Good Riddance and Happy New Year

1 Jan

It’s incredible what passes for a year. It elapses quickly but when you think back to December 31 of 2010, you laugh at your unbeknownst self who could never have anticipated all that was to come. 

In 2004, after the close of my first year with cancer, I looked back on the year with gratitude. Gratitude that I could wipe my forehead with a giant “whew!” and move on to all that I had been looking forward to in 2005 and beyond. Gratitude that I had a life to look forward to. Gratitude that I had learned so many grown-up lessons and was given years to practice them. And gratitude that it was all behind me. Lessons learned.

All that’s true again this year. But I’m pretty sure I had those lessons down pat after the first time around.

So let me be real. This year kind of sucked.

I’m not going to romanticize or sugar coat. I’m not going to search too deeply for silver linings where they aren’t deserved. I learned more about suffering than I let on here. I learned how to make my own fun, how to be alone, how to sit still, how to be more independent than perhaps I should be, how to persevere. Hopefully those lessons yield to resilience in 2012.

But I guess it’s all how you look at it. Just as I can compare to December 31, 2010 when all was right, I can also look to February 18, 2011, when all was wrong. When I was diagnosed with MDS and the stretch to 2012 seemed unfathomable. Or March 2, when my brother Jack proved a mismatch and the anxious search commenced to find an unrelated donor while hoping, hoping, praying my MDS didn’t ripen to AML. Or for those two weeks in May when the excruciating, confusing pain in my legs had us worried I may not walk. 

And now, thanks to my selfless donor and resolute medical team, none of these are concerns any longer. I have been blessed with an incredible caregiver – my mother who slept next to me every night and who amused me, a recluse in New Ulm, for months. I kept a committed boyfriend who cradled all the baldness, anxiety, fluids and scars and returned them with juvenile jokes. I relied on a father (also stupid, but welcome, jokes), a brother, grandparents and other friends and family with the liveliness to heal. I benefitted from years of advocacy work from patients before me who paved policies that eased it all. I came at just the right time, when my Mayo doctors had armloads of research to give me the best outcomes, and when Be The Match had 25 years to build an extensive list of committed donors, one of whom would donate to me when she was only 19. I had great health insurance, an accommodating employer, a cozy home in which to recover. My hair is now reddening and spike-able.

With that, I think it’s time to formally leave The Redhead Report a relic of last year. It’s not that I have nothing left to say, but I’m not sure The Redhead Report is the proper venue in which to say it. I started this blog to keep all of you, dotted across the map, on the same page when it came to my treatment. Happily I can say treatment is mostly over now. And as much as I love a good opportunity to embellish, don’t let me pretend my life is interesting enough for a blog. And that’s just great. I was given an unearned spotlight and it’s time to enjoy the anonymity of any other healthy girl.

Me, Jack, Lucy and Mom

My dad and me

Festive Jimmy and me

I’m not sure where the next few months will take me, but I’ll post when I have a relevant update to give. (So you don’t have to keep checking back, sign up for an email alert at the side of this page.)

I’m indebted to all of you for sticking with me this last year, for embracing me with such support and sincerity. For your comments, your prayers, your notes and your thoughts. Thank you. Thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you.

And so 2011, good riddance. I may have good things to show for you, but the credit isn’t yours. Here’s to a welcomed Happy New Year, 2012!

To leave a comment,just click on “Comments” below this post. It will take you to a new page. Scroll to the bottom where it says “Leave a Reply.” Fill in your name, email address, and your comment in the boxes. When you’re finished, click “Post Comment.” It’s great to hear from you.


18 Responses to “Good Riddance and Happy New Year”

  1. onechicklette January 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Happy New Year! Hope 2012 is a wonderful one.

    PS your hair looks very chic.

  2. Megan Tucker January 2, 2012 at 8:53 am #


    You have been through so much and your blog has been so eye opening and touching. Thank you for not only keeping us updated but for letting us into your life – your ability to write is amazing!

    I am hoping you will once again make it back to the DC area, 1600 misses you 🙂

  3. Kelli passalacqua January 2, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Happy Everything for 2012!!!!

  4. Robin Guadagnini January 2, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    While I have loved the updates and emotions and the trials and victories through the Redhead Report, I don’t mind say Avior to this blog, so that you can Start a NEW 2012! Happy New Year, Happy New Health, and Happy New Adventures!!!

  5. Janis Borchers January 2, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    Way to kick out the old, and ring in with the new, in characteristic redhead style, Jenna! I’m so happy for your good news, and hope that 2012 holds magic for you and your loved ones (especially that Jimmy-boy–ain’t he something!). Your writing ability is keen, your spirit indomitable, your hair a renaissance–you are my hero!

    Best of everything to you in 2012, and beyond……

  6. Linda Hornick January 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Jenna, I still look forward to your blogs and continue to pray for you. Reading your blogs have helped me so much and you are an inspiration to all! My Dad was diagnosed with stage 3A Lung cancer in August so it’s been a rollercoaster ride for our family as well. My Dad’s faith and positive attitude have gotten him so far, just as I have seen with you. It has also helped me talking to your Mom once in awhile and her sharing things that we did not know, like to buy carnation instant breakfast as it’s got about the same amount of vitamins as ensure and things like that. It took awhile but I have started seeing the postives that have come out of this for my family, bringing a blended family and extended family together. My Dad should finish his 51 rounds of radiation in mid January and then we move onto the next step. I will watch for your blogs in the future and here’s to a great 2012 for all of us that have had a tough 2011. So nice to have family and friends that stand by us thru thick and thin. Take care.

  7. Vicki Barrilleaux January 3, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    I read your blogs and know that I am blessed to have you in my life. You are a young women wise beyond her years. I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for you.

  8. Rose January 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Hey Jenna,

    Great update! I love the pictures too, your hair is so pretty. I am so happy that things are going well. I will keep you on the prayer list just for good measure. Your mom is the best support for sure. We think a lot of her here too.

    Rose Forst

  9. Jim Seifert January 4, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Jenna; Thanks for this blift (blog gift). This journey, epic for sure, and your courage to describe it in writing, is the truest thing I read all year. Please don’t take it down anytime soon. I-live-more-because of your words.

    Thanks again,


  10. Greg Kaiser January 4, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Nothing wrong saying good riddance to a not so great year. Remember feeling the same way after the year Liz finished her treatment. Good for you!!! Glad it is all behind you!!! Take care!!!


  11. Jane January 8, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Just want to thank you for the Redhead Report which has had a reach perhaps far greater than you might imagine, among those of us with friends and family confronting MDS and in search of answers,expectations, and, yes, a few smiles and laughs along the way. We are most grateful that you have shared your year with us, and grateful for the thoughtful reflections and politically acute observations in addition to the often comforting guideposts that have helped us understand some of the unexpected paths of this illness and of the cure. We wish you many wonderful years of health and happiness ahead.

  12. January 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    Jane what a fighter you are!!! I was my brothers donor on October 31st 2012, he is almost at his 100 day :), your story has bought a bright ray of sunshine to me this morning..I just wanted to say Thank you and God Bless You…my family and I are having a Be the Match Fundraiser on March 9th in New Jersey and we are hoping and praying that my brother David who lives in Ohio will be well enough for the trip…I’m also a redhead 🙂

  13. Daniel Chavez Moran April 9, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Have you ever considered creating an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog based upon on the same information you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my visitors would enjoy your work.

    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  14. May 6, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Workmanship should come with at least a one year guarantee.

    Relatively easy – solar panel machinery platforms necessitate microscopic repairs and routine service.

  15. May 7, 2013 at 1:56 am #

    Always take heed the idea prevention is compared to cure and is less
    expensive. Water pipelines are very much likely in the market to catch rust.

  16. Lynette May 7, 2013 at 2:20 am #

    Detoxifying spas are typically the adequate way to assist you start the wellness program.
    You don’t need to consume advanced pills that will surely have some side affects on you.

  17. May 7, 2013 at 3:09 am #

    Some of the modern day Operating systems include, Windows,
    Android, Linux, Unix and Apple’s iOS. Employee training helps of which you meet the involved standard.

  18. homepage June 9, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    Buy price is now somewhere around $4 and might be down to $3 by the edge of 2011.
    Individuals a wise investment to purchase the latest washer
    and tumble dryer in a lovely set.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: