21 May

Well, that was a good three years without cancer. Maxine’s incredible bone marrow is still going strong, but now the osteosarcoma in my sinus that was supposed to be scorched by radiation 10 years ago has decided to make a comeback. And unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that.

A past two week’s worth of scans and biopsies found lesions in my liver and in a lymph node in my neck. The biopsies (which I took without sedation so they could get better samples, thank you very much) are still pending. Pathology has had to do multiple stains to figure out what we’re dealing with in the liver. 

Suffice it to say, even the big dogs at Mayo Clinic are perplexed. As you can imagine, my path forward for treatment is a bit complicated given past treatments have left me with two sets of DNA, among other oddities. I have seemingly every other cancer screening test you can think of this week and I’m hoping the big game plan conversation happens soon, as the nerves of not knowing while these tumors continue to stretch in the meantime is taxing.

Yes, the past 10 years have been filled with what I think is a fair share of adversity, but as I said to Dr. Arndt and my mom when I was told again that I had cancer, man, has it been a good 10 years. Since that first osteosarcoma I have (re)met and married a man who doesn’t let a day go by without saying and showing he loves me, or making me laugh incessantly with mostly middle school-grade humor. I went to college and graduated, moved to Washington, DC, Chicago and Iowa City. I met so many of you along the way. I deepened friendships. I loved the crap out of my family.

Thank you all who made what was a difficult birthday so uplifting. From the makeshift party in Iowa City to the surprise party in New Ulm, to all the Facebook posts, calls and messages – thank you. Many of you have asked what you can say or what you can do to help. As far as what to say, who the heck knows. As far as what to do, you can support my core support team – my family. This cancer devastates and exhausts them just as it does me, and anything you do for any of us is appreciated by all of us.

I’m not sure if or how often I’ll write, but thank you for sticking with me through all of this.


My wonderful family at Mayo Clinic with me last week.


Impromptu surprise birthday party with some of the best of New Ulm.


Birthday party sendoff in Iowa City with lovely new friends.


Jimmy and me on my birthday.

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45 Responses to “Dammit.”

  1. Miki Schultz May 21, 2014 at 9:32 pm #


    You are so right.. Who the heck knows what to say.. I sure don’t!! Just want you to know you are in my thoughts and in my prayers. I will pray for not only your stregth and courage as you continue down this journey, but for the strength and courage of your family and the wisdom of your medical team.

    Love, hugs, n prayers… Today and always,

  2. Kelli passalacqua May 21, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

    Thinking of you.

  3. Tricia Schreiber May 21, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    Extremely shocked and saddened to have learned this, Jenna, it’s beyond comprehension. We are so sorry. I have become a regular listener to Relevent Radio. It’s not offered in every city, but you can download the app free and listen anywhere. I listen through my bluetooth in the car and home, or on my headset when walking. There’s always good discussions, I learn a lot, from medical to marriage to government issues, with a Catholic viewpoint. Everyday at 3:00 they pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, something credited to St. Faustina. She was made a saint in 2000 by Pope John Paul II, and he was canonized on Saturday, and the next day was Divine Mercy Sunday. He prayed to Sr. Faustina a lot. There are many miracles credited to saying the chaplet. On the radio, they take 5 callers who present their petitions. The chaplet is said on a rosary, but different and much shorter prayers are said. So they take 5 petitions. I wasn’t really sure how to go about it, but I called shortly before 3:00 and I was the last one to get in! I asked for your healing and for these top docs to figure out a path for you to be healed. The moderator was very moved w/the story I told of you. Many times, he’s told of miraculous results that listeners have reported back to him. I can’t wait to call him back myself! PLEASE – anyone who reads this – join me. I set my phone alarm for 2:55 each day to make every effort to join in daily. It’s a quick 15 minutes. Just go to releventradio.com and download the app. Love to you and Jimmy, and your entire supporting cast.


    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      Hi Tricia – Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll have to check it out. It was so nice to have Danny and Shannon visit this weekend.

  4. robinguadagnini May 21, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

    Well crap. Well crap. And well crap. Oh. And I had an oh Crap in there too. As I read this those were my outspoken verbal responses (alone in the kitchen I might add). I am in shock, stunned, mad, broken hearted, tearing up, and yet I know you are in the best care and have the best possible team to figure out how to kick this in the bohonckus (cleaning up my language, ha!)

    And you are such an inspiration for so many (me included in that Jenna fan club). I can only imagine how tough those words were to hear. To share with loved ones close and then now to all those others who care for you. But I thank you for sharing your facts, your heart, and your blessings.

    Prayers are coming your way. And I am cheering for you!!!!

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      Robin, it’s so nice to hear from you and your always spot-on sentiment. I hope all is well with you!

  5. Rose Forst May 21, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    Hey Jenna,
    It is with a heavy heart that I read your post. You are a tough cookie so get those boxing gloves on. You are such an inspiration to so many. I will pray for you and your family and hope that you get the answers you need quickly.
    Some things never change out here on the farm. Tonight when I should have been vacuuming the house I was instead recruited to vacuum out the corn planter boxes so they could switch to beans. Good thing we are not having card party anytime soon or it will have to be on the corn planter. As always, thinking of you often.
    Rose Forst

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

      Rose, it’s so nice you continue to follow me. Thanks too for the card to my mom. We really appreciate it.

  6. Denise Ludewig May 21, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

    So sad to hear this news. We are thinking of you and praying for you and your family.

    Ludewig family

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

      Denise and Family – Thank you so much for thinking of me. Miss you guys.

  7. Karen May 21, 2014 at 10:19 pm #


    We are praying for you, your family and the staff and doctors of the Mayo Clinic. Your attitude has always been and continues to be an inspiration for everyone! Keep your chin up and keep fighting!

    Doug & Karen Torseth
    (Friends of Kurt and Cindy)

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

      Hi Karen – Thanks so much for your kind words. I really appreciate it.

  8. Janis Borchers May 21, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

    Awww, Jenna, dammit is right! That’s not the way this birthday, or any day should be celebrated–damn you, cancer! I wish I had something really impressive or moving to say to help you feel better, but in this void of special words, and being absent in body, I hope it touches your heart in some way to know I care…..that so many care and are pulling for you, praying for you, ministering to you and your family in person…..and that we ALL would give anything for this cancer to NOT be present in your life. Wishing you good outcomes, peace, love, and strength, dear girl.


    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

      Janis, it has been so long since I have seen you and yet you seem so close! Thanks for your support.

  9. Jeanne O'Neill May 21, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

    Jenna…Dammit, dammit, dammit…girl I am lifting you and your husband up in prayer…asking the Lord to give you the strength to live each day the best you can…continue to be you…I am so happy for you to have a wonderful loving husband at your side…fighting this awful beast…for your parents and brother to be able to spend time with you and to continue being the best to you as they have been all these years…to see the joy and good everyday in being together with you…for all your friends/family to do what they can…prayers…making meals…notes and cards…visiting if you feel like visitors…for your Doctors and care team to receive the wisdom from Jesus to find what it is going to take to rid you are this beastly cancer once and for all…praying you feel the Fathers arms wrapped around and holding you through this…God Bless You today and everyday…you have been and continue to be an inspiration to many others…a Blessing to all…

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

      Jeanne – Thanks so much for your support. I really appreciate your note.

  10. Anne Biebl May 22, 2014 at 12:27 am #

    Jenna, you surround yourself with the best – Jimmy, your family, Jimmy’s family, your friends to the best doctors and care. You have my prayers for the doctors to come up,with the best plan, for the strength you and Jimmy, your family and friends need to help you through this time. What wonderful pictures you posted and a happy belated birthday.


    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

      I am surrounded by the best, Anne. You’re very right about that. Thanks for thinking of me.

  11. Nanci Fine May 22, 2014 at 6:00 am #

    Jenna, I think of you and the family often. Most especially on a December morning when the weather should be freezing but the high for the day becomes 70 and I think about sitting on the front porch in Woodbury with your mom talking about everything. I miss you all and especially those days. None of us are in Woodbury anymore (I moved last November) and I don’t even know how to get hold of your mom anymore…Lisa, if you read this, how do I email you? I’m so sorry for the fight you are going to take on again. And then, congratulations on the wedding I didn’t even know about. I will wait to read and see what happens. Love and prayers. Nanci

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

      Nanci – it’s nice to hear from you. My mom will be in touch. I have your email.

  12. heather schmitz May 22, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    I am thinking of you Jenna and will continue to support your journey. So sorry to hear this crap is back again!

  13. Tyler May 22, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    Just like you did before, you’re going to kick this cancer’s butt. You are strong and brave and if anyone can do it, it is you! All of us at GH are here for you. XoXo

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

      Hi Tyler – it’s so nice to hear from you. I miss you guys!

  14. Morgan Hansen May 22, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Hi Jenna,
    I’m one of Karen Kunze’s best friends from growing up (we’re pretty much sisters). I live just like 15 minutes north of Rochester, and I do have a spare bedroom. So if you or any of your family members need a place to stay or a place to get away, my door is open!
    Praying for you and your entire family!

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

      Morgan, that’s so nice of you. Thank you. I don’t know what the treatment future holds but if I do need to spend more time in Rochester I’ll definitely remember your offer. I really appreciate your kindness to a stranger. Jenna

  15. Kristen Dahl May 22, 2014 at 3:36 pm #

    Jenna, first of all, you are a BAMF! No sedation? Dang girl! As much as I love your writing, I was hoping to not read another Redhead Report. You’re right, there is nothing to say. You are one of the strongest women I have ever met so I know you can fight this. I hope our worlds keep randomly colliding whether it’s in MN, Chicago, or anywhere else along the way in this crazy little thing called life. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your wonderful family!!

    PS I didn’t celebrate the KY Derby this year, but next year we’ll have to find some outrageously fun hats and sundresses again 🙂

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

      I didn’t do Kentucky Derby hats this year either! Obviously we need each other. Thanks for thinking of me. Miss you!

  16. Ileana Quinones May 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    I believe in miracles. I will pray every day for you.

  17. Julia Gourde May 22, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    My dear Jenna. I may not be with you, but I think of you often, and will see you soon.

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

      It’s so nice to hear from you, Julia. I threw you guys for another loop 🙂 Hope you, baby and family are enjoying your time. Congratulations!

  18. Becky Boyle May 22, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    Dear Jenna…Thinking of you and Jimmy and your families and hoping you hear the news you need soon. You are such a bright light, a joy filled, strong, resilient and feisty young woman. Wish you didn’t have to be such an inspiration, but you are.

  19. Dick and Irene May 22, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    Jenna, I don’t have the words. Just want you to know that we love you and we love your family and want you to draw strength from all who love you and get through this as you’ve had to in the past.

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

      Thanks for thinking of us. Dick, we’ve been having mighty good pancakes around here with that Holy Sapp. The bean bags were a big hit at my birthday party, too.

  20. Jyneal and Mark May 24, 2014 at 6:47 am #

    Jenna and Jimmy –

    Healing hugs to you both and your families, too. We sure don’t know what curve balls life is gonna throw at us, do we? You attitude of positivity is amazing! Here’s hoping those gurus at the Mayo figure out your course of action very soon.

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

      Agreed! Thanks for your your kind words of support.

  21. Elmer and Lois Guggisberg May 24, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    Jenna and Jimmy,
    What a bummer! Neither one of you have left my thoughts since I heard the news. If I could I’d make you sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and a greasy pork choplett, on a bun.(with a finger hole) I know that would make you feel great for a little bit anyway. We will be praying for you and supporting all of your family circle. love always, Elmer and Lois

    • Jenna Langer May 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

      HA! This made me laugh. Jimmy always wrecked things with those finger holes. Thanks for thinking of us 🙂

  22. Fran Albright May 27, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    Jenna: Keep looking up, I think your focus on only one day at a time is very good.

  23. Linda Hornick May 28, 2014 at 7:05 am #

    Jenna, Thinking of you and praying for you and your family during this dammit time. Prayer warriors are praying. Keep the faith. You are an amazing young woman!

  24. onechicklette June 7, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    Damn it indeed. I’m sorry to hear that you’re facing this again. I am rooting for you to have many, many days of good health ahead and hope this is a brief detour.

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