Hospice

In the past several weeks, there have been multiple chest xrays, a chest CT scan, surgeries to put two semi-permanent drains in my lungs, and several doctor’s appointments.  The drains allow me (well, my mom, the best nurse ever!) to drain at home and ease my breathing issues (coughing/shortness of breath).  However, the CT scan showed that the trial was not working and there was significant progression.  The doctor said I am out of options and referred me to hospice.  After a few questions, I said, “I’m not surprised.  I’ve watched enough friends die to know that when you start needing to have palliative care (ie, “comfort care” like having lungs drained, blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, not treatment like chemo) that the body is starting to shut down.”  She said most of her patients say something similar when referred to hospice.

 

I’ve also watched enough friends die, and have witnessed what has/has not been helpful and how their loved ones have grieved.  I ask that you respect this private time for my family, Corbin, and me.  If you see Corbin and me out, please do NOT discuss my health in front of him.  He is aware that I am no longer on treatment and what that means, however I still look just like “normal mommy”.   At this point I am not confined to my bed or house, but am using my energy for my family.

 

My energy level varies from day-to-day and, as you can imagine, I’m saving all my energy for my family and Corbin.  We ask for NO VISITORS at this time.  I’ve seen very well intentioned people “drop off food” and want a quick visit.  This could be during a time I’m sleeping or disrupt an intimate family time.  Again, we ask for NO VISITORS.  If things change and we are up for visitors, we will post that request.

 

My sister-in-law, Christy, is creating a memory book for Corbin and my family.  If you’d like to contribute, please email memoriesforcorbin@gmail.com with the info below.  If you have older pictures (non digital) that you’d like to send to include, please email Christy for specific instructions.  Be sure to include:

Your name

How you knew me (or my family)

Funny stories, memories, PICTURES, etc

 

I have been very open in sharing my life, but now ask that you respect my desire to die in a private, dignified manner.  Please do not expect a reply to emails/texts or returned calls from family.  All updates will be posted here.

xoxo

Jen

Jen
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. lisa adams Reply

    Jen,
    I respect your decisions more than you know. I am sad to see another beautiful and caring person die of this disease. I wish I had known you for longer than what we have had, but I am grateful for the time we have shared talking about motherhood and how to die with dignity and providing memories for those we love. Your sweet Corbin has not had you for long enough, but your lessons and care will live with him always. I will not pester you or ever need a reply, but if you want to reach out you will know where to find me as the days go on. I hope you will have some more days of feeling well enough to continue to make memories. You are in my thoughts every single day, as is Corbin. Thank you for the time it takes to do these updates. I wrap you in the warmest of embraces across the miles. You are legendary indeed. Now and always. Lisa

  2. Wanda Crouse Reply

    I respect your privacy, Jen. I know you don’t know me very well, but I have kept you I’m my prayers for a long time — admiring your strength. I will continue to keep you and Corbin in my earnest prayers. I trust that Our Heavenly Father has a glorious place prepared for you — and He will lift Corbin in His love. You can be assured of that!! God Speed. –Wanda Crouse

  3. Nancy Reply

    Jen – I’m so sorry to hear this. I really admire your faith and the way your family has supported you through all of this. I don’t have words to say how I feel, but please know that I will continue to keep you and Corbin and your entire family in my prayers. God bless.
    Nancy White

  4. NC Cousin Teresa Reply

    My heart breaks for all of you…

  5. Phae Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Jen. I will continue to keep you in my prayers. CANCER SUCKS!!!!

  6. Jill Hobbs Reply

    Jen,
    I am thinking of you and your family. You are such an inspiration to us all. Sending you my love,
    Jill

  7. Kathy Steepleton Reply

    Jen

    <3 <3 <3

    I know not what to say …. I am scared

    Kathy – love you Jen

  8. Carrie Barker Reply

    Jen,
    I honestly don’t know what to say to you and I know you don’t want me to say anything. I just want you to know I’m praying that you and your family continue enjoying every day and living life to the fullest. I’m not sure if I’ve reminded you of something you told me back in high school. You said to me, “You’ll make a great mom some day”. I can assure you that I suck as a mom most days! You, however, are the most AMAZING and SELFLESS mom I have ever met! Corbin is SO lucky to have such a fantastic mommy!
    Love you!
    Carrie (Stephens) Barker

  9. Emily Reply

    FOBS ~ You are an angel, and the ripple you have made in my life alone, and the life of countless others, is eternal. You are a blessing, an inspiration and a beauty mark on all of our lives. We love you….

  10. Stephanie Reply

    Praying for peace and comfort for ALL of you! Know that you are well loved, my sweet friend. <3

  11. Purvi Damani-Patel Reply

    We love you Jen!! You and Corbin are always in our prayers!!!

  12. Dayna Shallis Reply

    Sweet Jen- that was the most difficult entry to read. My heart is broken for you and yet at the same time, I am in awe of your strength at how you have taken this horrible disease and played it out on your own terms. May God continue to shine down on you and help give you the strength to write your final chapter. You absolutely have lived legendary and have left a mark for us all to live up to. Godspeed, my friend.

  13. Joy Reply

    My heart is heavy. Love you, dear.

  14. Krista Bridges Burruss Reply

    Jen…sending you love and prayers and more love. KBB

  15. Rebecca Reply

    I’m so, so sorry to hear this, Jen. I’ll keep you and Corbin in my thoughts.

  16. Shannon Raucci Reply

    Oh Jen! My heart is so heavy while the tears run down my face! You are the first person I met with this disease and have given me the strength to fight. I love you so much! Though I am sad and cry for you, I know you are going home to God and will be forever at peace. Until we meet again…I pray for you and your family for the peace and love of God to surround you during this time.

  17. Michelle Reply

    Sending you all my love Hottie!!!

  18. Teresa Ridenhour Reply

    Jen I love you.

  19. Kristin Reply

    Jen, I am so sorry- if only there was some thing I could do. You spirit has inspired so many, I can only imagine how you will live on in all their hearts. May God take good care of you, and know that you’ve made a difference in my life too. God Bless, and Love you girl.
    Kristin

  20. Barb Neales Reply

    Oh Jen, I am so sorry to hear this news. You have done so well over the last few years. You have been such an inspiration to so many including myself. You have a smile that lights up a room, and have passed that smile down to a very handsome boy. I hope you spend fabulous quality time with Corbin and your wonderful family over the next while. Peace be with you. Love ya! Barb xoxo

  21. Purvi Reply

    Love you Jen!!! Love you and Corbin! Miss you guys a lot!

  22. Purvi Reply

    Love you Jen! Love you and Corbin!! We miss you guys a lot!

  23. Amy Penne Reply

    Love you, Jennifer Arnold Smith–may you be bathed in warmth and love and comfort for all eternity.

  24. Amy Reply

    Praying for you and Corbin.

  25. Loren Anderson Reply

    If only Rick Warren could have met you, Jen. Thank you for showing us how to REALLY live a purpose-driven life.

    I’ve learned there are 2 things that have had the greatest impact on my life: 1) People who live… legendary, and 2) the books I read. (And you’ve written 2 very profound books – opening up your life for us – that I will cherish forever.)

    Thank you for blessing us with your life.

  26. Karen Gustafson Bryant Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story Jen. You are so brave — what a role model for your kiddo and family. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    Loyally, Karen Gustafson Bryant (Pledge Class 1993)

  27. Lisa Frerichs Reply

    God has a plan for this wonderful woman. I invite you to PRAY daily at 8:00PM for Jennifer Arnold Smith. PRAY for her strength and comfort at this time that she enters hospice. PRAY for her family and especially her son, Corbin. Wherever you are and whomever you are with…….take a moment and say a prayer. Start tonight at 8pm.

  28. Jen Stein Reply

    I have followed your story through, Jill Jedd. This ripped my heart out as you have touched my life, even though I have never personally met you. I am keeping you in my prayers daily along with Corbin and your family, May you continue to be a legendary light eternally to all those who know you. Your strength is beyond admirable and I hope you find peaceful comfort in the days to come.

  29. Betsy Reply

    Jen, I didn’t post anything when I read this last night, because I didn’t know what to say. But that’s lame. I want you to know that your passion for life and your commitment to experience joy in every day has been so inspiring to me. I want to live the way you have lived and treasure my days the way you have. I want to pursue my dreams with the same kind of passion I have seen from you. So much in my life I take for granted – that I will have as many days as I want to accomplish the things I would like to do. But it’s not true – it’s not true for any of us – and I don’t want to look back and have regrets.

    I’m sorry. I don’t mean to make this all about me. I’m just saying that you are living the way we all should live – what an example of gratitude and joy you are! You are leaving an amazing legacy, Jen, for your precious son and for your family. What a mark you have left on this world!

    Love to you, Jen, and many prayers for peace and comfort and happiness in these days.

    Betsy (rebelbets from LJ)

  30. Manda LaRoe Price Reply

    Jen, many years have passed since I’ve see you last however you have been in my prayers since learning about your battle with cancer! You have inspired many and your faith is so powerful that Corbin will feel you always! I continue to send you prayers of strength and peace as your journey on earth into heaven continues. Your a true angel! Peace be with you!
    Manda

  31. John Sheahan Reply

    Praying for you and your family.

  32. pam grossman Reply

    You have helped us all to figure out how we want to live legendary. You will forever be an inspiration and a beloved friend. We sure do love you. xoxo

  33. Gwen Reply

    I am so sorry to hear this. Praying for your family earnestly!

  34. nancy Reply

    “She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, and surely it has not, she adjusted her sails” Godspeed dear Jen. Xo

  35. Crisa Travaglini Reply

    Jen-
    I know it has been forever since we have seen each other but I have followed you over the years. I have watched you fight so hard through this battle!! You sparkle like no one I have ever known in my life. You are one tough lady!
    You seem so at peace. I just want you to know I think about you and pray for you and your beautiful son, Corbin!!
    Love,
    Crisa xxoo

  36. Cynthia Reply

    Just wanted to say love you, beautiful friend. I remember the first time we met on the Junior League Bus. I remember thinking that you were beautiful but so damn tall! :-) then you told me you were the shortest in your family!! Enjoy this time with your favorite and your incredible family. My prayers are with you!!

  37. Debbie Reply

    Jen, if you need anything, you know how to reach me. Anything at all. Meanwhile, sending all my love to you and your family.
    xo
    Debbie

  38. Donna Drake Reply

    Jen. You have inspired so many of us through your journey. Thank you! You’ve given so much of yourself to help others. Your privacy is respected. Hugs & love.

  39. Shirley Kolb Reply

    Dear Jen, I am so sorry to hear this news. I have been dreading the day it would come. Thank you so much for sharing your life and struggles with so many of us. You have inspired so many people and will leave a legacy of faith and love for your precious boy. I have learned so much from you and I so appreciate your openness and honesty. I will continue praying nightly for you and your family during this time. May the arms of the Lord surround you, His love encircle you, and His peace be with all of you.

  40. Rodney Reply

    Jen, You are always in my thoughts, my heart, and in my prayers. Having lost my mom and several beloved friends to this hated killer, and having lived through episodes myself, I can only say that knowing you, even for a brief time, being able to see you in church, to smile with you, to laugh, to share a hug…sharing your amazing, heroic, and legendary life, even as a mere acquaintance on the outskirts of your life has meant more to me than you will ever know. You are a treasure my sweet friend and I honor your request, but know that when I see you I will smile for you and know that in that smile I am sending all my heartfelt prayers for you, for Corbin, for peace, for strength, and for continuing grace as you live the rest of your extraordinary, legendary life. Hugs, and much love!

  41. Umeeta and Marilyn Reply

    Dear, dear Jen,
    We are holding you in our hearts. We are thinking of you, Corbin, and your family and sending love and prayers. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you also for the wisdom you share with us. We are grateful to know you.
    Peace,
    Marilyn and Umeeta

  42. michael hosa Reply

    Dear Jen I’m Sorry this happened there our no words to make it better. just know that our hearts and prayers are with You, Corbin and the family.

  43. Kim C. Reply

    Dear Jen,

    The YSC girls are, of course, thinking about you constantly over on the group page. You know how much we love you. Anyways, as you can imagine, there’s quite a few threads about you right now as we try to grasp on to this latest news, process it and our anger and our love for you. Some of us that have had the pleasure to meet you are sharing memories of what you’re like in person. I was telling them about how I “kind of” met you, and they suggested that I post it to your your blog so other that haven’t met you in person will know:

    “I’ve *kinda* met Jen in person. But for those of you that haven’t, I’ll tell you what it’s like. I’m standing in there in Atlanta at my first conference wondering what the hell to do and who to talk to when–at of no where–this tall, gorgeous, glowy woman I’ve never seen before comes at me, grabs me, hugs me and says, ‘Hi!’ then runs off. I was stunned. I said to the person next to me, ‘What was that?’ My friend says, ‘Jen Arnold.'” I thought, Wow. That woman actually *glows*.”

    Then some other girls jumped in with similar experiences of meeting you. How warm and open you are.

    I said, “So, you know what I’m talking about? It was like being warmly assaulted by a big friendly comet.”

    Love to you, your family and Corbin, Jen. You are loved. So very much.

    Kim

  44. Sara Reply

    Jen, I have known you from the very beginning. Corbin was just a baby and he is the reason you have fought this awful disease for so long. You are amazing and an inspiring women who has touched so many lives. My wish is for Corbin to remember your beauty, grace, smile, caring and loving nature, It hurts my heart to hear your news. You and Corbin are in my heart and prayers! I will love you thru the end my friend.
    Sara

  45. Deborah Bollman Reply

    Jen, thank YOU for sharing this with others and especially sharing your love for life and Corbin. I am a much better person because of you. Thank you. Much love.

  46. Mary Ann Reply

    Remembering a couple of conversations we had at Parkland. So glad I got to know you.and see the beauty within you. God broke the mold after He made you. Godspeed my friend. The world is a better place because you chose to live legendary.

  47. Angela Reply

    Jennifer, in reading your words, I’m reminded of something that I found very touching years ago. When my Grandpa Callahan got very ill and ultimately passed away, my mom said that he taught his children how to live, and now he was going to teach them how to die. The dignity, grace, and courage you have shown in how you have lived your life will stay with Corbin forever and will be the most important thing he will ever learn.

  48. kim hahn Reply

    Jen, my heart is breaking for you and your family. You are such an inspiration. I don’t think you will ever truly know how many lives you have touched and changed. I am in awe of your strength and grace. You truly are legendary! I pray for you and your family daily and will continue to do so. Godspeed Jen.

  49. Elizabeth Angelo Reply

    Jen, you and your family are amazing. Praying for peace and comfort for you all and for relief from physical symptoms to be able to enjoy time with Corbin and others.

  50. Heather Reply

    You are so beautiful. I will never forget your strength, courage, and honesty. But most of all will not forget how beautiful you are inside and out. You are the most inspiring person I know.

  51. Tammi Clifton Reply

    Dear Jen – My Mom and I have prayed for you and Corbin every night and will continue every evening at 8 pm, as Lisa requested. When GOD and his Angels come to cross you over, Corbin will have a BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING guardian angel looking over him!! God bless, peace, love, and light to you and your family!

    VERY MUCH LOVE, Tammi xoxo

  52. Karen Andrews Reply

    Dear Jen–I am so very, very sorry to hear this news. I will always remember you when I gaze at the stars in the sky. I will be looking for the brightest, twinkling one and know it is you winking at me!! You have been such an inspiration to everyone and I will pray that God will keep blessing you and your family. Much love, Karen

  53. ChrisAnn Richards Reply

    Dear Jen~It has been more than a week and decided to check your living legendary blog. I too have been extremely blessed to have you in my life. Roger, Boots & I enjoyed our lunch with you and Nancy while in Indy. Big smooch and hugs to you all! Much Love, ChrisAnn xoxo

  54. Shannon Reply

    How far life comes in a short 20-some years since I first met you in English class. So many memories from a time that seems so simple now. You have chosen to live your life in a way the rest of us should take to heart. I hope I can continue to learn from you that every day is a gift. I wish you peace and daily joys with your family and son. So few do in a long life what you have done in one that is too short. Much love, my friend.

  55. Carolyn Chew Reply

    My YSC sister Jen,
    It’s been so hard for me to face your reality. I so love how our time together providing love and support through “cyber space” intensified by a simple gesture of you responding with a thoughtful note to my little man despite all your own worries. You have taught me, and will continue to teach me to live legendary. I am in awe our your strength, and the determination to live your life to it’s fullest. I will miss you so very much. May you have peace and some more beautiful moments with that beautiful little boy of yours. My love to you and Corbin. Forever, Carolyn

  56. Ruthie Counter Reply

    Well done, Jennifer. You remain a beautiful witness to the joy of living. You have shown us all that having a terminal illness does not dictate the amount of “life” you can enjoy in the remaining God-given days, months, or years you are granted on the Earth. Your beauty, energy–even your smile and facial expressions–stays with us, in your adorable son. And because his heart and those of your loving parents and friends always keep you close in remembrance, a part of you remains here always. May God grant you His Peace in the days ahead.

  57. Stolee Reply

    I love seeing how many people’s lives you affect (that “ripple” referred to above) and how many people love you. Makes me feel more content in my inability to come up with words, to you or in my prayers. I am blessed tonight to see how gracious God is to have put you in my life.

  58. Bethany Reply

    There aren’t words…….wishing you peace and the knowledge of all you will be remembered for. Thank you for sharing so much to help others. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  59. Victoria Thomas Reply

    I LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU.. KISS CORBIN FOR ME.

  60. Debbie Rudolph Reply

    Dear Jen, We have never met, I work at Case Western with your Uncle Bill. I am so very inspired by you, you have an amazing inner strength. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make this terrible disease you have go away. I want you to know that you Corbin and your family will be forever in my family’s and my thoughts and prayers.
    God be with you…

    Debbie Rudolph

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