A Shed Above the Rest

Round #2 of chemotherapy is complete, and I could not be more grateful!!  This means I am halfway through treatment and the expression below pretty much sums up how I feel about that.


Actually, that may have been the Ativan talking.  But you get the picture.

God has given me everything I need to be able to sustain this challenging journey (Philippians 4:19), and a huge part of that is your continued prayers.  Thank you so very much for your calls, texts, cards, comments, food, errand running, carpools, love, support and encouragement.  You literally are the conduit through which the Lord provides peace and endurance to me on a daily basis.  I hope you know that even if I don’t respond, I read every single thing that pops up on my phone.  Your words are life-giving.



Round two was similar to round one in that it sucked (sorry, mom, I know that’s not lady like).  The actual chemo portion is not bad at all – it’s mainly just the cold capping that bites the big one (to which I have to remind myself that I SIGNED UP FOR THAT).  To have a frozen head for 7-8 hours in one day is something I pray you all never have to experience.  Sandy, my cold capping angel, swaps out these frosty caps every 20-25 minutes for up to 8 hours on the day of treatment.  And every single time a new cap is placed upon my head, it stings/burns for approximately 2 minutes until my head freezes and goes numb.  Never have I ever related so much to a Disney character as I do to poor Elsa. #frozen


Oh how I wish I could LET IT GO.

Thankfully, my amazing gaggle of friends and family rallied around me again at the hospital and provided much needed comic relief and distraction throughout this process.    Molly, my dear friend from College Station (and the one who accompanied me to MD Anderson) drove in to hang with me for awhile which I greatly appreciated.


It’s so hard to explain how all of this works, so unless you are there in person I don’t feel like you really appreciate my complaining!!!  😉

My other sweet friends and family floated in and out throughout the day and brought new conversation and life to the ‘party’ each hour (steph and Jen I’m sorry we didn’t get a pic!).  What a blessing these people are in my life.



And then there are people like YOU.  The ones not pictured above, but bringing me meals or running my kids to and from school and practices.  The one leaving me precious gifts on my doorstep or sending heartfelt cards or texts.  It takes EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU to get me through this and I want you to know that you are just as appreciated even if you aren’t pictured!!!!!

The side effects of this round have been much better but also much different.  Sweet Dr. O’Shaughnessy had so much compassion for my horrendous bone pain last time that she allowed me to only receive 1/2 dose of the Neulasta this time around.  That has significantly decreased my bone pain and there has only been one night that it has awakened me thus far which is a HUGE improvement from last time.  Thank you Jesus!  I might actually feel like snuggling Trevor on the couch in a day or two.

Other side effects are numbness and tingling of my toes (neuropathy), weakness, insomnia (I NEVER EVER thought I’d be wide awake watching Mayweather and Mcgregor duke it out until 1am with no yawning like a boss), and hair loss.  Yes, my hair continues to fall out (again, still to be expected even with the crazy cold cap) every single minute of the day.  This, for some reason, has been the hardest on me.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m working so hard the day of chemo to prevent this and it doesn’t feel like it’s working, or if I’m just really vain and I didn’t know it!!!  I have to wear a hat everywhere, and fear that if the Royals saw me these days they might label me a “try hard”.FullSizeRender.jpg-3.jpeg


But I assure you I am not.  So please give me grace if you see me around in my fedora…I’m NOT trying to be fancy.  I’m just trying to conceal the nappiness that atops my head at present moment.  You are WELCOME.

And even though I make jokes about this in my blog, I am in tears as I type.  We reached an all time low this morning when, before church, my middle son announced that he had found my hair in his cinnamon rolls (SO GROSS).  He didn’t stop there, however.  He suggested I get a hairnet when making breakfast from now on.  And he wasn’t kidding.  I don’t know about you, but I think even Kate Middleton might have a hard time pulling this off.


The emotional toll (due in part to the physical toll) of cancer related things is brutal.  And today is one of those days.  I dare say that Golden Retrievers would even be jealous of my shedding.  Supposedly this slows down (please dear LORD), but please pray for me (and the cinnamon rolls) to tolerate this nasty side effect.

On a positive note, I felt good enough to participate in some school activities last week (pep rally, first day of school for my oldest, football scrimmage, meet the teacher, etc.).  I do not take those things for granted anymore and have a new appreciation for the privilege to be involved.  I have some great pics of these events, but my teenagers have put the kibosh on me posting pictures of them so I will refrain (for now at least).  (Don’t they know their mom posts pics of herself in a COLD CAP for crying out loud?!).

So now we wait.  In a few days, I will feel back to normal Lord willing and will have 2 good weeks of that.  My next treatment is September 12th, which happens to be a few days before my awesome husband’s birthday.  And I think I have the perfect gift for him.


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



Gearing Up for Chemo Round #2


I’ve joked a lot about how most of my significant cancer related events have fallen on or around a special occasion whether that be a birthday, anniversary or holiday.  If we count the much hyped solar eclipse that happened today (which I still can’t figure out if I thought it was cool or if I feel like a SUCH A SUCKER for purchasing the $12 eclipse glasses for approximately 10-20 seconds of viewing pleasure) as one of those, then the tradition continues.


Tomorrow (August 22) I will undergo round #2 of chemotherapy.  With the anniversary of Jen’s death earlier this month (thank you ALL for your sweet comments and texts), I didn’t feel up to writing about the side effects of round #1.  But I will tell you that it was not fun.  My oncologist told me that a possible side effect of the type of chemo I am undergoing is bone pain.  To which I thought in my head, ‘What is bone pain?!’.  Ladies and gentlemen, now I know.  It was truly excruciating and lasted for a good 5-7 days.  At one point, I considered going to the ER because I couldn’t get it under control (the disclaimer being I wasn’t willing to try narcotics because they make me nauseous).  But then I had a conversation with the nurse and she told me it was normal.  NORMAL. Super. (I say with complete and utter sarcasm.)  This bone pain is due to a shot they give me called ‘Neulasta‘.


It’s sole purpose is to have my bone marrow work overtime to create healthy white blood cells to fight off infection.  I kept telling myself that at least the shot must be working if I felt so badly.   That worked for about the first minute then I would start complaining again.  I was waiting for the moment when Trevor and I would cozy up on the couch and interlock arms like the couple above but it never happened.  And you know why?!  Cause these people are ACTORS and I can guarantee this lady never received an actual shot.  If she did, her man would be doing this instead:


Thankfully after chemo, I never got full out nauseated, but was conflicted all the time about whether food would settle my stomach or make everything worse.  I never figured that one out. And there were a few other expected side effects like fatigue, but it’s hard to tell if that’s chemo or just being in my 40’s and raising 3 kids in the dead of August.

A full week after treatment, I was definitely inching my way closer to MY normal and feeling great. I exercised, got some house chores done that I’d put off for months, grocery shopped and watched two of my boys scrimmage in football.  But these last few days, I have started losing my hair.  This is to be expected – even with cold capping – but it is still very unsettling.  The hardest part is that it’s a visual reminder of what I’m dealing with even though I’ve felt so good the past 2 weeks.  Ugh.  Please pray for me to be patient with this aspect.  With a mastectomy, I’ve already had to cross an emotional hurdle and in some ways this feels like another one.  I REALLY like being a girl but feel like some parts of that are being stripped away during this process.  I guess the good news is that in this day and age I can use any bathroom I please regardless of my physical appearance.

Today, I went for another inflation.  The reason being that the days immediately preceding chemo is when I’m at my healthiest and at the least risk of infection.  My friend Jenny drove Stephanie and I to Dr. Potter’s office this morning and boy, were my sweet friends in for a big surprise.  As we say in Texas, bless their hearts.  This process is not for the faint of heart, as mentioned in previous blog posts, but they handled it like champs.

FullSizeRender.jpg-4.jpeg And I’m just gonna say, what happens in Dr. Potter’s office, stays in Dr. Potter’s office.

Lastly, for the record, I noticed a crazy spot on my leg yesterday and then today realized it had changed in color.  I went to the dermatologist to be safe and they decided to take a biopsy because of the way it looked.  I should know those results in about 7 business days.  If ever I felt vibrant, feminine and healthy, this is NOT the time.  The Lord is working on patience in my life and on trusting Him at every turn.

So tomorrow, I start the cycle all over again.  I know this is THE place to ask for your prayers.  I felt them last time and am looking forward to having them carry me through again this go round.  It will be a long day and I’m grateful for a team of friends and family who are rallying around me and keeping me company.  I loved receiving all of your texts and comments last time and appreciate your encouragement more than you know.

And to my precious cancer friends, Lezley and Alyson, who have been through this, thank you for your thoughtful gifts today!!!  I could not do this without you!

IMG_6934.JPG.jpegIMG_6938.JPG.jpegUntil next time…much love to you all & make every day count,


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

PS: Is it sad that this makes me feel like I didn’t waste $12?  #totallyworthit #sorrydodger






A Life That Saved Mine

One year ago today, I lost a huge piece of my heart.  My friend, Jennifer Clouse, went to be with our Lord and Savior after a long battle with breast cancer on the morning of August 9, 2016.




I met Jennifer in the 6th grade at First Baptist Academy and we remained thick as thieves for 33 years.  Even as I write that, I feel like it was more like 80 years.  The depth of our friendship truly encompassed real, raw, unedited versions of our selves.  She knew everything about me, and I knew everything about her.  Jen was loud and boisterous and a BLAST to be around.  There was never a dull moment in her presence.  She could make me laugh so hard that it would take me hours to recover.  And even up until her final days, she could shock me with her unfiltered commentary.  Jen and I had the type of friendship that resembled sisters, in that we didn’t have to pretend to be nice when we didn’t feel like it.  We were completely comfortable sharing our opinions with one another even if they were at odds.  The beautiful thing about that, however, was that we ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, knew that our love for each other was unconditional.  We were tender with one another’s emotions and fiercely protected each other when hurt came our way.  We laughed and cried so much together on our journey that I think those emotions eventually melded into one.  Last July (18th to be exact), my friends Amy, Angela and I celebrated Amy’s birthday with Jen in the hospital.  (We have all been friends since junior high.)  It was one of the last times that Jen was really Jen.  We visited for 2 hours and had the best time, which was not unusual for us.


Shortly after this, Jen slowed down quite a bit and became very lethargic.  I had one or two more good conversations with her after this day, but this one is the one that is permanently imprinted on my heart.

It seemed only fitting that one of her last best days was spent surrounded by the peeps that had been there since the days of overindulgent hair spray and hideously bad bangs.


I’m so thankful for the memories we made along the way, and cherish every single one.

Because of Jen’s journey, lives are being changed.  Not only spiritually (that’s another post for another time), but also physically.  After Jen died, I became extremely diligent about self breast exams.  Something I had never done in the past.  And when I found a lump in April 2017, I didn’t sit around wondering if I should or shouldn’t go see a doctor.  I went immediately, knowing what a cruel and unpredictable enemy we might be dealing with.  Sure enough, I was diagnosed shortly afterwards with breast cancer.  And since my diagnosis, at least two other women I know were prompted to have mammograms and have since been diagnosed.  I feel that because of Jennifer and her story, my cancer was found early and I will most likely live a long and normal life.  As will these other brave women.  It may be a leap to you, but I know that the dynamic and enthusiastic girl I met when I was just eleven years old not only saved my life, but the lives of so many others as well.

So many of you have been tenderhearted enough to grasp the surreal nature of this experience, and you ask how I am doing.  Honestly, I can’t help but question what the Lord’s plan is for all of this.  I can’t wrap my brain around it.  Since February 2012 when Jen was originally diagnosed, I have walked this cancer journey with her.   That’s five long years for those of you who are not good at math.  I’m tired of doctor’s visits.  I’m really not equipped to endure these awful side effects of chemo.  And I don’t understand why, so soon on the heels of Jennifer’s death, I still have a daily reminder of how vicious cancer can be.

Thankfully, however, I know the Lord.  And while I may be baffled by my own life’s circumstances, I do rest in the fact that He is faithful (2 Thessalonians 3:3).  He sees infinitely more than I could ever see (Isaiah 55:8).  He calls me to trust in Him and not in my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).  He already knows how this story will bring HIM glory (I Corinthians 10:31), and I’m confident in His ways despite my endless confusion.

My friend, Catherine, sent me this verse the other day and I felt like it conveyed all that I am feeling.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but NOT CRUSHED; perplexed, but NOT IN DESPAIR; persecuted, but NOT ABANDONED; struck down, but NOT DESTROYED.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the LIFE of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”  2 Corinthians 4:7-10


These are not only powerful words, but they are the TRUTH.  Jennifer knew it and preached it all the time.  And now it is my turn to rely on that truth amidst these crazy circumstances.

I miss my friend every single day.  I’m sad that she’s not here to cheer me on and lift me up with her bald bitmoji she would so frequently text.


I wish so badly I could let her know that now I ‘get’ so many of the things she said and did over the last few years.  I have such a newfound respect for everything she endured now that I’m the one sitting in the chemo chair.  In short, my cancer journey has only made me appreciate even more what I believed to be true about Jen – she was a strong, vibrant, tough, sensitive, passionate soul.  And I’m thankful for the promise that I will get to see her in heaven again one day.  What a glorious reunion that will be.


So TODAY I celebrate the life of a girl well lived.  A life punctuated by all things Jesus.  And a life that saved mine.

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

Jamie (aka B)

How Great Thou Art 

“We grieve, but not in the same way as those who have no hope…” I Thessalonians 4:13


Ice, Ice Baby

Well, I completed my first round of chemo yesterday and it went a lot better than I expected.   Thank you so much for all of your prayers, calls, texts, etc.  It brings such a sense of comfort to know so many people are thinking of me during such a crucial and scary time.

As I mentioned yesterday, Kim flew in from Boston to be with me for my first treatment and I could not be more grateful.  Kim has FOUR boys at home, and we can all appreciate how difficult it is to leave your kids during the summer to spend a few days away from home.  A big shout out to her husband, Bob, for holding down the fort (and for sending us JD’s Chippery cookies!), as well as Kim’s friends (hey Jenn!) in Boston for carrying her load so she can carry mine.  I’m so grateful for my friends.


My posse also included Trevor, my mom & sisters, Amy & Angela, Casey, Courtney, Stephanie and sweet Jane.  Overkill?!  YOU BET.  And I loved every minute of it.






We arrived at the hospital around 10:30am where I immediately went to get my blood drawn and saw Freda, Dr. O’ Shaughnessy’s physician’s assistant.  We also had the bonus of seeing Jen‘s nurse, Christina, and her oncologist, Dr. Osborne.  They came out to the waiting room for a visit, which was bittersweet at best.  Lots of tears ensued, but thankfully we had our JD’s Chippery cookies to dry us up.


None of this process has been easy emotionally given the constant reminders from Jen’s days at Baylor.  But there is a sweetness to it all in the way that it almost feels like she’s there with us in spirit, as we sit in all the same chairs, say hi to all the same nurses, and laugh at all the same jokes.  Oh how we miss our Jen.

After the blood draw and doctor’s visit, I went down to floor 3 to sign in for chemo.  We were met there by Sandy from Chemo Cold Caps.  Sandy is what I like to call my “cap concierge”.  She was an angel and got every ready for me as soon as I arrived.  Sandy is a cancer survivor and had actually been a customer of CCC prior to being hired by them.  She has the most beautiful long blonde healthy hair now and served as a great motivator for me throughout the day to keep that stinking cap on!


As soon as I was called back, Sandy began to work her magic and put the first cap on when I sat down in my chemo chair.  She put on a clear shower cap first, then the actual cold cap, then this HUGE silver lame insulated chef hat on top of all of that.  It was just as attractive and comfortable as it sounds.


And no, you aren’t the first person to reference the character, Toad, on Mario Kart as my doppelgänger.


Now to appreciate just how cold this sucker was, this is how the caps were packed in dry ice before being placed on my head.

IMG_6685.JPG.jpegThis picture was taken before we actually filled the remaining void spaces with dry ice pellets and added the second rack of caps numbers 4, 5 & 6.


I kept thinking this song would come on every single time we opened that cooler…


To which I would reply, ‘Too Cold, Too Cold’.

To add insult to injury, the nurse suggested that I also put my fingers and toes in ice while I was given the drug, Taxotere, to combat the possibility of neuropathy.  It was all I could do to not bust out with ‘Cool it Now-ow’, New Edition style (thanks for the GIF, Chris Bone!).  Seriously????? More ice?


Thank goodness I only had to do that part for an hour.  The caps, however, lasted from 1pm until 9pm – getting swapped out every 15-25 minutes.  Sandy mentioned that the first 2-3 minutes of the cap were the worst.  Naively, I thought she meant just the first cap.  But, alas, it was the first 2-3 minutes of EVERY SINGLE CAP.  20 of them.  Nice.  It was only through YOUR prayers that I made it through.  Thank you so much!!!!

Today, I’m not feeling so great and honestly I feel like a wimp.  I thought I’d at least make it to day 3 or 4 before feeling crummy.  I guess you could say I’m an overachiever.  But I was happy when Courtney texted me this morning and asked if she could take me up to the hospital to see Stephanie before her surgery.  I knew I couldn’t drive myself because of the drugs I’m on, so this was a treat for sure.


Steph is now out of surgery and we are praising the Lord it was a success!!  I envision that by Friday we will be having a pajama party and watching movies all day together.  The perks of having a cancer buddy.

To express my gratitude to all of you in words seem impossible.  The best way I know how is to say thanks for being so ‘Nice, Nice, Baby’.  You have shown me love that I’ve never experienced before, and I pray that I will be able to pay that forward someday.  The Lord is GOOD even in the midst of difficulty, sorrow, confusion, pain and sadness.  I have experienced it first hand and hope that through this blog you might be able to as well.

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


PS: A HUGE thank you to Kathy for keeping Hayes this week, Catherine, Laura, Erin, and Courtney for getting Hunter to and from Drivers Ed, and Casey and Michelle for making sure Hudson gets to his 2 a days for football.  I’m SO SO SO grateful for all of your help!!!

“Give Praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.”  Psalm 105:1