I’m sick

Most days, I would argue that I’m not “sick,” I have a disease called metastatic breast cancer.  Today, however, I’m sick.  In the whirlwind of the weekend, I picked up a nasty head cold from somewhere.  But, it was such an incredible weekend that I wanted to share, thankfully I can do so from without giving you my germs.

Friday was Volume 11 of Pecha Kucha CU held at Parkland College.  PK is a global format with a unique concept: each presenter has 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide which are *automatically advancing* so you can’t get too long winded.  The presentations were a complete range from “Extreme Paintball” to “Ideas and How Not to Have Them” to “The World’s Fastest Sing Along.”  So, my presentation on “Learning to Live Legendary” was a bit heavier than some of the others.  While the official PK video won’t be out for a while; thanks to Chris Foster at PCTV, I was able to obtain a copy of my presentation.  I’ll be honest, while I created the presentation; I had help from Steve Bringas to carefully shape the language and tone of the presentation.  It helps to have connections!  The event was held in the new, state-of-the-art, Automotive Technology Center (hence seeing cars behind the stage).  The room was full as the crowd swelled to over 400 people!  Music from WPCD provided the soundtrack for the evening.  PK is global, find out if there’s one near you here:


Then Saturday I rested.  I had so much fun at PK night, but it took a toll on my body being on day 10 of a 14 day chemo cycle.  A week ago, at chemo, my counts were so low they debated if I should have chemo this round.  We went ahead with chemo, but it has also takes a big toll on my immune system.  So Saturday, I literally was on the couch all day.  Thankfully this was Corbin’s weekend to be with his dad, so I was able to relax and rest.

Sunday the fun continued.  I was invited to join the University of Illinois Women’s Basketball team for their pre-game meal.  I was asked to share briefly about my background and why this game, the annual Play for Kay, was important.  Play for Kay has become a national movement after the long-time NC State coach, Kay Yow, died of breast cancer in 2009.

Before the game, I was also able to meet Kristy Osmunson of country duo Bomshel who was there to sing her hit song “Fight Like a Girl” at half time.

Kristy Osmunson of Bomshel












While I’ve known the song for years, I was glad others were able to hear it.  I also think it gives such a powerful voice to the metastatic breast cancer community with the lyrics “all the money and power don’t matter, when the doctor said, “the cancer’s spread.”  Kristy explained how she wrote the song after watching a close friend diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her friend’s goal was to see her daughter go to kindergarten…she missed the goal by 2 weeks when cancer stole her from her family.

I was asked to sit on the bench with the team which was an incredible experience, yet familiar from my days of sitting on the bench in HS basketball.  I was interviewed by both the News Gazette and Daily Illini for stories in their respective papers.  While I wasn’t at the press conference post-game, I love this sports analogy: “She talked about how she quit her dream job just to go live and cherish every moment,” senior Karisma Penn said. “It’s kinda like cherishing every possession in the game.”

The Illini won and had the 2nd largest crowd for the season, it was a great atmosphere!

But, somewhere, sometime this weekend I came in contact with a bug.  So, now, I’m holed up, resting up, and thankful that I have a two week break from chemo.

I hope you and your Valentine have a wonderful day tomorrow.



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. Sue Schreiber Reply

    Jen, I so enjoyed your presentation at the PK – wasn’t that a super event? I really thought your presentation hit exactly the right note. – Sue

  2. Teresa Majers Reply

    Your presentation was amazing!

  3. Rachel Perkins-Greene Reply

    Awesome presentation!

  4. stacy Reply

    Jen, loved your presentation! Your spirit shines through to your every words. I am blessed to call you friend! Be well and rest friend. I too got sick, the stomach flu…blah! Off to enjoy today hanging out with my favorite 2 nieces :)!!

  5. Susana Pacheco Hollinger Reply

    Hi there, Jennifer! I hope your bug is going away!! So glad that your talk was recorded. Shared it with all of my fb friends. LOVE YOU!!!

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