On Simplicity

14 Apr

We got back last night after spending a few days at Mayo undergoing test after consultation after test. The doctors want to know my body really well before they start fooling around with it. The days at Mayo were triumphant – my mom started and finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in less than two days and I got in some really good people watching.

We met with Julia yesterday afternoon and all the tests came back fine – except for my kidney test. That one is kind of important because it’s not the best idea to put grossly toxic chemo in your body if you can’t sift through it correctly. And apparently my dad’s curative idea of eating lots of kidney beans is not a solution. So change of plans today – I’m driving back to Rochester to meet with a nephrologist. It sounds like my kidneys are still pooped out from the last round of chemo. Hopefully he can whip them into shape. My platelets are also pretty low again, which partly explains the masterpiece of bruises I’ve collected. One would think I’ve been playing contact sports, not simply running into tables, doorways and walls… ah well, I’ll get a transfusion on Monday.

Sitting at Mayo the last few days, and sitting other places for weeks, I’ve pointedly felt the transition from my go-go-go self who relishes diving from project to outing to project again, to my new self who’s remembering the lessons learned on simplicity from the last time around.

I’ve become pretty set that the next six months of my life are going to be, well, boring. Boring and crappy. But boring and crappy is all perspective. I remember the days when it was huge if I just walked down a hallway. I remember being so thankful I could finally take a swig of water because my mouth sores had retreated enough. I remember when going to a high school basketball game was a big ordeal – and a big achievement.

I’m setting myself up for that mentality again, and practicing enjoying the small things that I know I’ll miss. Things like being in public places, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and driving with the windows down and letting the wind blow my hair around – all things I can’t do during transplant time.

It’s not about setting my sights low, but it’s about being realistic. I’ve challenged myself to be more observant, looking harder at the simple things I’ve brushed by before that in fact are full of potential.

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26 Responses to “On Simplicity”

  1. Bev Erven April 14, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    Jenna–You don’t know me but I am a friend of A-T Mracek and I also know your dad. I have been following all your reports and I am so amazed by you and your outlook.
    You are a wonderful person and if everyone in this world would look at life as you do, this would be a terrific world to live in. I am keeping you in my prayers. I live in Grand Rapids MN and you know that your reach has extended to the north. Good luck with the next phase!!!

    • Jenna Langer April 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

      I’m happy to hear I’m getting prayers all the way up North! Thanks so much.

  2. Tracy Haen April 14, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    it’s awesome that you have such a good outlook about all of this. continue to hold your head high and i’ll continue to keep you in my prayers.

    • Jenna Langer April 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

      Thanks so much, Tracy. I challenged my mother to a game of MASH the other day and thought of you 🙂 Oh good days of MASH playing and dream-house-drawing…

  3. Julie Descarrega April 14, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    Well Miss Jenna, I have a bunch of people praying for you. You have been through so much and yet still are sportin a good attitude. You are such a strong person. You really are an inspiration to lots of people. I am glad you live life to the fullest when you possibly can. Keep up the good fight! 🙂

    • Jenna Langer April 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

      Thanks so much for the prayers! I try to have a good attitude – I can’t say I always do, but that’s what I’m aiming for.

  4. Heather Cable April 14, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Ah, the simple things in life! A good reminder for all of us. 🙂 Any particularly amazing highlights from people watching? Hope the nephrologist meeting goes well!!

    • Jenna Langer April 15, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

      I think the best was in the nephrology waiting room listen to the morbidly obese woman on a scooter vociferously telling someone on her cell phone about her inability to urinate – for all the waiting room to hear.

  5. Wendy Traxler April 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Jenna, you are an amazing young woman and you inspire all of us with your attitude and humor. I so enjoy reading your updates but wish more than anything that you wouldn’t have to go through all this. You’ve accomplished so much already in your young life, I can’t wait to see what you bring to the world in the coming years!
    Hope to see you soon.

    • Jenna Langer April 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

      That means a lot – especially that you’re following me. Thank you!

  6. Julie Grathwohl April 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    Hi Jenna — I visited with your mom last night at book club and finally got connected with your Redhead site. You have alot of prayers and support coming your way. I spent afew days last week at the Gift of Life Transplant House in Rochester with a friend that got some new stem cells. That is a wonderful place to recover — very caring people and a relaxing atmosphere. Take care — well wishes go to you and your family.

    • Jenna Langer April 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

      That’s good to hear. We’ve never been inside, but the outside looks beautiful. And, there’s a crazy guy just down the street always wearing a costume and waving flags at traffic. This will be good for people watching out the window.

  7. Ann Bergemann April 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Jenna, If no one has suggested it yet….you better get your Mom the other two Steig Larson books now, The Girl Who Played with Fire and the Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest!!! Maybe she’ll need the Harry Potter Series too or the Pilars of the Earth and the World without End (those are about a 1000 pages each) Heck, those books are so exciting she could read to you after your Royal Wedding Tea Party!!!!! And to relieve the stress of the missing fruits and veggies, driving around in the car with the windows down! There is some really good soap opra material in that list of books above, to get you and your Mom going!
    Keep up the good faith! I pray for you every day! I also pray your inspiration, enthusiasm and Brave Spirit rub off on your fellow generation members!!!! You are a wise and fearless leader! Love you! Love your Mom too! Ann

    • Jenna Langer April 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

      All good suggestions! We’ll have to assess and get back to you. I’ve been told I need to get through a movie list or two since my movie-watching has been paltry thus far. Lots to do! Thanks!

  8. Fran Albright April 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    You are in my thoughts and prayers., you and Jimmy especially since as the month passes and his tests draw near.
    I’ve had the best day: went back to the lake to visit Sue, and yesterday th e ice went out, and I just had to go to see the water.
    It’s a simple thing, and not everyone would understand.
    Looking for your red car in the driveway next door.

    • Jenna Langer April 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm #

      The ice melting is a wonderful sign! Love when those cracks first appear. I should be up this weekend and would love to drop in!

  9. Patty April 14, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    You don’t know me but I have been following your blog.
    You are in my thoughts and my prayers.
    You are an incredible inspiration. And that is putting it mildly.
    I hope for nothing but the best for you.

  10. Kacie Balbach April 16, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Hey Jenna!!

    It really is all about the simple things in life! The little things that make us laugh, cry & love! People watching is the best!! I’m sure you got a few much needed laughs! I have a great collection of girlie movies…I can bring you big stacks of them or I can read you our old play scripts when you are feeling up to it! hehe 😉 Plus you have a great support group that will make your recovery time fly by! I can’t wait until you are feeling up to grabbing that cup of coffee! It was so great to see you the other day! The video from your coworkers was so sweet & it made me tear up!! Matt looked over and was a little concerned! We are both keeping you close to our hearts!! Lots of love & prayers!

    • Jenna Langer April 19, 2011 at 11:01 am #

      May have to take you up on all of that 🙂 Will be around next week – it’s a little touch and go with my schedule at Mayo, but I’ll text you about that cup o’ coffee!

  11. kat woodward April 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Last year my new year’s res was to read 30 books… I made it through 20… I’ll send them to you if you want 🙂 All very “simple” (aka trash)

  12. Mary Mizen April 17, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    Jenna – I’ve been following your blog and thinking of you often. Thank you for your updates. Your idea of focusing on the simple things in life is a good strategy that should be used by all of us. You’re doing everything you can right now – which is all anyone can ask.

  13. Jennifer Keene April 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    You’re amazing. I admire your can-do attitude so much.

    One of your IPG colleagues

    • Jenna Langer April 19, 2011 at 11:03 am #

      I really appreciate it, Jennifer. Thanks.

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