Greatest gifts

This year for Christmas, I received two amazing gifts, both about making memories. The first gift was a family vacation from my parents.  We haven’t been on a family vacation of this magnitude since 2005 (pre-Corbin, pre-cancer).  This trip was family friendly since Corbin (6) and my nephew (18 months) would be along.  My parents also wanted it to be a new place…somewhere none of us had been.  So we headed to a Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos.  This tiny group of islands in the Caribbean is home to just 40,000 residents who mostly work in the resort industry.  We had a wonderful 5 days full of sun, sand, and plenty of food!  The only down side…my sister’s fiancé couldn’t go because of other obligations.  I’m using that as an excuse to plan another family vacation with everyone present.  🙂  I called it “vacation unplugged” and didn’t check email, text, or voicemail while I was gone.  I was completely content letting the world go on without me being connected.  It was the perfect escape from reality, especially knowing I’d have a scan when we returned home.



The other amazing gift was a book given to me by a fellow young survivor.  It’s called “All About Mom and Me” and has tons ideas, writing prompts, and Q&As for Corbin and me to fill out.  Last night we did the quiz on “How well do you know each other?”  It had questions ranging from “Is Mommy right handed or left handed?” and “What kind of shampoo does Mommy use?” and “If a genie granted you 3 wishes, what would they be?”  and “What does Mommy collect?”  Corbin’s answer was “cancer.”  I laughed and asked him what he meant, he said, “Well, you keep getting it, so it’s like you collect it.”  I could only laugh at the pure honesty of his answer, but also wanted to cry at his revelation.  I text my friend who gave me the book and her reply was, “Well, at least he doesn’t see it as a scary thing.  In his eyes, you must enjoy it if you keep collecting it.  You make it comfortable for him.  Think of it that way. ”  That gave me peace of mind.

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Today I had my scan.  I had to show up with an empty stomach, get injected with a radioactive tracer, wait for an hour for the tracer to find all the cancer, and then lay completely still on a table for 20 minutes as the machine scanned my (11)


Thankfully my oncologist knows I’m an impatient patient, so he works to get me the results as quickly as possible.  But the waiting is filled with anxiety.  The results showed a new tumor in a rib on my right side, but overall NO MAJOR CHANGE!!!  This means Stable Mable is still my bff and I’ll stay on the same treatment for another few cycles before we re-scan.

I cannot begin to tell you what all the support, big and small, means.  I read each thoughtful note, appreciate the prayers, warm wishes and good thoughts sent my way.  “I was drafted, but you enlisted.”  I’m so thankful to have you on my team!




Living legendary as a mom with Stage IV breast cancer. Author of Learning to Live Legendary and What You Might Not Know: My Life as a Stage IV Cancer Patient.
  1. Asia Reply

    Praise God! I am grateful for stability! I am grateful for you! You may not know this, but you are a wonderful teacher! Stay blessed!

  2. Sara Reply

    So grateful for no major change! The vacation pictures are great – is the sand really that white and is the water really such a beautiful blue? I agree you should plan another one – I’m sure your parents meant to plan two vacations! :):) Yay for Nancy and Fred!

  3. Keli Reply

    So glad you remain stable!!! I pray for you everyday. Your vacations pictures are beautiful. So glad you got to enjoy family time!! XOXO

  4. Karen Reply

    What a wonderful vacation. Let’s get a date on the calendar so you can tell me all about it!

    Happy New Year, and Happy Stable Mable!

  5. Elizabeth Reply

    Congrats on a good report! What a great picture of your family!

  6. Wanda Crouse Reply

    Thanks for including me in your journey of hope. I am blessed as I am able to be praying for you and Corbin.

  7. Casey Reply

    Hi girl, excellent news…I pray for so much more for you but feel gratitude to hear you’ve got stable mable on your side!
    My heart smiles thinking of you and Corbin hitting Bobby D’s nightly for ice cream. By far Beaches T &C is my favorite vaca Ever!! So glad you got to enjoy that trip with your awesome family! The food…OMG, we ate like it was our job! We went the week after thanksgiving and I’m still in a vacation depression:(

    Love and prayers!

  8. Teri Reply

    Soooo glad for Stable Mable, first off.

    In addition, here’s to your much- deserved family vacation.

    Oh, and the part about collecting cancer: what a beautifully intimate detail to share with us. Hugs to you both.


  9. Christine Reply

    You are an amazing woman, i am blessed to call you a friend.
    Reading the section about you and Corbin, so many feelings, and emotions went through my mind…You are AWESOME!!!!!!!
    love ya Jen!

  10. Andrea Reply

    The pictures are truly worth a thousand words! I am so glad you got to take on another legendary adventure! It looks like the most peaceful place ever!
    On collecting: my son did something like that on Mother’s Day. He said the best thing about my Mom is, she has cancer. See, to him it was Mom is home more, everyone tells Mom she’s doing such a good job fighting, Mom is inspirational…and it has something to do with her having cancer. You have no doubt made a collection, but look at all the wonderful moments you’ve had with your family because of it. Corbin lives the past and present, with very little concept of future. That’s just the way little boys are. You have made him so happy in both past and present…taught him so much. He is going to take that to his future and enjoy every second he remembers of you. The book, pictures, and stories will help him remember every detail clearly. You are making your legacy.

  11. Kathy Reply

    I love the pictures. Your family is awesome! Stable is great!! Looking forward to hearing about what is already planned for 2013.
    Love and hugs,

  12. Erica Mongelli Reply

    Thanking God with you for no major changes! The Arnold family always looks like you have so much fun together; LOVE it! We look forward to celebrating Sara and Noah with you in May!

  13. Mary Ann Reply

    Wonderful news! Such a relief….may the blessings continue!

  14. Teresa Majers Reply

    No major changes is very good news! Your vacation pictures look like a slice of heaven!

  15. Brock Royer Reply

    Woo Hoo! Awesome to hear. I’ll update the fam. Look like a fun vacation and I’m really happy to hear the news.

  16. Carol Reply

    Hi Jen,
    What a great vacation. love the pics. I’ll ask your mom to bring more to our POEI mtg. Looks like you had a wonderful time. And so thankful for stable mable. (And I ditto Andrea above).


  17. Jill Lustberg Reply

    Jen, so glad to hear Stable Mable is visiting! YIPPEE! Thanks for the recommendation of the book. Great idea for a birthday gift for my little girl who is turning 7 in a couple weeks. Keep taking good care of yourself, Jen. HUGE hugs!

    Love, Jill

  18. Mary Brdar Reply

    Always holding you in my prayers, Jen. Beautiful family photos and I’m glad you enjoyed the vacay. Love you!

  19. Tammi Clifton Reply

    Wonderful news Jen!! Love you bunches and gobs!! Hugs to Corbin!!

  20. Laura Dahl Reply

    Great news! And I love the pictures, especially the one of you and Corbin jumping 🙂 Continued prayers for Stable Mable to hang around for many months to come!


  21. Anne Lleonart Reply

    What great news to hear that you are stable!! Your vacation sounded great and I love the photos! The book sounds like the perfect gift also. I am always sending prayers and good wishes your way.

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