need a little extra push at times, and I don't always know how to ask for that. I think it comes with the territory of being stubborn and wanting to be self-sufficient. I'm supposed to be superwoman, don't you know? It's times like those that I have to remember my promise to myself and those that love me that I will not try and do this alone, this time. Even when it gets lonely.

"...only 10 more minutes from you, then we're done...You have got this..."


    i love you Jen.

    Oh Jen, I had tears streaming down my face reading this...You are beautiful, both on the outside and inside...If only you could see the Jen that the rest of us can see...The pic of you smiling with the hat on is the best pic of you-because that's the Jen we all see, that's the Jen that Greg sees...You are beautiful, and amazing...Hugs to you!...

    Your blog is beautiful. You have a gift and I think you should publish your thoughts, they are so hopeful and inspiring. I find myself motivated to do more, to be stronger, to advocate change after I read your words.

    You always got that extra 10 minutes in you, Jen.

    We all love you and we are lucky to have such a strong beautiful person as part of our family. You continue to inspire me. We love you!

    Jen, you HAVE got this. And the incredible thing is, that if you falter, even for a minute, that guy that holds your hand and your heart??? he will carry you for a minute. And when he gets tired, we will carry him. You see how this works? This network of love that you built??? We are here for you both. Now and forever. Hang in there, my dear. Find that final push. Take that deep breath. And let us carry you both if you need to. There is no shame in that. Ever.

    Ah, my Vivo....have I told you lately just how AMAZING you are?

    I love you.

    And everything Aly said.....duh!.

    It is going to be OVER....
    and DONE....

    Not up for discussion.

    You are just so beautiful. There is nothing else I can say really but I am so moved and inspired by you and I see what Greg sees in those pictures of you. Thanks for this. Know that even though we've never met, you are frequently in my thoughts.

    the last leg is always the hardest just like the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence :)

    Now is when you need your cheering section to pump you up and move you along.. you are almost there my friend.

    We need to have a drink at the finish line.