Day +4

16 May

Today was not a good day. I spiked a fairly serious and tenacious fever that earned me some sock-it-to-ya antibiotics. They drew blood cultures this morning to diagnose the root of my hot chills, but until we receive a diagnosis they’re treating it preemptively with a suite of antibiotics that cover all the bases. I have muscle aches in my legs so tight that I can’t walk, even with a walker. I’ve developed mouthsores that have earned me my very own morphine pump. I’m getting blood transfusions daily. I’ve had so much IV Benadryl over the past few days that I can stay awake through it. My hair is starting to fall out.

Oh yeah, this is chemo. It just took a while for my body to realize it ingested a ton of it.

The good news is that I’m still able to eat, which is apparently some sort of feat. Most are on food tubes by this point, so eating ice cream draws veritable applause around here.

So now we wait. We wait for my brand new bone marrow to engraft and fend off fevers that are taking advantage of my obsolete immune system meanwhile. Engraftment typically takes two to three weeks, but it’s anyone’s guess. I’m having a little fun with it by starting a pool with my doctors and nurses.

In other news, my brother Jack graduated from the University of Minnesota yesterday. No more “Jenna, can you edit this one last paper for me?” Whew. He landed a job with AmeriCorps VISTA in a St. Paul school. This is one beaming sister.

Jack and Dad on Graduation Day

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23 Responses to “Day +4”

  1. Laurie Pappenfus May 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    We are wrapping you in prayers.

  2. Betsy (Willing) Price May 16, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    put my name like I did so you’d know who this is…
    I had no idea things were a struggle again for you – I know I have been thinking of you more lately and each time I did I’d send up a little prayer that all was going good for you. I’ll be surely praying for you now that I know why you kept slipping into my mind at random times. Jus like in school – you will beat this thing! it doesn’t know who it’s fighting with! (yes I do remember you saying that to a crying class our senior year)

  3. Cate May 16, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    jenna—icky, icky, icky….Hmmm what can i say to make things even a bit better?

    We know that Andrew is going to graduate, he came back from the mosh pits of Lazerfest with minimal injuries. It rained the whole time and they had a great time. I must say I don’t understand this mosh pit thing…must go to YouTube to see what all the fuss is about. Glad you got the MS pump, at least it makes it easier to eat which we know is a good thing. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers…it was nice to spend the day with you, glad you are comfortable with me. Andrew says you are stronger than he could ever be. Love.

  4. Sue Reller May 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    Dear Jenna:

    This is Tom and Sue Reller. We are good friends and neighbors of your dad and Cindy. We hope you have all the love, support and encouragement it takes to get through those tough days. We haven’t met you, but now feel like we know you, and hope you can feel the strength we are sending to you through the air waves. Thank you for sharing your story with everyone; your courage and positive attitude are so humbling to us Wendy Whiners. We also want to thank you for the insight into Kurt’s love of the Glee Marathon. We think it would be a wonderful idea to get the seasons for him, so when you get home the two of you can watch them over and over and over!

    Feel better soon!

  5. kat woodward May 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm #

    sorry you aren’t feeling well. sending well wishes your way!

  6. Katie Lloyd May 16, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    And I thought I was having a lousy day. Wow, Jenna. This certainly puts things in perspective. Praying for you exceptionally hard tonight.


  7. JFart May 16, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Hey Jen,
    Keep on fighting and staying strong, Jen. Thinking about you a lot and praying for you!

    One highlight from my trip that I needed to share: 98 Degrees band member Jeff Timmons was the musical guest at the Chippendale’s show. He obviously fell in love with me the two times he saw me before the show because he came into the second row during a song and stood right by me singing for awhile. Spotlight on us and all. I’m smitten 🙂

  8. Beth Altmann Rewitzer May 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    I feel so bad for you that you have to have all these yucky side effects! Each moment of those ill feelings that pass by will get you closer to feeling better! Yes eating is awesome….even if it’s just ice cream! I say you’d better “up” those odds with the docs and nurses so you can take’em to the cleaners!!! Brad told me this morning about the hair….I say get rid of it and make way for the new healthy growth!!! It would mark the start of new beginnings for you!!!

    Stay strong and sending continued prayers and hugs!!


  9. Jennifer Keene May 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    Like my mother always says “this too shall pass.” Hang in there. I wish I had more inspiring comments to add beyond letting you know that you have lots of people rooting for you.

    – Your IPG colleague

  10. JFart May 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    Just in case you didn’t know what he looks like 🙂

  11. Barbara May 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

    mmmmm ice cream….keep eatin’, woman! I know this is tough right now, but I also know that you will shine through it! You are so inspiring, words cannot describe it. Thinking of you always! hugs&kisses&love, Barbara

    Response to JFart: I am super jealous that you were serenaded by Jeff from 98 degrees….he was my favorite!

  12. Karen Torseth May 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm #


    So sorry to hear that you have had a tough day! You are a tough girl who is strong and can get through this. I guess if there is one thing that you are going to enjoy eating, why not ice cream…yummm!! We are sending many prayers your way! Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us!!

    Doug & Karen Torseth
    (Friends of Kurt & Cindy’s)

  13. Linda F May 17, 2011 at 5:47 am #

    Hey girl – I’m thinking engrafting thoughts! Hang in there…

  14. Fran Albright May 17, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    Jenna: Even when your post is quiet, I am lifting you up (prayers, that is). HE knows your needs, the prayers of many are telling Him.
    Og! Ron and I will go to the DQ today and lift you up.

  15. Tiffany W May 17, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    As I read your post a song from my younger boy crazy years popped into my mind… You may have heard of it… “Hanging Tough” by New Kids on The Block. Keep “hanging tough” Jenna!
    Or at least sing the song to yourself and imagine me in the early 90s with a really bad perm!

    Congratulations to Jack! What an accomplishment!

    Hugs from Omaha!
    Much love,

  16. Catherine May 17, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Thank-you for the update. I was praying and thinking about you this morning.

  17. Clare May 17, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    I tried to reply via my phone last night, but it never seems to work! Here is something to think about about while passing the time so we can get to day +21 and beyond: I am taking bets among all who care about whether a dancer on Dancing with the Stars is going to have a wardrobe malfunction this season. I think it is just a matter of time and I need to get your thoughts on this serious issue. Take time to think about it and get back to me:-)

  18. Lucia May 17, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    Big hugs to you, Jenna. Hope you have a better day today! Congrats to your bro:)

  19. Vicki May 17, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    We are all ready for the new bone marrow to kick in. As always big prayers heading your way!

  20. Steffen May 17, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    From now on I will try to remember this whenever i feel like complaining about something inanely trivial.

    Get well soon. Mega marrow to the rescue!

  21. nita seibel May 17, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Hang in there, Jenna! Congratulations to your brother.

  22. Lori Thom May 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Jenna, hope that you feel better soon. Thinking of you. Congratulations to Jack!

  23. Brittany Rask May 18, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    They better have found you the good Popsicles! Keep er going! Thinking of you!

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