Fireflies, Not Fireworks

6 Jul

At this point there is no popping, flashy news. No occasions of perfect match finds, engraftment announcements or DNA switches. Like my weekend, no fireworks.

But in these weeks of creeping recovery, there are smaller bursts of light – sparks that I have to remember are worthy of my focus.

It’s the Mennonite girls who volunteer here and always ask about me when I’m at the infusion center instead of their suppertime singing performances. It’s the wonderful friends and family who cram my weekends with stories from the outside. It’s the easy silence I can have with my caregiver mom because we’re finally all caught up. And it’s the mini improvements in making my very own blood components.

“If you keep putting up numbers like these – try to get that hemoglobin out of the eights – and can turn over two consecutive negative CMV tests, we may even send you home before Day 100,” said Julia today. She explained that I would still have to get a daily anti-viral IV infusion, but apparently my mom could suspend it from a wire hanger or something at home all the same.

The only other stipulation is that I would need an on-call driver (ahem, mom) who can hustle me to Rochester if I spike a fever. Not to worry, my mom is better than an ambulance. On a trip to Rochester seven years ago, she was speeding to the sound of sirens behind us. As she pulled to the shoulder she barked, “Take your hat off!”

Rolling down the window she pouted, “I’m sorry, officer – I’m just trying to get my daughter to Mayo for chemo this morning.” Works like a charm.

My biggest feat in the last week has been walking up the mammoth hill behind the Transplant House that leads to the historic Pill Hill. On the 4th of July I scaled this thing with breath to spare:

Definitely steeper than it looks.

Although the fireworks would begin in an hour, I was content staying home. Strolling past rows of antique houses, tiny blips of light in the grass caught my eye. The lawns were exploding with fireflies, their first night out on the town. As I continued, I came to appreciate that these small flares can be just as brilliant as the fireworks in the distance.

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38 Responses to “Fireflies, Not Fireworks”

  1. Cate July 6, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    Jenna–you are so right…fireflies are miniature fireworks–nice idea. And mosquitoes are miniature lab techs with needles. We got chased indoors by the buggers on Monday night.

    Hope to see you soon…you sound so much stronger–walk those hills!

    Will forward you my email on my disappointing search for support.


  2. Clare July 6, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    Very nicely put, Jenna! When I run on hills with one of my friends who just chopped off her hair for locks for love, we talk about you. Makes her appreciate her short cut even more:) Hope your ears are burning like the fireflies.

  3. Sharon Deutsch July 6, 2011 at 4:28 pm #

    Still thinking and praying for you Jenna! I’m glad news is uneventful (although I know it may be a bit boring). Keep up the good work! 🙂

  4. Derek Hanisch July 6, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    Hey Jenna,

    I’m working on my speech for the EP relay for life coming up, and with that I’m surrounded with memories. I wanted to say thank you for being a positive example of an Osteo survivor.

    What you’re going through now sucks, but you’re staying positive, which is what really matters. Hang in there, and look for the fireflies. They abound in the everyday life of a cancer survivor. Sometimes you don’t want the fireworks, too much excitement can be draining!

    Also, thought I’d share an article they ran in the Newspaper today:–one-step-at-a-time?

  5. Ann Tucker July 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    Love a post where things are quiet and the main news is about fireflies! I can bring a net and a jar down there and we can get some for your room! We’re talking EXCITEMENT there, Jenna. Congrats on your continuing good numbers and also on your walking progress. Not bad for someone who wasn’t walking at all not so long ago!

  6. Linda Hornick July 6, 2011 at 7:55 pm #


    I was so glad to hear how you were doing when I saw your Mom at work on Tuesday. I’m so glad to have read your blog tonite. Glad you are able to get out and about a little bit more and really hope you can come home before day 100. Especially with your Mom being such a speed demon who can get you back to Rochester fast if necessary. Glad you got to see the fireflies and the antique houses. Still praying for you every day.

  7. Fran Albright July 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    Jenna: I got out of Oak Hills Living Center in ltime to go to the lake with my family especially my grandaughter visiting from Seattle.
    My PT went well, I can do with right leg toe touch only and the walker.
    My time frame is 8 weeks of recuperation, should end about July 30th. We’ll see. Ron gets the brunt of everything, as I can’t carry a thing and do pick-up. We’ll survive.
    I am so glad your recovery has been going so well. You and Jimmy are in my prayers. Franz too this month as he studies, he took time to mow our lawn, not finally ron concented to the lawn seervice.

  8. Jessi Newman July 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Jenna – This is my favorite post of yours. I so appreciate your perspective — your sarcasm, your optimism, your humor and your appreciation for all things in life. I so appreciate how you celebrate the little victories — and the big ones, of course. I haven’t reached out yet, but want you to know I, like others, are keeping up and keeping tabs on you and your recovery. Rooting for you, always. Keeping you in thoughts, prayers and hearts. Be strong. Be confident. Have faith. — Jessi

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