Hear me Roar

Whelp, it's been 14 days since my last radiation treatment... I wonder if the radiology team has missed my mini Sam Smith concerts? Every time I'd walk into the "vault" for a treatment, they had my Sam Smith station cued up and ready to go. "We can see and hear you the whole time, but we'll be just outside, monitoring from our desks." Yaaa, even their little warning couldn't stop me from singing every day haha! But seriously, how do you listen to his songs and NOT give it your all?!

*Getting settled and ready for my last radiation treatment!

My last treatment was different. Sam Smith was still serenading me, I still had the desire to sing, but as I laid there, alone, staring at the radiation machine above me, I became overwhelmed with a flood of emotions. It hit me. This was my LAST treatment. I did it. Every detail of every terrible time, miraculous time, happy time, and hard time came flooding back to me.

I KNOW I was strengthened and blessed through my journey. I knew because only every so often the reality and seriousness of what I was going through would hit me. Laying there was one of those times. With tears welling up in my eyes and overflowing down into my ears, after thinking about the magnitude of the ordeal I had been going through, my next immediate, and sure, thought was, 'I did not do it alone. I was carried.' My heart felt it was about to burst with gratitude.

The journey was hard, it still is, but I wouldn't change it for anything.

As I walked out of Huntsman, ready to move on and start the next chapter, there was my sweetheart, my eternal companion, waiting for me, along with the whole flower shop. Crying before we even got close enough to talk, we hugged and held each other while the last 7 months played, in fast forward, out in our minds. Trying to speak through his emotion, he handed me the first bouquet and said, "One for how much I loved you before cancer, one for how much I loved you during cancer, and one for how much I will love you as we grow old together."

*There's one more bouquet in there somewhere! They were gorgeous. Thank you, The Art Floral.

Needless to say, I lucked out. He is more loving, supportive, kind, smart, handsome, and in love with me than any words could ever express.

*Of course we had to stop for lunch and cheesecake to celebrate. Yes, Jake did ask for a glass of milk with his dessert. "I will never not ask for a glass of milk at a restaurant ever again. This is amazing." Ha, so is the straw in the glass, for the big baby.

Things are going pretty well now. I am still having to wait about a month until I go in for my PET scan and find out the results of the radiation treatments. Hopefully all will be clear, they'll tell me I'm in remission, and that cancer can be in the past.

I think the wait is killing my family more than me. I honestly don't really think about it. I guess it's because I feel good about things. The chemo worked really well, and the cancer was so close to being gone, that radiation was more of an "insurance policy," to really make sure we zapped it away for good. So since my Doctor was really positive and confident, and I've always felt peace about things, I'm not worried and am just going with the flow.

The side effects are still lingering, but they'll go away eventually. Swallowing food is easier and my skin just looks extra tan where they radiated. The only two things that I really notice, and that bother me, are the fatigue and a constant pinching in my chest. I always say, "Ya I'm really tired, but what Mom isn't?!" I find myself trying to get out and do things because it helps me to keep going and forget about how tired I am. My kids are usually nicer to one another and not so bored, so rather than staying home, thinking about wanting to sleep all day, and trying to make everyone get along, we get out.

*Little stink, Gunther, was determined to ignore us and not smile ha.

* Our favorite weekend activity is hiking as a family. The whole time we were there, I kept thinking, "I am so grateful for timing and that I am healthy and able to be out here with them to make these memories."

What I am most grateful for is that I am regaining my strength. Going to the gym every morning and being healthy and active is something that I really enjoy, and had been missing a lot. I was in the best shape of my life right before being diagnosed, which was a blessing because my body was strong and able to fight, but I was also that much more frustrated as I watched my body become so sick and weak.

Not too long ago, I decided I'd try to start working out a little. I was at the gym for, maybe, 20 minutes before I had to come home. I walked in and Jake said, "Hey! That was fast, how was it?" All I could do was cry. I had so far to go and I was mad and kind of surprised at how bad it really was ha.

But wow, our bodies are amazing. I have been working hard and it's miraculous to me how strong we are. In just months, I was at the highest peak then went all the way down to the deepest valley. But hey, what matters is that I'm on my way back up now. I was running sprints the other morning when Katy Perry's song, Roar, came on. Yep, you guessed it, cry baby cried. It really hit home, especially right then. There I was, fighting to regain my health and strength, and in the bigger picture, trying to do it in a way that could uplift and inspire.

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
'Cause I am a champion and you're gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
'Cause I am a champion and you're gonna hear me roar

As I ran and listened, I was proud. I felt like I was saying, "I'll show you cancer!" (And something else that isn't very nice to write on my blog...trust me, cancer was scared ;))

I've just been amazed at how powerful and strong each of us are. Our lives will be filled with good and hard times. But I know that when we make up our minds to take on those hard times with a humble and patient heart, a positive attitude, and a determined spirit, we will have strength to make it through. I know that hard times can become memorable experiences. Ones where much learning and growing can be done. We can look back on those times, recognize the blessing that came, and would never choose to change a thing. It is our choice, I know what I choose. Life is too short to suffer through, I choose to live and make every time a good one.

xoxo Jen

P.s. Speaking of having fun this summer and entertaining your kids...My boys are obsessed with super heroes, and thanks to Arden their dreams of being heroes themselves have come true. They have been wearing their masks and capes everywhere! If you have kids, you need one! Guess what? They're going to give you one!, If you do this:

Follow Ardendeals on instagram, tag a friend on my instagram post, and I'll announce a lucky winner this weekend :) Whoop whoop! Good luck.