I’m feeling well and almost done with radiation.
I have just one more week, and I am now doing the “boost” part of my treatment — they are narrowing the focus of the radiation to just the site of the mass (the past 5 weeks they radiated my whole right breast).
I have been experiencing a few side effects, but they are almost nothing compared to chemotherapy.  I have a slight “sunburn” on the area they have radiated, and I have been a little more tired — the last few treatments I have taken a nap in the car on the way home.  The only other side effects I’m feeling are the hot flashes that are common with tomoxifen.
Hard to believe there are just 6 more days of treatment!
Once that’s done, I continue the tomoxifen for 5 years and have checkups every so often.
It’ll be nice to be an “official” survivor!  🙂

I went back to work this past week — part of why it has taken me so long to finally write this update!
There were meetings and work days, and then finally on Thursday the students showed up.  I was a little anxious because I’ve been out of teaching for 8 months.  I wasn’t sure if I had forgotten how to manage the classroom, I was nervous about having students who are discipline problems, I wasn’t sure if I’d have the energy to do a whole day.  Well, the Lord is gracious.  He helped me to be confident and passionate, and so far the students seem willing and positive.  I was tired the first day (I never seem to sleep well the night before the first day back), but I slept very well the second night and felt pretty energetic the following day.  I have been working until 3 and then leaving at 4 to go to radiation which is at 5.
It makes for a long day… but it’s almost over!!

The first day I told the students a little about myself, and included the cancer journey.
One of the classes even clapped a little for me.  Ha!  It was cool to see them respond that way to cancer survival.  It was a reminder of how seriously everyone takes the disease.  I guess I sometimes forget about how other people perceive cancer.
I also saw this in the responses of my colleagues to my return.  I was received with such warmth and encouragement — it was overwhelming yet again.  So often I think we forget to verbalize how we care for and appreciate the people around us.  Well, this was an opportunity for me to hear how people felt about me at work… so touching and humbling.  There were several people who expressed how glad they were that I was back.  Made me feel loved!  God is good. |
Additionally, I received several notes and texts from friends on the first day, wishing me a good day, telling me they were praying for me, asking me how it went.  People are kind.
I’m thankful to have people in my life who have reached out and who have lifted me up in prayer.

Eric and I have enjoyed spending time together — I’m grateful that he has wanted to continue driving me to radiation each day.
This past few weeks we listened to “Joy at Work” on CD.  It was very inspirational as he and I were preparing to start back at work.
We also took advantage of having to be in LA each day by going out to dinner a few times, going to a few movies, visiting some friends in Hollywood, driving around exploring, and doing a little shopping.
Aside from going down to treatments, we have also had a chance to spend some time with family.  We’ve spent some time with my dad, Eric’s sisters, and Eric’s brother’s family.  When Eric’s nephew saw me with my new hairdo, he said, “You look like Uncle Eric.”  HA HA!!  Funny and quotable.  🙂
I’ve also had a chance to hang out with some friends here and there — enjoyed Holly W’s birthday over Indian food, dinner with Melyndee B, school planning time and conversation with Megan P, lunch with Sarah and Chris B, lunch with Alison H and Maura B, time at church with the worship team, and lots of just fun, casual conversation in the kitchen with Sarah Jane (and Jake). 🙂
I’ve also enjoyed connecting over the phone, email and Facebook with some of my good friends and family — you know who you are!  🙂  Yes, I guess I’ve been pretty busy!

-I’ve now officially read through the whole Bible!  I’m stoked!  But I still have more to go to get through my whole Bible-in-a-year — parts I have read before, but it’s been a while!  So I recently finished Job and am now in Ecclesiastes.  They are great books.  Through Job I thought a lot about a man’s perception of God, and God’s right to do anything He pleases.  Job questions God because he feels like his afflictions are unfair.  Looking back at the cancer journey, I am glad I mostly had the perspective that God was just and good, despite cancer.  Although I must confess, there are other times when I am more like Job, feeling self-pity or lacking thankfulness to God for the things He allows in my life.  Truly, everything in the life of a believer is a gift from God.  Some of His gifts don’t seem so good at the time, but they are good because they all have a purpose and all work out for good.  I have been thinking about thankfulness and God’s gifts quite a bit.  I want to receive all of God’s gifts with thankfulness and faith.  I have already tasted and seen that God is good and can be fully trusted, so I want to keep that in mind and respond in worship and humble gratefulness.

-I have also been reading Ecclesiastes, which has been a reminder of that which is worthwhile and that which is futile.  The “teacher” who writes the book speaks about a man’s lot in life — he explores the difficulties and hurts of life, but he also concedes that there is satisfaction in the simple pleasures of life — food, drink, work.  Reading this book makes me feel small and makes my life’s labor seem less significant.
I’m thankful the Lord gives purpose and meaning to our labor, and that every part of my life can be a sacred offering if I have an attitude of worship.

-I had the chance again today to converse with my father about the gospel.  Though I mostly feel like it is a pointless pursuit (in that he seems completely uninterested in the gospel — but I know the Lord can change his heart because nothing is impossible with God), it has been humbling for me to meditate on the wonder of the mercy of God.  My dad is still holding on to a works mentality, that he can pay for his own sins or be good enough for God’s favor in his own strength.   Though it makes me very sad to see him reject Christ, it makes me so grateful that God has made a way for me to have a relationship with Him through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.  I am so, so glad God will receive me on Christ’s merits, because I cannot stand before Him on my own merits.  It’s the greatest message there is. I quoted a lot of scripture to my dad today — if you would like, please pray for my dad’s conscience to be stirred by the truth of the gospel.

-Besides salvation for my dad…
-Physically and mentally I covet your prayers for me this coming week as I will be working and going to radiation for 5 days in a row.
-Please pray for wisdom for me as well as I am establishing authority and rapport in the classroom — I want to do excellently with teaching as a good and faithful servant of the Master, and I want to be a godly example to my students for the sake of the gospel.
-Spiritually, please pray for me to be humble and to rely on the Lord, and that I would be thankful for all of God’s gifts in my life!

THANKS for reading and praying!
I’m so thankful for you!




(this is a note that went out to everyone in the FaceBook Group, ‘Don’t Waste Jennene’s Cancer’)

Hey Team DWJC!
Hope your summers are wrapping up nicely and that you accomplished great things!

Jennene’s summer has ended and, as I type this, she is back in the classroom, cancer free, giving her first lecture to her high school students!  Amazing!

Amazing to watch her journey come ALMOST full circle…
-December 2008 was diagnosed with breast cancer
-December 2008 started chemotherapy
-May 2009-Lumpectamy 1 & 2
-July 2009 Started Radiation
-August 2009 Started teaching again and a few more radiation treatments left!

An amazing testimony of God’s care and mercy!

-Please pray for her today as she has a full work day (in a draining job) and that she can finish up her radiation with strength and grace.  Still not wasting a moment of it!!!
-Also, feel free to comment to her… the encouragement has been so important and powerful this last 8 months!!!!

Thank you again for your continued love, support, prayers, gifts, sacrifices, kindnesses, notes, etc!!!!!!

grace & peace
-DWJC staff


I am officially half-way done with radiation, and so far it hasn’t been too bad at all. The commute takes some time, and I have been waking up a bit later and falling asleep a little earlier, but besides all that, it is going swimmingly. I have 3 more weeks and then I can officially call myself a survivor.
Eric and I checked out books on tape at the library, so that has been a cool way to spend the commute time. We just finished Slaughterhouse 5. We’re glad we heard it, but it’s not too uplifting. Very modern and humanist and life-is-meaningless type literature. But it was fun to discuss it w/ Eric afterwards. Who knows what we will check out next! We go back to the library tomorrow.

My hair is slowly growing back, and I can now wear mascara again. That’s pretty exciting. I do get stares from time to time due to my very short “haircut,” but I’m looking more and more female each day. 🙂 I’ve even gotten a few compliments on my hair (gasp). I appreciate the kind people who compliment me, but I am certainly looking forward to having a bit more of it. But I’m thankful now to be able to go out and about without hats or wigs.

– I’ve continued to spend time each day in the yard… It’s hard work and hot out there!! But I’m happy to see the progress I’m making. Some day I may even look around and think, “This looks nice.”
– I have started planning for school. I have an outline of the semester and some great ideas. Now I have just one more week of free time to get more organized. I have avoided going to the classroom, but it’s time. I’m excited and filled with some dread all at the same time. That is a prayer request — that I may have more excitement and gratefulness and less dread. It’s been quite a while since I’ve done my job, so there are many transitions to get used to — getting up earlier, dressing professionally, talking much of the day, managing and running my classes, planning and grading — there is a lot that I haven’t done in 8 months… Pray that I get good kids! Well, the Lord knows and has a plan.
– We’ve enjoyed spending time with our friends the Dennises — saw a very good documentary about Darfur called The Devil Came on Horseback. Intense and moving. We had good conversation also with them — Esther and I talked a lot about how to live by the Spirit, relying on grace. Hard to do… I’m still trying to grasp how to do it as a regular practice, but it is so worth pursuing.
– We had a fun date night in Encino. Ate Cuban food and went to an art house movie in French w/ subtitles — Lorna’s silence. The main character comes around to her conscience in valuing and protecting human life by sacrificing her own dreams. Very sad. Afterwards we talked about the movie over dessert at Jerry’s Famous Deli. It was nice to have some varied activities outside of the SCV.
– We started reading Adopted for Life — A point made in the book so far is that all Christians are adopted, so the concept of adoption should not be so unusual and foreign for us… it should be something we think about a lot.
– We had dinner w/ Siona and got caught up on what’s going on in his life. He’s been a cool friend and support to us.
– We took a few walks around the neighborhood. I feel pretty strong and normal.

I’ve been reading through the Bible in a Year, which has been such a wealth of encouragement and wisdom. I’m currently reading Job and it has been good to consider this book at this time in life. I haven’t lost all the things around me as Job did, but I can relate a little to some of his struggle. Today’s sermon on Psalm 11 tied in perfectly, and it asks at one point, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” I felt like some of my “foundations” were destroyed. Things I trusted in or had my heart set on. I trusted in my routine, I trusted in my health, I trusted in our plan to have children. These false foundations were destroyed and it was pretty unnerving for me.

Job’s “foundations” also, of family, health, and wealth were all destroyed. Even his friends and wife were not able to comfort him. But, Job affirms over and over that both good and bad things come from the hand of the Lord, and he continues to look to God as the sovereign One in control over all our circumstances. I’m glad Job expresses his emotion, though. He is a real person who feels great distress and calls upon God over and over throughout the book for relief. I am glad this book is in the Bible. I have felt great loss as some of the things I hoped in were taken away, but I see it as the hand of God removing them. He is always there reminding me that He is my foundation, a place for me to stand and the hope for me to trust in for my life.
He oversees the worst difficulties we face, and not without care and feeling.

I am glad I have had this brush with death in my diagnosis of cancer. I was never right at death’s door, but the reality of death seemed more real to me than usual. And now when I spend time with my dad who is so interested in prolonging his life through medicines and vitamins and alternative therapies, I wonder why. Why would he hold on to life so much and love this world so much to stay in it longer? The best things in this life that I have enjoyed and tasted have been just shadows and “seeing through a glass darkly.” In my heart I know there is so much more offered by the Lord than what is offered by this world, by what is enjoyed materially. Maybe we all know that deep down and that is why we humans are always searching for more. Strange how I know the source of the true “abundant life” but I still often choose other paths that look promising. I pray that all of you reading this may know and pursue the true source of abundant life, and consider the brevity of life and pointlessness of life without the Lord.



Two weeks of radiation down! Only 4 weeks to go!
I still feel fine and haven’t noticed any ill effects.
On Friday I had a meeting with a doctor to assess my progress and see if I had any skin problems, but it was a short meeting since I don’t have any yet. The doctor said that was normal, but that I might have more redness or irritation later in the process. She encouraged me to start using aloe vera gel on the area just to keep it moisturized, but not right before treatment.
I will have morning radiation for 2 more weeks, and then I will start back to work and switch to afternoon radiation for my last two weeks. Then I’ll be done! 🙂

1. My mom was here until Friday helping us with projects in the yard — we got a lot done!
We moved the fence and fixed some sprinklers and did several other improvements, so it is much nicer outside and a little safer for kids. My time this week was mostly taken up with these projects and with spending time with mom, but I did enjoy a short trip to the local farmer’s market with Meg Powell.
I’ve been enjoying cooking and healthy eating a lot these days and hope I can continue to make time for that when I’m back at work.  My goal is to keep balance in my life so that my work does not take over the whole day — I want to be able to keep up with other activities, relationships, obligations, etc.
This is something I’m not very good at, so I would covet your prayers.

2.  Also, I had a good time selling some items at Nadine’s garage sale yesterday — several of our friends were there selling items too, so it was a fun group, and I sold everything I brought except for 3 beanies and a pair of socks. It is nice to see a little more space around the house, and I always enjoy the price negotiations at garage sales.

3. Lastly, we spent a little bit of time with my dad — he has been hankering to use Rosetta Stone to learn Chinese, so we finally managed to get him up and running to use it. He and I also had some interesting conversations about UFO’s — he thinks they are a technologically advanced race, while I feel they are products of spiritual deception.  It is always a challenge to dialogue with my dad about these things because of our different world views, but I am thankful that I have been learning about apologetics without anger in these situations in the last few years. Though my dad refuses to be convinced of the Biblical world view, I have been more and more capable of defending the truth while avoiding getting upset. I think Eric has been instrumental in this because he is very interested in apologetics and exposes me to a lot of the resources he comes across.

Today we picked up my dad for lunch, and on the way I realized that I was not wearing a wig and that dad would most likely notice that I had a new, short “haircut.” Well, I figured I might as well let him know what has been going on with me, and better that than wear a wig in this heat! So when he came to the car and noticed my hair, I let him know that I had finished chemo for breast cancer. He wasn’t thrilled that I had chosen traditional medicine, and he had several alternative treatments to share with me, but he wasn’t upset and was glad that what I had done had worked.
So I’m sure that I will now hear about the various things that he comes across that cure cancer… in case any of you want to know about those. 🙂 But I’m thankful that he now knows about my situation.



One week of radiation down!
So far I am doing very well with it, and it has been easy.
I know it could get harder as the tiredness may build up, but I am thankful for how well I am feeling.
I will have 3 more weeks of morning radiation, and then I will start back to work and have afternoon radiation (after work) for 2 weeks.
Fortunately the first week back at work is very low key — meetings and work days until Wednesday, and then 2 days of teaching before the weekend. Also, students are usually very well behaved in the first two weeks of school, so I am praying all of these things will factor into a transition that is not too hard.

I have been more tired in the morning and have been sleeping later, perhaps effects of the radiation or perhaps Eric and I have been staying up later? But I still feel I’m a 9.9/10.

Lately I have enjoyed ramping up my activity level.
My mom is in town again and I have been trying to help her with doing projects around the house — for me that is mostly painting and light helping in the yard.
This past week I enjoyed many activities with my church body — I helped Eric with sound and PowerPoint for our church’s VBS, I went on a movie outing with the worship team (saw Food, Inc.), I volunteered with the worship team ladies at the Women Discipling Women conference, and I went to Adam and Megan P’s shared birthday party with the worship team.
Looking back on it, it seems like I’ve been busy, but I haven’t felt too tired or anything.
I’m hoping that these activities will prepare me for the daily demands of teaching. So far I am encouraged with my stamina.
Thank you all for your prayers for my continued health!

* I learned a lot about RUNNING SOUND and even did a little on my own — I have a new understanding and respect for the guys who minister in the soundbooth.
There are times when it looks easy, but they have to do many things at once that we barely notice, unless, of course, they make a make a mistake or have technical difficulties!
It is one of those “thankless” ministries, so if you have a sound crew at church that you haven’t thanked recently, let me encourage you to do so. 🙂

* FOOD, INC. was a fun night.
I enjoyed especially the concept of the debrief after the film.
It is, naturally, a controversial documentary that led to interesting discussion and different points of view that were fun to share and hear. It was good to be around the worship team also because it’s been a while since I have spent time with all of them. I am looking forward to eventually rehearsing and singing again with them. I’m thankful for how God has shown me how much I often have taken it for granted — it’s been good to “take a break” from it so that I can appreciate being a part of it so much more.

I met several neat ladies and also got to know a little better some of the ladies from church, like Lynn Greenfield and Kyndra McCrary. Kyndra and I volunteered together in one of the breakout seminars on imitating Christ in our emotions, which led to a great debrief with she and I afterwards. It was cool to hear some of the things going on in her life and hear her talk about the Biblical truths from the seminar that applied to her situation. I loved the fellowship and mutual encouragement of that debrief time!
I was also struck overall by how the gospel is truly a lifelong part of our lives — that we are always to come to the Lord totally dependent on His grace to live our lives. I always appreciate the Biblical counseling angle of seeing the gospel and the Word of God as totally sufficient for our lives! It was a great day of reminders.

* I got another opportunity to spend time with CHURCH FRIENDS at the Powell’s birthday — it was a nice night of sitting outside, eating yummy food and sitting around talking and laughing. I was surrounded by fun, funny people that I am thankful for. I hope I can continue to feel the gratitude even when I am back in the regular day to day schedule of things.



Update 7/15/09

Thank you all again for your kind words and prayer.
Radiation is going along smoothly!

I have had 2 treatments, and they are really quite a breeze so far.
– Eric and I drive down to Hollywood, about a 30 minute drive, park in the garage, check in, then wait in a waiting room with lots of other people.
-Over the loudspeaker I hear my name and the room to which I am to report, so I head down the hall to the mini dressing rooms and put on a gown.
-Then I stand awkwardly at the door of the therapy room until the therapist comes to get me.
-I head in and lay on the treatment bed with my arms over my head in “stirrups” and de-robe slightly.
-They make sure my pin-prick sized tattoos are aligned to the green lasers coming from the ceiling, and then press on a remote control to move a large machine around me. They stop it above me to my left and then leave the room.
-There is a buzz sound and light indicating that xrays are happening (like at the dentist), and after about 30 seconds they come back in and move the machine below me slightly to my right and leave again. Buzzing and light. They come back in and move my “bed” down and then it’s over.
-The therapy part is really as fast as getting 2 or 3 xrays from the dentist. Pretty amazing. I feel like I’m experiencing medicine from the Jetsons because I feel nothing and it’s just lasers and whatnot. 🙂
-Then I change back into street clothes and leave with Eric.
-30 minutes back home and the day is done.
-The whole thing takes about 1 1/2 hours.

Thanks for your prayers about school planning! I still need it!
-But I’ve started and I’m excited about the upcoming semester!
-I got my schedule and it is exactly what I wanted! Praise God! I will teach 9th grade Reading, 10th grade AVID, and 10th grade English. I would love your prayers for wisdom and efficiency in preparing units and lessons that will help me keep a balanced and more simple life.

Today I listened to a great message by RC Sproul — from “Themes from James: Grace to the Humble” — 6/26/09 Renewing Your Mind Podcast (available free on Itunes! Check it out! 30 well-spent minutes!)
-Why do we have conflicts and disputes? Often it is because of envy — wanting something that we do not have, believing it will make us happy. We do not have because we do not ask, or we ask amiss, wanting to spend it on our own fleshly desires.
-What must we do? Realize that God’s grace is sufficient for us, and He gives grace to the humble but resists the proud. We must come before Him remembering what we are — servants who have received everything from His hand anyway. Do we go before Him demanding from Him what we want? What arrogance! Do we go trying to persuade Him as if he needed our counsel? As if we know a better way than He to provide for us? No, we go to Him thankful for the abundant grace He has already provided, and ask of him in humility. He gives grace to the humble but He resists the proud.
-Sproul’s practical “assignment” — I’m going to do it, maybe you can too!
List 10 things you want the most out of the rest of your life.
Look at that list and say, “why do I want these things? are these the things that really matter? are these the things that will make me truly happy and will truly fulfill me as a creature made in the image of God? are these the things that I could walk into the presence of God without embarrassment and without shame say to God, “God, will You please give me these 10 things?”
See if you can find a mirror of your own soul in this list, and then get on your knees and say, “God, give me humility that I may enjoy Your grace.”

One of the things on my list:
1. I really want to be a mother... I would love to partner with Eric to parent children the Lord brings to us, either naturally or through adoption. I would love to be able to parent children from a less “fortunate” situation, be it from a depressed area like Uganda or Ethiopia or Haiti or….?, or perhaps children from the foster system.
When thinking about this first desire, I realize that I am not always thankful for the grace God has given me now. I am able NOW to partner with Eric in teaching and encouraging people around me that God has brought into our path — people who may already know the Lord but that I can still encourage them to live before the face of God.
As well, I also have a myriad of people around me who do not really know or love God that I can do all in my power to try to lead them to His throne as one beggar bringing another to the treasure she found.
These “mothering” instincts can be poured out on any with whom the Lord has already surrounded me. Meanwhile, I can still petition the Lord in faith for my original request, while trusting that His grace is truly sufficient for me! And I can pursue the humility of contentment — being thankful for the grace that He has already ridiculously lavished on me.
Hope ya’ll can also find contentment, peace, joy, and thankfulness in the grace you’ve been given today!! 🙂
God bless.



Hello friends!

Thank you all for praying for me (and Eric) about preparing for school in the fall — I have only 4 weeks left of summer!  Ah, where does the time go…

On Saturday I had my radiation xrays and tattoos done.
They are just 4 small pinprick-size tattoos, and it hurt a little but wasn’t too bad.  There were lots of red lasers on me, I guess to help them align me each time.  The room I was in was pretty cool — it reminded me of a spa because the ceiling was natural wood, the lights were low, there were back-lit nature images to look at, and they were playing “relaxing” classical music the whole time.  Kind of cool, but kind of funny!
It wasn’t as comfy as it sounds, simply because I had to lay still with my head slightly turned and my arms up over my head and no adjusting my position for about 45 solid minutes.
Fortunately, radiation therapy sessions are only 12 minutes each time, so that won’t be as difficult a time to stay still.

-We’ve seen lots of movies lately, and pretty interesting ones.
We’ve seen Departures, a Japanese movie about ceremonies for the deceased;
Il Postino, about poetry, romance and communist ideas;
Baghban, a Bollywood film about respect for elders and authority and the lack of it;
The Station Agent, about the human need for community;
The Killing Fields, about a friendship during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia; and
Away We Go (can’t recommend wholly — it was good, but if you go, miss the first 5 minutes), a movie about the search for home and for what is the best way to live and parent — there was definitely a lack of clear hope and clear destination for the main characters, which reminds me of the shortcomings of this world’s system.
Eric and I (and friends) had many good conversations about these films, which is what I love about good art — when it inspires thought and dialogue.

-We also have enjoyed dessert with Esther & Rick Dennis and dinner with Meg and Adam Powell — cool times of fellowship and delicious food!

-Eric has been running a lot; he ran a half marathon on Saturday and has been incrementally working up to it.  Obviously he is tired today, but he is doing really well with all the physical activity.  He has inspired me greatly to work back to fitness myself.  I may start walking with Sarah Jane regularly.
Who knows, maybe in a year I’ll be running alongside Eric in these distance runs.  🙂

Our AC is working a bit better — there’s some water damage that we might have fixed and some other minor construction that might be going on at our house.  Fortunately, I don’t mind that kind of thing.  I rather like seeing improvements happen to my living spaces — it excites me. 🙂

-Ezra & Nehemiah: God makes a way for his servants to accomplish His will.  It won’t be perfectly smooth and there will often be opposition, but God’s hand and blessing will be with His servants
-I Cor. on marriage — a husband and wife belong to each other; unbelieving spouses can be saved through the behavior/testimony of their spouses
-Psalms on getting help and mercy from God; and assorted Proverbs
-Church – the importance and testimony when believers submit to the authority of their employers — working hard, being trustworthy, showing respect, not stealing, submitting, not complaining or arguing; these things make the doctrine of God attractive!  So true.  It was good to have a message on this as I am about to prepare my teaching units for the fall — it is a good reminder to work excellently for the Lord and to consider my work and attitude as a testimony to all around me.

Thanks again for your prayers and encouragement!  🙂
I’m a 9.9/10!!