My Life as an 80’s Movie

Hi friends.  Thank you for your continued prayers and thoughtfulness.  It means so very much.  I debated on whether or not to post today because, honestly, this has been a rough day.  But I truly want to chronicle the highs and lows for anyone going through this after me.  And believe me, there are some lows.

It’s been a full week since my surgery and each day brings about new challenges.   I spoke too soon in my last post about not having nausea after surgery.  Almost immediately after I hit ‘send’ on the last post, I began getting sick.  And that lasted for two days.  I couldn’t even hold a few bites of a bagel down.   I decided to stop taking the heavy drugs as I think that was a contributing factor.  And soon after that, the nausea subsided.

After jumping that hurdle, one of my drains (yucky tubes attached to get rid of excess fluid) became so painful that it brought me to my knees.   Literally I looked like Jennifer Grey in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ every time Trevor came near me to empty to my drains (which is approximately 3x a day).


I thought I was going to have to go to the ER it was so bad.  Thankfully, Trevor helped me get the pain under control in about 30 minutes (I’ve never been so grateful to be married to a pain management doctor).  Apparently the drain was sitting on a nerve which caused severe irritation.  And that is putting it mildly.   I’d have 10 more kids without an epidural before I’d sign up for that again.  That pain continued each time I moved in just the wrong direction or shifted in my bed.  It was simply excruciating.

Enter the miracle of the muscle relaxer.  After taking one of those, it took me approximately 5 minutes to feel exactly like the bride in the 80’s hit, ‘Sixteen Candles’.


Suddenly, all was right in my world.

I went to my first follow up appointment with Dr. Potter (plastic surgeon) today and got two of my 4 drains removed.  I was so happy to see them go.  I’ll spare you the details, but it’s just not natural to have tubes coming out of your body.  Dr. Potter thought I could have the other two removed by the end of the week, which is a huge prayer request!!

Trevor returned to work today after taking last week off, so Ashley came with me to my appointment.  She was a huge source of support.  If you’ve ever seen ‘Steel Magnolias’, remember the scene when Truvy (Dolly Parton) spins Shelby (Julia Roberts) around in the salon chair with her new short haircut and says, ‘ta da’ and Shelby has this expression?


Well, that was me when they took the bandages off of my chest in the office.  Thankfully, Ash (in her best Sally Field voice) was right there telling me everything looked great and it was all going to be okay.  I teared up but was able to regain composure quickly.  Sometimes you just need words of reassurance after you get startled by your own body.

Couple all of the above with summer starting and me totally not being able to parent from my bed, and I’m afraid my children will resemble these kids by August.


All kidding aside, this was a really hard day for me.  I hit a wall.  Trevor went back to work, Kim flew back to Boston, my parents both have a nasty cold and can’t spend a lot of time around me for fear of infection, I’m in pain, etc.  And lastly, I miss Jen.  Every step of this journey reminds me of my dear friend.  The hospitals, the doctors, the terminology, the stress, the pain, etc.  I cried a lot and I held several pity parties today.  But God continues to send encouragement through friends’ texts, calls, surprises at my front door, etc.  He has blessed me with so many friends who, unfortunately, have walked this road before me and can hold my hand through the tough times.  They truly are my inspiration.  (Someone cue Peter Cetera please).

Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count,


What a Week!

To each and every one of you, I want to say thank you. Thank you for praying, thank you for running errands, thank you for picking up and bringing my kids home from school, thank you for dinners, thank you for flowers, thank you for texts, etc. That is truly what has gotten me through thus far.

I also wanted to thank you for your kind words about my song with Cary Pierce. Several of you have asked how to download it and I finally figured it out. Click here for a link to the song in iTunes (I believe it’s on spotify, pandora, etc. but I’m not 100% sure). I am giving a portion of the proceeds to Susan G. Komen foundation (which I’m sure will be approximately $10 after my family downloads), so PLEASE download and share with your friends via email, social media, etc. Because of research prior to my diagnosis, I will most likely live a normal life. And you can’t put a price on that.

Now for the update…after two nights in the hospital, I am finally home and in my own bed. And this is what I found when I got home.


More points for Trev and his decorating skills.
The surgery went well per the physicians and I couldn’t be more grateful. I can definitely feel God’s presence with me and I truly am not shaken (Psalm 16:8).

The past 10 days have been non-stop for me (and for you too, I’m guessing), and I count that as a huge blessing. Originally, we thought having the surgery scheduled for the last week of school would be somewhat of a logistical nightmare (final exams, end of school, etc.), but it turns out being busy was the best distraction of all. Thank you, Lord, for your provision.

My friend Molly drove from College Station to come keep me company last week. We got to walk, talk, have lunch, etc. I felt like I was on vacation patio eating and ignoring any responsibilities at home. Which, if I stop and think about it, is almost like any other day.

The next day Kim flew in from Boston to hang out with me. We had a blast together running carpool (not even a joke – mundane tasks are so much better with friends). The one comment all of our 7 boys (yes, 7 boys between the two of us) say to us when we are together is, “mom, you act weird when Kim/Jamie is here”. And our response? This is what we look like when y’all aren’t beating us down with sports, school, packing lunches and doing laundry. We are actually really funny and enjoyable when we aren’t parenting. And even though Kim and I talk on the phone every single morning, we still had so much catching up to do. #mykidsdontunderstandhowwehavesomanywords


Last weekend, we got to celebrate my niece who is graduating from high school today! We attended her baccalaureate and then had such a nice brunch with family. I am so very proud of Logan (Ashley’s daughter) for working so hard in school and in athletics. She is such a go-getter and I know she will thrive at UT (even though she will never live down that decision and will be taunted by her Aggie family for life).

Monday, my precious friends threw a birthday party for me. Let me just say that the PERFECT gift for me is to have all of my people together in one place. It was such a lovely day, and I felt so cared for.



Not only did they make me “special” cookies…


But they prayed for me as well, which was so comforting.


I can’t stress enough how important it is in life to have family and friends who love you and will walk through valleys with you. The support in this room was palpable.

After the birthday party, I looked at the calendar and realized my next hair appointment was the day after my surgery. Well, clearly that wasn’t going to work because if anything was going to give me more gray hair it would be this. I called my hair colorist and she was able to work me in Tuesday morning (day of surgery). I contemplated this odd timing, then realized it might be a nice way to pass the time since I couldn’t eat or drink all day and since my surgery wasn’t going to start until 3pm. Plus, let’s be honest ladies, it is such a bonus to have fresh blonde & a good blow out being wheeled into the OR.  Seven out of 8 of my friends agree. #lotsofblondes


Around 12:30, we all geared up to head to the hospital. I suddenly became very nervous and asked God for the very first time, “Why?”. “Why now?”, “Why me? Why Jen? It all just came spilling out of me. The minute we loaded up in the car, I plugged my phone in to charge and you’ll never believe what happened. “I Surrender All” began playing as if it had been queued up by God himself. Of all the songs that could have played, it was this one. And I realized as I sobbed in the car holding Trevor’s hand and Kim’s hand that I don’t need to know ‘why’. All I need to do is surrender to the Lord. Trust his promises. And know that He works all things for good (Romans 8:28).

We got to the hospital and had lots of visitors. I’m still dumbfounded that we didn’t get kicked out because no one was using their ‘inside voice’. The nurses put me in a room, and I was fortunate to don another beautiful gown from the Baylor Hospital Couture Collection. Not only that, but they accessorized me with a hair net that complimented the color of my gown. Last up, the medical team gave me amazing little socks with grippers on them. I think that was the perfect way to complete the ensemble. Hair AND wardrobe were on point.

Feeling like a million bucks, my posse came in to pray with me. I had asked our Sunday school teacher, Miller Cunningham, if he would come lead us. Miller is an incredible man with the purest heart for the Lord. He exudes qualities that are in line with his beliefs and has been so influential in Trevor’s and my spiritual life. He and his sweet wife, Ginger, were able to circle up and hold hands with my family and friends, which made all my fears and doubt disappear.  Click here to learn more about Miller & Ginger’s ministry.

The actual surgery started around 3:45 and ended around 8pm. I don’t remember much of waking up or being in the recovery room, but so far I’ve heard some good stories that I may or may not repeat. Also, we had been praying so hard for no nausea after surgery because I had severe nausea after the lymph node biopsy. Praise God I have had no nausea and have felt great. I’m so grateful for Dr. Grant (surgical oncologist) and Dr. Potter (plastic surgeon) for being so thorough and for caring for me so well. But this one will always my favorite physician…


The next steps are for me to see my plastic surgeon on Tuesday. He will make sure everything is healing correctly. Then the following week I will see both my plastic surgeon and surgical oncologist. I should also receive my pathology report which will determine if my treatment is complete or if I will need chemotherapy. I am boldly asking for you to pray specifically for no chemo!!

Lastly, I am unbelievably grateful to have the cancer out of my body. However, my brain won’t let me fully celebrate until pathology comes back with clear margins. I learned through Jennifer’s journey to emotionally stay in neutral because the ups and downs of this disease can be so severe. But if my path report is good, you might see me doing an awkward happy dance and embarrassing my teenagers. Cannot wait.

Everything you guys have been praying for has turned out better than I ever imagined (Ephesians 3:20). So please don’t stop.  God is good. All the time.

Until next time, much love to you all & make every day count!


PS: Don’t forget to download ‘How Great Thou Art’ and help me help others!!

PSS: I am still taking heavy drugs for pain, so if this blog post doesn’t make sense or there are several typos that’s why.   And I think I might have lot of regret about posting a hospital pic of me, but I’m trying to keep it real!


Disclaimer: This is not Jamie typing this post. So, please lower any expectations you have for funny and sweet and perfect when you read this. This is a combined effort from the waiting room but we wanted to update you on how the day and surgery has gone because you have been so faithful in your encouragement and prayers. The day started like any other by dropping off all three boys for exams. Unlike any other day, Jamie took a short mid-morning nap. Staying up all night packing for the hospital will do that to a person.  True to her Texas roots, Jamie had her hair done and looked runway ready when we left for the hospital. Another upside? The good news is awaiting surgery takes away any desire to eat, so full day fasting was not a problem.

On the way to the hospital, Jamie’s phone randomly started playing “I Surrender All” which is exactly what we all needed to hear.  We love it when God picks the playlist.

The first person Jamie saw when we entered the hospital was Angela and that brought the tears. And the smiles. And more tears. Once again, Jennifer is never far from anyone’s minds or hearts and being back at Baylor brings a flood of emotion. Jamie’s entourage of her parents, sisters, Kim, Amy, Courtney, Miller and Ginger, Casey, Stephanie, Jayne, and Hite all went back two by two ala Noah’s Ark to pray with Jamie before surgery. The nurse was less than amused.

After many tears and hugs, we all reluctantly left Jamie waiting to be wheeled back into surgery. And then the waiting began. And we’re not sure time has ever moved more agonizingly slowly. But, the surgical nurse was great about updating Trevor and here are the highlights.

The surgery started at 3:45 p.m, and we got the first report at 6:00 p.m. that Dr, Grant, the surgical oncologist, was finished with his part and everything went well. Dr. Potter, the plastic surgeon, began his part and we were told it would be one and a half more hours.

One thing that has been so evident is how amazingly thoughtful Jamie’s friends are and we also got to find out how sweet Ashley’s are too by being our personal Favor and bringing dinner. Thank you, Kimberly Alexander and Amy Campbell!

As hard as it was for Mom to leave her daughter at the hospital, she was so helpful with holding down the fort and taking care of the boys after school, juggling tutors, dinner and Hunter not feeling well. He told her cake would make him feel better and we’re pretty sure she fell for that.

Dr. Potter came out at 8 p.m. and told us that her tissue was healthy and everything looked very promising. Chris and Meredith Messick showed up for one last round of hugs and now we are counting the minutes until we get to go see her and share the happy news that all went well. We’re hoping Jamie will be able to go home Thursday and maybe even late Wednesday night if her pain is being managed. But, that is the advantage of being married to an anesthesiologist.

We have no idea what her recovery will look like, but the doctor has cautioned us that the first few days are tough. We will let you know when she feels up to having company.

This has truly been a day oF surrender and blessings.  As Jamie always says, make every day count!

” The Lord will fight for you (Jamie) and you only have to be still. ” Exodus 14:14

The Day I Forgot I Had Cancer

My husband is pretty darn awesome. For my upcoming birthday, he gave me a recording session in a music studio, as he knows I love to write and sing music. A long time ago (like before kids, a husband, responsibility, a house, a dog, etc.), I actually pursued a career in music and made a demo tape called “Train of Thought”, which was recorded in Austin, Texas. (You’ll notice a Lubbock address on the tape, which was where I was attending graduate school at the time.) And to give you a real sense of how long ago that was…


For those of you born after 1987, you might not even know what this rectangular contraption is. But I assure you the cassette tape had it going on in its day. And apparently so did high waisted jeans and a sullen look on a train track.

After recording the demo, I eventually realized a life on the road would not be conducive to having a family, and that is what I wanted the most in life. So I gave up the dream of being a singer and opted for being a wife and mom instead. I figured each job was equally as glamorous anyway. Can I get an amen, moms? Moms?

Fast forward to about 2 weeks ago when I decided I’d love to take advantage of my gift before my surgery, so that I would have something to listen to leading up to the dreaded event.  Ruminating on God’s truths in scripture and in song is what gets me through each day, so when the Lord had placed it on my heart to record a hymn, that is exactly what I set out to do. I enlisted the help of my talented friend, Cary Pierce, who just so happens to be the “pierce” part of the band Jackopierce. And for all of you who graduated from high school in the late eighties and early nineties and live in the Dallas area, you need no explanation for how HIGH Jackopierce rates on the cool-o-meter. I mean, not just anyone can wear shoes like this and get away with it.



Not only did Cary hook me up to record in an ultra swanky recording studio, but he actually sang along on my track as well. Let that sink in for a minute. I got to sing with CARY PIERCE for my birthday. WHAT?! I like to think that makes me Jamieopierce – at least for a day. Cary’s voice is so unbelievably unique, and just the sound of it can make me feel like I’m 21 years old again in 2 seconds flat.

On the day we recorded, Cary and I met at the studio (do you like how I just threw that out there so casually?) and I began to watch the most beautiful process unfold. First, we had to find the right pitch. Next, the right tempo. After that came laying tracks of guitar and other instruments. Then came vocals. Cary and the producer, Aaron, were so gifted at starting from nothing and creating something amazing in just a few hours. Just like our kids do when they have school projects…oh wait.

By the end of the day, my cheeks hurt so badly from smiling the most obnoxious smile ALL DAY LONG. I had the most fun I’ve had in a long time doing what I absolutely love to do. And the best part of all? I forgot for an entire day that I had cancer. Literally.  The thing that has consumed my every thought since April 13th completely disappeared for hours. Hours. So to Trevor, I say thank you for the most amazing gift of all. And to Cary, when can I borrow those shoes?!!!




Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count. I know this one did for me.

Click here to download our duet, How Great Thou Art.


PS: For all of those husbands who suddenly feel the need to ramp it up in the gift department, Jackopierce has an amazing Destination Show on Martha’s Vineyard July 29th and tickets are still available. They also have a family friendly Christmas show December 2nd in Dallas!! (High waisted jeans not recommended).

On Being Busy, Comforted & Alone

So many of you have been so sweet to check in on me and find out what’s happening in the days leading up to my surgery, which is scheduled for May 23rd.  Well, if you are a parent of a school aged child and you’ve lived through the month of May, then you have your answer.  May is to moms as April is to accountants.  BUSY.  And I assume I’m doing what every other mom does towards the end of school.  Enrolling my kids in every single summer camp offered around town.  Seriously, though, I’ve tried to stay busy walking with friends, preparing for Armour Up, and nesting at my house in preparation for hunkering down post surgery.

Originally, I was very hesitant about waiting until May 23rd (first available date) to rid my body of this terrible disease.  However, I have realized that each passing day is a gift as it affords time to wrap my brain around what is about to happen.  Not only to my body, but also to my family.  Something that helped me tremendously with this was meeting last week with a support group for women in their 30’s & 40’s with breast cancer.  Ironically, this group was founded by my friend Jennifer (along with Lezley and some other precious friends) and I’ve heard all about them for years.  And they were just as amazing as she said they were.  What struck me the most was the collective strength in that room.  These women have lived through so much, but every one of them had the most beautiful smile and exuded so much grace & vulnerability.  I will say, however, that this is the only social event where I’ve ever been greeted with, “I’m so sorry you are here.” (In the sweetest way possible, of course).

Being around others has become such a comfort to me.  So much so, that this gal who LOVES to be alone, now never wants to be alone.   Last weekend, my middle son, Hunter, played in a baseball tournament called “Strike Out for Cancer”.  Ouch.  Suddenly those words and that cause hit way to close to home (pun intended).  My parents were planning on coming to Hunter’s second game, but not the first.  Since my sister, Jennifer, lived close to the fields where he was playing, I texted her and asked if she’d like to join me.  She replied that she was going to lunch with friends but would be at the second game also.  An hour or so later, I began to dread sitting in the stands by myself looking around at all of the PINK that teams were sure to be sporting.  (Trevor goes to all the games, but he is notorious for pacing at our kids sporting events).  So, what does the baby of the family and someone used to getting her way do?  Texts her sister back and asks, “Now how important is this lunch with your friends?”


Apparently not as important as being there for your little sister.

It’s a good thing she joined me for moral support because one of the coaches and moms had these stickers made for the boys’ helmets.


Oh how we love our Dallas Tigers family!!  And when Hunter questioned putting this on his helmet because it said “Mrs. Kraus”, we modified his.


So for those wondering how I’m filling my time, I’m “momming” and embracing every minute of it.

That is, of course, until summer camps begin.

Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count!


“Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

Negative means Positive

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and encouragement regarding my lymph node biopsy.  To have your company on this journey is the biggest blessing of all.

We received wonderful news that my lymph nodes are ALL CLEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!  I’m so overwhelmed with gratitude.  This news is a game changer, and I am rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord.

My youngest son, Hayes, upon hearing the news that my lymph nodes were negative, announced that “negative means positive, mom!”.  Yes, yes it does.

The next step in my treatment is the double mastectomy, which is tentatively scheduled for the day after my birthday, May 23rd.  I like to say that with a biopsy on my wedding anniversary and a mastectomy close to my birthday,  I sure know how to celebrate!  (I think I’ll just sit Mother’s Day out this year 😜).

I asked my oldest son, Hudson, if he was okay with me having such a big surgery during his high school finals week.  His response?  “This is not about me, mom, please do whatever you have to do to get the cancer out!!”  I might or might not  have fallen into a proud mom puddle after that.

I want to thank Trevor, my mom, dad and my sisters for being there during and after the biopsy.  Taking my kids to school, watching movies, walking the dog, etc.  I’ve also found that unsweet tea is a good substitute for Diet Coke, and I think Ashley has brought me a different flavor of tea every day to try.   (For those that know Ash, she doesn’t do anything half way).  I’m so unbelievably thankful for my family.

And YOU!!!  I’m so thankful for you.  Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated, as are your texts, emails, comments, etc.  I find so much strength in your words, and I thank God daily for your heartfelt concern.

Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count!!


“Rejoice in the Lord always…” Philippians 4:4





No, a Biopsy Cannot Be Romantic

Well the good news is my sentinel lymph node biopsy is over.  The bad news is I told Trevor to “not smile at me”, to “quit touching my arm” and “you’re chewing too loudly” on our 19th wedding anniversary.  Let’s just say anesthesia does not bring out my best self.   I spent the remainder of the day yesterday in bed or in the bathroom throwing up.  And Trevor might have spent the remainder of the day contemplating the “in sickness and in health” vow we made to one another so long ago.  Seriously, though, Trevor has been so amazing to take care of me throughout all of this.  The emotional and physical toll it has taken already has caught me by surprise.  To have cancer is bad enough, but to have it after what I went through with Jennifer makes it all the more difficult.  But Trevor has been there for everything and he is proving to be the best decision I ever made.

So now we wait.  I should know the results by tomorrow after 3pm.  Your continued prayers are so appreciated.

Thank you for supporting our family on this journey…we could not do it without you.

And since I went on a holy roller kick yesterday, I thought I would share a video (entitled “Lady that has a Bible Verse for Everything”) that has been circulating around and was sent to me by a friend via text.  Sometimes you just need to laugh so that you won’t cry.  Click here to watch.

Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count,


“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  Romans 12:12

Can a Biopsy be Romantic?

Written: May 1, 2017

I was kidding in my last post about spending my anniversary in surgery, but it looks like that’s exactly where I will be to celebrate 19 years with my guy.  Yay, us!  Tomorrow (Tuesday, May 2nd), I will have my lymph node biopsy at 7:30am, so please be in prayer for everything to be clear.  I’ve told several of my friends that I won’t be able to completely exhale until I know whether or not this cancer has traveled outside of my ducts.  (I’m finding that my vocabulary is rapidly changing and I don’t really like the new words I’m using nearly as much as the old ones.)  I want to be clear on one thing –  I trust the Lord 100% with whatever He chooses to do with this nasty disease.   However, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious about what this biopsy will reveal.  Knowing what I know about cancer has made me have a proper fear of what it can do to one’s body.  But the fear is more like that of the ocean or even of the Lord.  It’s so big and powerful that it can have me on my knees by the mere mention of it.  I’ve seen it do things that I pray none of you ever have to witness.  But I’ve also seen the beautiful, extraordinary gifts that can come from it as well.  So this delicate balance is where I find myself living.

It may be a stretch since I’m so early in the game, but I feel as if the Lord has never been so near and so evident in my life as He is right now.  Puzzle pieces are starting to fit together.  And even though some things don’t make any sense at all, others all of a sudden seem crystal clear.  All I know is that He is in control and He wants me to continue following His “path of peace” (Luke 1:79) even when I am unsure of the destination.

Last night I had the privilege of meeting with a handful of teenage boys (now there’s a phrase you don’t hear everyday) and our two new leaders of a ministry we are involved in called Armour Up.


Armour Up began as an idea with a few friends (you might recognize 2 of the 5 “blondes that walked into the plastic surgeon’s office”) on a walk one day a few years ago.  We dreamed of having a boys bible study that was energetic and fun, but also taught God’s word.  What started in my back yard in 2011 grew to over 600 kids and a full time ministry.  But the key is it didn’t start with 600 kids.  It started with a few and we adapted and trusted the Lord with every step as we grew.  Step by step, piece by piece.  And the lessons the Lord taught me in those years are coming in handy on this journey.  Step by step, piece by piece.


The AU CREW, leaders of Armour Up

The Armour Up ministry has been the conduit by which I have seen the Lord work the most in my life and the lives of my children.  I’ve watched Him weave people together in the most incredible ways.  I’ve experienced His faithfulness when I didn’t think things were possible.  It is the foundation to which I cling in moments of weakness or doubt.  And last night’s meeting was one more nod that God can do immeasurably more than we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

I won’t go into much detail (shocker), but seeing all of these boys who are growing into young men right before my eyes was good for my soul.  These high school boys (2 of mine included) are now stepping up to lead the younger generation of Armour Uppers.  This meeting renewed my hope that if we are obedient in the little things even when we don’t understand the master plan, He will inevitably make sense of the big things in time.  His time.  And those things will be even more spectacular than we could have ever dreamed.


At the end of this meeting, Chris & Josh had the boys pray over me.  And I was verklempt to say the least.


And just as I anticipate how the Lord will work during the summer of 2017 with Armour Up, I anticipate how the Lord will be working through my cancer story as well.  I will try not to get ahead of myself.  I will remember how sweet the journey is when I go step by step, piece by piece.  And with that, I am confident that “he who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion.” (Philippians 1:6)

I am literally scaring myself with verses that are popping into my head.  What is happening?!  My Baptist is definitely showing.  Feeling way too holy.  Might need to cuss.

Thank you for your continued prayers, calls, texts, letters, flowers, food, etc. etc. etc.  I feel so very loved.

Until next time…much love to you all & make every day count,


PS: In case I’m too loopy tomorrow, I want to wish my amazing husband, Trevor, a very happy anniversary.  He’s been a rock through this all, and is keeping us all in line despite our unwelcome life interruption.  I LOVE YOU SO MUCH and wouldn’t want to walk this road with anyone else.