18 May

“We’re bringing in reinforcements for the Mayo Calvary,” announced Dr. Arndt, adopting my vocabulary as she led the charge of 15 doctors and nurses into my stowaway room this morning on rounds.  

The last two days have been worse than the last time I wrote. The docs have concluded that the root of my fevers is a staph infection, so we’re sticking with those sock-it-to-ya antibiotics. But the pain in my legs has gotten far worse to the point that I can’t walk. I can’t even move them. For the last three days I’ve been beefing up my arms and challenging my parents and nurses to move me around without touching my legs, letting them bend weirdly, leaving them unsupported, etc. It’s been fun.

My doctors are a bit stumped. A leg ultrasound and chest x-ray yesterday came back normal. But it got so agonizing last night that they called neurology for a late-night exam. (yes, I made a poor on-call doctor come back to work). The very good news is that I don’t have a spinal infection, a suspicion of the neurologist that led me to the MRI machine at 1 a.m. last night. Clanky MRIs are definitely not fun when you go in with a spiking fever, but it was such a relief to cross that very serious complication off the list. 

Thankfully the collaboration of a bunch of big minds this morning has rendered my legs feeling a bit better. I’m bending them now, in fact. Granted, I need someone to help me bend them, but it’s progress. The new thinking is that this leg thing may be the result of a combination of things – an offshoot side effect of my anti-nausea drug, which they’ve switched, plus maybe a symptom of this lovely staph infection. Let’s hope this works. Otherwise it’s back to the drawing board.

No More Redhead, But I'm Convinced Chemo Made My Freckles Come Out

Oh yeah, and I shaved my head yesterday. My red hair was falling out in clumps, so it’s better to just get rid of it. There’s a volunteer barber here who comes around and does it for you – a wonderful service. My mom teared up. I didn’t for some reason.

Now I know “Redhead Report” no longer technically applies, but you know a redhead is so much more. Plus I thankfully still have eyelashes to prove it.

For all the comments, Facebook messages, notes, cards and other fun forms of support you’ve come up with, thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m reading everything and it helps more than you know.

44 Responses to “Reinforcements”

  1. Krystal May 18, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

    We may not know each other very well, but please know I’m here if you need anything. I make some pretty good sugar cookies, so if you need some of those- just let me know and I’ll send em up! 🙂

    Thinking of you!

  2. kat woodward May 18, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    and you still look absolutely beautiful 🙂 i got my mouth swabs last night in the mail, so in a few days I’ll be official! Hopefully you’re feeling better soon!

  3. jenna May 18, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    praying for you like crazy over here. St. Peter’s misses you 🙂 Also, (and I’m not just saying this because otherwise I just wouldn’t say ANYthing) you look really great with a shaved head! wow! Your beautiful smile definitely makes a difference too 🙂

  4. kelli passalacqua May 18, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Jenna- you look stunning!

  5. Brittany Rask May 18, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    You are amazing, and still that wonderful smile of yours on your face.

  6. James Vancura May 18, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Jay Vancura vs Jenna Langer

    Most Hair: Jay
    Looks: Jenna
    Joke Telling: Jenna

    2 out of 3 is not bad.



    • Danny Schreiber May 18, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

      Polka Dancing: Jenna

      Make that 3/4.

      You two are in my prayers and thoughts daily now.

  7. Beth Altmann Rewitzer May 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    The lack of hair makes your great smile stand out even more!!! Hang in there and keep the docs on their toes!
    Say “hi” to your mom for me and keep staying strong!

    Hugs again!!!

  8. Sarah Rotering May 18, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    you make bald look beautiful, my dear …no doubt about that.

    i can’t imagine what you’re thinking and feeling. dig deep and keep on keepin’ on!

    sending good juju your way and remembering very fondly how we watched Young & the Restless even though your mom clearly instructed “no soap operas!” 🙂

  9. Pam Schmid May 18, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    You are so beautiful, Jenna… Your spirit just soars through the air off of the page. Special prayers so that you don’t have another night like that. Much love…

  10. Betsy (Willing) Price May 18, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    hope the leg issues go away fast and glad to hear it’s not a spinal infection…
    you do have a great smile – and you’ll always be a red head even if the hair’s not there ^-^

    got some close friends praying for you – they all send their support to you

  11. robinguadagnini May 18, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    Ok..Only YOU can still look gorgeous, sick with Staph, post chemo, and BMT, and no hair..and STILL look gorgeous!!!!

    I am sooooo sorry for all that your poor body, and poor you and your sweet Mom and family are going through.. I am so very pleased they have diagnosed the staph, and that maybe the new cocktail of meds, will help with the legs and overall feeling!!
    Sending a big hug!

  12. Jennifer Tveitnes May 18, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    Jenna, Rusty & I love you and are praying for you!! He’s sending some redheaded love your way. 🙂

  13. Emily Herzog May 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    Jenna, your strength is truly amazing. My thoughts are with you. I hope to see you back in D.C. when you are back on your feet!

  14. Becca Mitchell May 18, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    Thinking of you always, Jenna!

  15. Sharon Deutsch May 18, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    Thinking and praying for you, Jenna!

  16. Tricia Schreiber May 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    Lovely staph infection? The only thing LOVELY is YOU, Jenna! You ARE – sans hair, even, look at that smile, will you everyone? The Mayo Calvary is blessed and honored to have you as a patient. Thank God that you have now had just a smidgeon of relief in your legs and pray that you’ve been through the worst of that. So sorry, though, that the staph took ahold, now we ask for it to get the heck out! Prayers and more prayers and forwarding your posts to ask for even more.

  17. Sarah Ivers May 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    Hey Jenna,

    Sean says “Hi” Can’t wait to see your freckles 🙂 You’ll be tap-dancing in no time, As ever, I’m glad you have such a great team working with you. Tell your legs who’s boss.
    love love love and sunshine to you

    xoxo sarah

  18. Jonathan Haupt May 19, 2011 at 1:30 am #

    You look just as beautiful as the first day I meet you…although we haven’t ever meet 🙂 You’ll get through this Jenna, one moment at a time. Thinking of you always.

  19. Rose Forst May 19, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    Hey Jenna,

    Glad those legs are on the move now. I have to admit that I too watch the Y & R. You should read the Toni’s spoiler site. Her comments are soooo funny. Has your humor. Thinking of you often.

  20. Fran Albright May 19, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    Happy Birthday Jenna: I see that today you are smiling!! You are so in my prayers. Shirley Goering and Ruth Palmer are two of my friends who are also watching this blog and praying for you. I think Ruth and Gordy go to Mass about every day. Be lifted up with the pprayers of many.

  21. Jen May 19, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers! And, if I do say so, you look might fabulous bald!

  22. Bev Erven May 19, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    Still beautiful and still smiling. You hang in there girl. My thoughts and prayers are with you evey day!!

  23. Ann Bergemann May 19, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    You are truly amazing Jenna!!!! What more can be said! You inspire me! Thank you so much! My thoughts and prays continue for you! Love, Ann

  24. Jordan May 19, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Jenna you don’t need those red locks to be my favorite ginger 😉 You’re stronger than most I know! Your attitude and perseverance through this tells me there’s nothing in your life you can’t do. Hang in there girl!

  25. Catherine May 19, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    You are so BEAUTIFUL! I am sending many prayers and positive thoughts your way. Stay strong. You are one amazing woman.

  26. Ann May 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

    I seem to recall that you have a freckled scalp which is actually quite cute. I am visualizing the helpful little marrow cells taking up residence as we speak!

  27. Gusty May 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Hey Jenna! You are one of the bravest and strongest people I know. You are always in my thoughts and prayers! Please let me know if you or your family needs anything. You have been my friend for a very long time and I’m always here for you!!! Love ya!

  28. Katie Prochniak May 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Thinking of you and sending prayers your way. You are such an inspiration with courage. Hope things get better soon

  29. Stephanie Pagan May 19, 2011 at 6:45 pm #

    Hi Jenna,
    Hello from D.C.! I’ll say the same thing everyone else has – wow, your smile is amazing and you look great! It’s an understatement to say that I hope you get better, and feel better, soon!


  30. Kyle Ludewig May 19, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Jenna–Thank you for the update! You dash, frolick, and/or skip in and out of my mind several times each day. Press on and keep smiling! I am a BIG fan of your blog.

  31. Karen May 19, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    Hey Jenna,

    It’s good to see your beautiful face! I miss it! Praying for healing and that your American Gladiator-fighting spirit is sustained even in these tough times. Hang in there!


  32. Denise May 20, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    Your smile is worth millions! And, it’s contagous. Rain is in the forecast this weekend. Jumping in puddles with some help might be fun!
    We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
    Take care-Thank you for the Redhead Report.

  33. Cate May 20, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    Happy Birthday Jenna!

    Here’s a nice little youtube tribute to you on your day!


    • Ann May 20, 2011 at 9:47 am #

      Cate, you find the best dog stuff! Anyway happy birthday Jenna!

  34. Ricky Martin May 20, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    I hear you’re into superstitions, black cats and voodoo dolls. I feel a premonition that it’s your birthday.

    Happy Birthday!

    • Ann May 20, 2011 at 9:59 am #

      *This comment is a party all on its own* 😉

  35. Nancy Braam May 20, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    I just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY-hoping you can enjoy the day as much as possible. Say hi to your Mom. We are all thinking of you both every day. I love the blog-very creative. Thoughts and prayers are with you. Keep your beautiful smile.

  36. Connie May 20, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    Happy Birthday Jenna!
    I hope you have a reprieve from everything yucky today, and more importantly, feel the love and support of your calvary behind/beside/all around you.
    You are amazing 🙂

  37. Laurie Pappenfus May 20, 2011 at 10:16 am #


  38. Ann Bergemann May 20, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!
    Wanted to wish you Happy Birthday 25 times!!!! Hope you get to have lots of delicious cake!!!!!!!!!!!

  39. Mindy May 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    Happy Birthday Jenna!!! Our thoughts are with you today and always.

  40. Jamie Hoffmann May 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Jenna you are a doll and it is great to see a smile on your face. Now that I think about it… There is always a smile on your face. Keep it up.

  41. Jenny Helget May 22, 2011 at 3:12 am #

    Jenna, your story is intriguing and uplifting. I am amazed by your humor and incredibly positive outlook. I hardly know you, yet am still inspired by your strength and perseverence. Keep up the fight!

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