Home Free

15 Jun

You’ll have to forgive me for not writing sooner. My head hurts a lot. I don’t know how they had me positioned on that table for 14 hours, but I probably should have done yoga or something before the surgery. Everyone tells me it was a long and rather pain-staking operation. I assume as much given I don’t think the anesthesia has worn off yet and I finally dropped the dozen or so pounds in fluids that flooded the five IVs I woke up with. Anyway, it wasn’t fun and I don’t need to go into details.

Now we’re basically back to the drawing board. The surgeons were feeling pretty good because they resected better margins of the osteosarcoma on the left side of my face than anticipated. I didn’t even need the reconstructive flap in the back of my head to keep brain fluids from leaking, which they were going to create with arteries from my arm. The lymph nodes in my neck that they removed were ultimately benign. But then they went to the right side and found what they have now determined through pathology is an entirely different type of cancer, and it looks a lot like what is in my liver. Suffice it to say, I think they were (and still are) frustrated. This was entirely unexpected from imaging (and from imagination, really) and the first part of the surgery had gone so well. I don’t know how my body comes up with these things, but to put it bluntly, you don’t get any more screwed up than this. The doctors thought the same and have been thinking the same ever since. 

We’re still waiting for final pathology reports so they can run every stain in the book. From there all my doctors will pow-wow and come up with our new plan. Hopefully we’ll meet back at Mayo this week. I still need a few weeks to recover and am doing so at home in Iowa City. I was discharged yesterday, as home is the best medicine. Jimmy is now living the dream: a live-in mother-in-law. We have fun. 

Thank you to all of you who were thinking of me, praying for me, who made my home so nice for when we came home, who sent cards, flowers and other gifts. I don’t have the energy or wherewithal to respond right now, but please know we are very grateful. 

And on this Father’s Day, I want to thank my dad, who has been catapulted into super-caregiver this past week. He sat through numerous hours of silence with me, has become a chef of white soft foods and even learned how to apply chapstick like a champ. He has been so supportive, patient and just the kind of dad you want on your side to help you feel better.

My dad and me

My dad and me

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26 Responses to “Home Free”

  1. Tricia Schreiber June 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    My goodness, Jenna, your head may hurt, but it still WORKS! Don’t know how you can put such beautiful thoughts together. Right away apologizing for not writing sooner. So sweet of you to post that picture of your dad and honor him on this day. Glad you are back home w/your sweetheart, Jimmy. We are so proud of him, too, as we are aware of how well he is doing there. In a large part, because he has YOUR support. Please know you are continually in our thoughts and prayers. I saw your grandmother at mass and thought of your Grandpa Kurt and asked him to help you. I was thinking of your mother today, too; thinking again how stunning she looked at your wedding and knowing what a glorious day that was for all of you. How appropriate that you chose that picture of you and your dad to remind us all. thank you! xoxo

  2. erika hanson brown June 15, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    Jenna, my dear…
    There is no doubt about it; you are a first-class CHAMP.
    Much, much love to you, Jimmy, and your wonderful parents/family.

  3. Fran Albright June 15, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

    Wow!!You are home, meaning with Jimmy, and nothing is as good as home.You have been so in my prayers! Now get well.

  4. Rose Forst June 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    Hey Jenna,

    Thank you for the update. Home is good and healing. By the way, Jimmie does have the best mother in law. Tell her hi from me. Stay strong. Thinking of you often,

    Rose Forst

  5. Clare Lynam Goldfogle June 15, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    Great to hear you’re home! I’ve been thinking about lots and sending positive vibes from MD. I hope you can hear us rooting for you from the east coast! Love you lots.

  6. Melissa, Robby & Evalyn Gieseke June 15, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

    So glad you are home. Rest up and take care of yourself! We’re praying for you!

  7. onechicklette June 15, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

    Thinking of you and will continue to do so.

  8. Dick and Irene June 15, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    You continue to amaze me. Thanks for your update, though I was totally amazed that you were the author.
    You have been in my prayers and will continue to be in my prayers even when all is well again.
    I can’t imagine that Jimmy isn’t very happy to have you home and even happier to have two such fine women living at home with him. Blessings to you all.
    Those docs need to come up with an infallible plan and soon. We’ll pray for them too.

  9. Scott Ludewig June 15, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    Get well, Jenna.

  10. Nancy Braam June 15, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

    So happy to hear you are home. I am so glad your Mom is able to be there with you. You continue to be in my prayers.

  11. Ann Green June 15, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

    Jenna, you are making me cry and believe me, I don’t cry very often! It’s all good though. You do have a wonderful dad (and mother). When Kurt and I were young and growing up,
    I never in my wildest dreams thought he would turn out to be such a good guy. OK, an awesome, loving, caring father who would do anything for his kids. You are lucky, and you are a wonderful person. I wish over the years we would have had more opportunities to spend time together and get to know each other better—my loss for sure. I was listening to Good Morning America the other day and was inspired by a comment Robyn Roberts made regarding prayer. She said sometimes God says “yes”, sometimes he says “not yet” and sometimes he says “I have a better plan for you”. Anyway, it is something to think about when anyone may question there faith. We are so grateful you came came through your surgery so well and the doctors accomplished what they set out to do. We will continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers here in the Green’s home for what you have been through and what still lies ahead. Take care Jenna, we all love you and keep being strong!
    Ann G.

  12. Teresa Vacanti June 15, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    Jenna we are happy you are at home to recover. Even happier to hear your parents are with you. Know we are always thinking of you, Jimmy and your entire family.
    Sending more love and prayers your way. The Vacanti Fam.

  13. Linda Mertz June 16, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    Glad you were able to go home for recovery. It’s amazing they let you go after the surgery you went through! I know they say you get the strength when you need it….but I don’t know how you do it! You are truly an amazing and strong woman! Keep fighting and we’ll keep praying!
    The Mertzes

  14. Julia Gourde June 16, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    So glad u made it home to rest Jenna. Thinking about you and your recovery.

  15. Janis Borchers June 16, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    Jenna, you are amazing, girl. Glad you are home; now strengthen, rebuild, soak in all the love and care being poured out upon you. I am cheering you on, and sending love and hugs!

  16. Crysten Glaweh June 16, 2014 at 9:52 am #

    Sending so much love from DC. Think of you often, and praying for all the very best. Take good care and fight on! ❤

  17. Sandy Portner-Quiring June 16, 2014 at 10:04 am #

    Wishing you a speedy recovery…our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.


  18. Laurie Strunk June 16, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    Jenna – so glad you are home! And even more glad that your mom is with you. 🙂 Hugs and prayers,

    Laurie and Alysha

  19. Wendy Sontag June 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    Dammit is right. I just found out about this and had been wondering what you were up to. Can’t believe all that you’ve been through. it does take quite the imagination, doesn’t it? You certainly have a creative and incredible spirit, however, and I’m confident that that will see you through. but doggone it, I wish you didn’t have to. I’m sure you’ve heard all of the inspirational slogans so i won’t bore you. Do know, though, that I carry you in my heart and prayers.
    Wendy Sontag

  20. Feryl June 17, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    Just dropping by to let you know I am thinking of you! Hugs!

  21. Mary Ann Messer June 17, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    Well Jenna I am happy to know you felt up to coming to Iowa if ever you want or need something you have friends in Iowa called Fr Ed Fitzpatrick cell 319-541-9314 or Fitz at 319-931-6022 tell you Mom hello

  22. Carol Guggisberg June 18, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    Dear Jenna & family:
    Dear Jenna, Jimmy & family:
    You are my first thought in the morning and my last in the evening. Hope you can feel lthe love and caring coming your way. You are surely giving your doctors a challenge. Pray that they are up to conquering this new cancer. Pray that they follow your example of courage, faith and determination.
    Hope you are resting more comfortably–staying high and dry-a challenge around here this morning. We had 3 1/2 inches of rain last evening. We now have lake front property out here on the prairie.
    Hugs & prayes–
    Charlie & Carol

  23. Pat Hartman June 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Jenna I love u to the moon and back. Only one like u in this world so we gotta keep u going okay!! Hugs to all if you

  24. Jyneal June 21, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    Jenna and Jimmy, along with your families,

    I simply cannot fathom what you are going through and am amazed by your positive spirit. You are also quite the witty writer. I chuckle as I read some of your comments, like Jimmy living the dream.

    The infamous “they” say humor is the best medicine. Not sure if it’s the best, but is sure helps, as does love and faith. You’ve got all of them, in spades!

    Sending healing thoughts your way.


  25. Carol Schroeder July 1, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    Jenna and family, please know that you are all in my thought and prayers,I pray the Lord will be at your side throughout your treatments and recovery. I am a friend of Ellen and Jimmy’s. God be with you all… Carol Schroeder

  26. Una July 11, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

    I am not that familiar with your kind of cancer. I have multiple myeloma. And a big scar in my scalp with no hair. But nothing like what you’re going through. You have great strength hey man brother, and great faith, a great love. I do wish you the best my prayers are with you, don’t lose faith. Keep . God bless you and keep you and your wonderful family

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