LAUGH! for a great cause


Don’t miss this event!  It benefits Komen Charlotte, one of our staunchest supporters, not to mention breast cancer survivors in our area, and is such a fun night!  The 2014 class of Pink Tie Guys will be revealed!  And don’t forget our own Joe Pagani and GoJenGo board member, Park Williams, are Pink Tie Guy alums and VIPs! You will see lots of GoJenGo-ers there!  Buy tickets TODAY: www.carolinatix.org

 

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Your Guide to RunJenRun!


 

Well, it’s official!  The holidaysare over.  The kids are finally back in school and everyone else made it back into the office today.  And we all know what that means, right?  It’s time to get back into shape and burn off all those holiday calories!

And we have just the tool to motivate you!  Right now is the perfect time to sign up for the RunJenRun 5K on March 1.  You have about eight weeks until the race — the perfect amount of time to train for a 5K if you haven’t run in a while…or have never run at all!

We recommend training plans like the “Couch to 5K” program (click HERE to get the program) because it eases you into running gradually,  using the run/walk method.  Training this way helps you avoid the lung-searing, injury-inducing sessions that people so often experience when they decide it’s time to start running (and then start out too fast).  Instead, you’ll move confidently from walking to running, building a gradual mileage base and making strong progress.

So make your commitment today!  Sign up HERE and then start with a good 5K training plan.  We can’t wait to watch you cross that finish line on March 1!

Christmas Eve and Christmas were beautiful, happy days.


  The boys had a blast and Santa actually did come (Luca was semi- convinced he was getting coal, right up until the last minute).  It was so good to be surrounded by family and to be pampered as the celebrations whirled around me bundled up in my chair.

Post Christmas has been a bit of a challenge.  To keep the story from getting too long, I am currently not getting any chemo.  Focus has instead switched to managing my breathing issues, widespread/diffuse edema and pain.  Friday I had about 1 litre of fluid drained from my right lung.  It has made a huge difference in my ability to breathe while at rest.  I am still struggling to breathe while up and around (though I am up and around VERY little) which is due to the diffuse edema that still present in both lungs (can’t mechanically drain this type of fluid, but I’ve been on diuretics to see if I can, in layman’s terms, pee it off”).  Gary thinks it would be a very unlikely that the cause of this diffuse lung edema is lung metastases, which is fab, but another potential cause is congestive heart failure.

Tomorrow morning I get another Echo (my last was December 11th and I passed it with flying colors) to see if my heart function could have dramatically changed since then and now be the root of my current probs.  I don’t think so, I mean I’ve been on several drugs that potentially cause heart failure, but my breathing issues preceded (though not to this extent) the December 11th test.  We’ll see soon enough I suppose.

I hope we get these issues settled soon because I have some serious movie butt going on from all the sitting.  I am READY to be up and PARTICIPATING in my life, in the lives of the boys and Joe and the dogs.  I’m certainly not opposed to a little down time now and again, but I prefer to earn it!

Please send us some good vibes and prayers for some fixes and a return to a good quality of life.  Thanks!  Jen

A call to ACTION, A call to RUN!


A new year.  A fresh start. It is the same message you will see and hear a dozen times today.  Let us do one better.  We are offering a fresh start with a call to action!

Do more for you. Do more for others. Do both with GoJenGo!

Our foundation grew by leaps and bounds last year, due in large part to a successful inaugural RunJenRun 5k!  Our second year promises to be even more – fun, heartwarming, family friendly, and LIFE CHANGING!  Run with us, raise money with us, improve lives in our community. Sign up HERE and join us March 1st at Symphony Park in SouthPark for RunJen Run 2014!

 

Over the next eight weeks, we will continue to ask you and all your friends, family, and co-workers to sign up to walk or run. We will ask you to give generously. But we will also provide fitness tips (find a healthier you while training), educate you about GoJenGo and our mission, and tell you about our generous sponsors who will help make this race a day to celebrate.  Join us!

Thanks and GoJenGo!

A note from the President of The Go Jen Go Foundation:


2013 was a year of tremendous growth in the work being done by The Go Jen Go Foundation, its supporters, donors and volunteers.  I am so very proud of the selfless commitment of our Board of Directors in making sure we can help every family that comes to us for support.

As we draw this year to a close, I wanted share some of the important work being done.

In 2013 we have been able to help more families than ever before due to the generous contributions from individuals, corporations, and fundraising events like:

  • All In to Fight Cancer
  • The Inaugural Run Jen Run 5k
  • Pink on the Rink, the Charlotte Checkers and the Kahn Family
  • South Park Youth Association Pink Sock Drive
  • SHE 4Life and the Overlook Fall Festival
  • Team Carolina Lacrosse Club
  • The Pinnacle Institute of Cosmetology
  • 24 Hours of Booty
  • Consolidated Planning
  • Smiley’s 4 C’s
  • Sales Performance International
  • Y2 Yoga
  • Carolina’s Hematology and Oncology
  • The Plym Foundation (Charlotte Smarty Pants.com)
  • All of our wonderful Run Jen Run sponsors and participants

These are just some of the events and organizations that generously support the GJG mission.

Here are some of the ways in which your donations have gone to help families this year:

  • A new mattress for a survivor who was in pain from chemo at night
  • A trip to Africa with a survivor’s ministry, (a lifelong wish)
  • Power bills for a survivor who was using a heating pad to avoid turning on her heat
  • A train ticket for a mother to be with her daughter during her mastectomy
  • Visa cards for families who have to choose between pain meds or groceries
  • Three different survivors’ reconstruction surgery
  • Rent for several families facing eviction
  • Money to help pay for COBRA insurance after job losses
  • Money for day to day expenses when co-pays wipe out the family checking
  • A new refrigerator so the survivor didn’t have to store her food in a cooler
  • Monthly financial Support for over 20 families this year

The Board of Directors would like to humbly thank every Go Jen Go supporter for their generous gifts, their volunteer efforts and their unending messages of love and support.  As a foundation, we strive to be good stewards of the money that is donated, using very little of those funds for the day to day costs of operations.  We are an all-volunteer organization, with no paid staff.  We are dedicated to helping women and families focus on the things that are important while they are in the fight of their lives.  And we know we couldn’t do this without the unending support from the Go Jen Go army.

On a personal note, I would also like to thank all of the people who have reached out to help Jen in her difficult fight.  The dinners, the playdates, the cards and letters, the gifts.  Each one is dearly appreciated and truly helpful.  Jen continues to amaze me with her strength, her courage and her grace.  She inspires us all to be better people, to cherish every minute, to find the bright side, to wag more and bark less.

I could never explain how difficult it is to face our dire future, day after day, and push it aside to live for the present.  It is so much easier said than done.  But she soldiers on, for her sons, for her family.  For me.  And I try to do the same for her; I’m just not as strong.  But, the help from all of you is enough to keep us going.  And the love we get for the love we give is overwhelming.  Thank you.

Hug your family and have a very Happy New Year.

Joe

Merry Merry!


Happy Holidays everyone!  Operation Spread the Joy was a huge success! Despite being in the throes of chemo, and well, not really being (or looking- but that ship sailed a while ago!) my best, I was able to go to the wrapping party for a bit last Thursday to witness this miracle of giving in action. It reminded me of Santa’s workshop, everyone hustling and bustling, and full of holiday cheer.  Smiles and joy and thanks for the opportunity to help others and for the reminder of what the season is all about.  Twas so good!
THANK YOU ALL for so very generously allowing (through donations of your time, money, gifts and gift cards) us to fulfill the holiday needs and wishes for EVERY member of 12 local, in-need families that are battling cancer this holiday season.  AND, we were able to provide a generous amount of gift cards to 15 to 20 (GJG Board Members Meredith McGough and Dana Brincefield have the exact deets) other individuals.  Wow!  All this is in addition, the icing on the sugar cookie if you will, to the ongoing financial support GoJenGo already provides.
And a BIG THANKS to those of you SUPPORTING OUR FAMILY with play dates, errands and meals!!!  It is a HUGE HELP!!  I now am semi-living in my Relax the Back Chair which has had a rather profound impact on my back pain (thank God!), but I am still constantly battling tumor pain and the pain from the rather profound amount of edema that has cropped up in the last 6 weeks or so (and apparently has plans to stay on for the duration).
Better scoot, this elf has some last minute work to do.  Can’t wait to see the boys faces tomorrow morning!  Christmas is gonna be great!
Happy Holiday!  Jen

Caution! A big bottle of Whine!


Caution- you may need a big plate of cheese to go with all this whine!!  But its not all bad, there is definitely some reason for the season stuff too!

My motivation to blog remains a bit low.  Perhaps my mind is mirroring the decline in my body.  Its been a very tough few weeks since I started this “new”, old chemo regimen.  Ironically, the downturn in my quality of life is not due to the chemo, but rather in unexpected side effects from the disease itself.  Cancer has a really dark sense of humour. I’ve swollen up, from lymph edema, like an overstuffed sausage.  Its painful and debilitating and putting relentless pressure on body parts that should get a pass from breast cancer.  Days are spent mainly on the couch trying in vain to position my body to minimize the edema. Unfortunately, due to where the edema is located, a position good for one area wrecks another.  I get up sparingly, and when I do, I can’t wait to get back off my feet and relieve the pressure.  I try to “budget” my time up, weighing what I most desire doing (throwing football after school with the boys- Luca’s fave thing in the world right now to do with mommy), with what must be done and what needs to be done. Obviously TONS of stuff is not getting tended to, oh well.

And in the process of all this (and hopefully not due to any spread), my low back has been destroyed.  Back pain is my constant companion.  Despite the narcotic patch, despite extra medicine I get up to take in the wee hours every night (after writhing around in pain for a good hour- between the swelling, the burns from radiation which just are super slow to heal, and my back-there are no good sleeping positions left-grrrrr) I cant get relief.  Getting out of bed (usually 9:30 to 10:30, except 2 days a week when I get the kids off to school and then usually fall asleep again shortly after the bus comes) is comical. Walking is slow and awkward. A specialist I saw last week for my edema recommended checking into zero gravity chairs.  My dear friend Britt took me yesterday to a back store to check them out.  She sighed like she was in heaven within seconds of sitting in the first one and tilting back (they are like weird recliners that essentially put you in an optimal, but odd, position, to provide the best position for your spine).  I, on the other hand, experienced chest pressure, difficulty breathing (also a new development, its gotten bad, so I go get an echo Wed), a tremendous increase in lymphatic pressure in my abdomen, and some back relief.  We sat in a bunch.  Britt was in heaven and I managed to find two that provided some relief and didn’t exacerbate my other issues.

It was really kinda depressing.  I was unrealistically hoping for a panacea of a remedy. A quick, easy and reasonably priced fix. A miracle thing that would make my pain go away, minimize my swelling, maybe even make me feel (gasp!) good.  Oh, and look somewhat stylish, not clash with our other decor and NOT cost an unbelievable amount of money.  Too much to ask?  Apparently!  So we left the store, me rather down and fighting a weepy feeling, and Britt explaining to me that the goal is to bring my discomfort down to an acceptable level, not zero.  We agreed that more test sitting is definitely needed (hard to do with chemo weekly and also gobs of other appointments to address all my S/E- it is an insanely frustrating spiral) that we need to check the internet for lower prices, and because I need relief ASAP, perhaps some therapy is needed in the immediate future cause I really cant go on like this for too much longer.   I am worn thin.  I am losing the ability to help myself when any obstacle stands in my way.  I think we are beyond the point of reasonable (in terms of time, impact on my quality of life, and financial cost) fixes to any of my problems.  I see a future of “choices” that are really just the lesser of evils.

I’m not this grumpy all the time.  I still find inspiration and joy in the work GoJenGo is doing. I still gather strength from the impact we are having on our local, in-need survivors.  As many challenges as I have, I have all of you, a TREMENDOUS support network to help me along.  And I am so grateful that all of you pitch in to help those women and families that don’t have my incredible network of support!  We are currently helping spread the joy again this holiday season.  We’d love your help!

Please sign up for Go Jen Go Operation Spread the Joy! – here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:
1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot: http://vols.pt/CaBBg5
2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)
3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!
Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact Meredith McGough at meredithmcgough@bellsouth.net and she can sign you up manually.

Thank you for listening, thanks to those of you who have helped our fam with meals and errands and thanks for helping GJG!  J

Registration for RunJenRun 5k 2015 is OPEN!


 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner!  YIKES!  Time to train for the RunJenRun5k and keep in shape through the holidays!  We will reward you with a day that is fun and inspirational!  Click above to register now!!

Challenging times


I havent blogged in forever.  I’m stuck in a spiral of pain, narcotics, nausea and sleep. There have been some great moments (UGA Homecoming weekend, silly moments with the boys, holding hands with Joe) but for the most part its been a struggle.  I spend the bulk of each day doing the bed to sofa shuffle, trying in vain to get comfortable. I’ve been radiated again (5 fields in 5 high dose days- high enough to cause tumors to blister and ooze after just the first treatment) and Tuesday I go in to start the chemo drug (weekly, no scheduled off weeks) I said I would not re-try.
My state of mind goes from bad to despair with occasional, positive breaks.  I am trying very hard to focus on the good but it is becoming comically difficult.  New tumors are popping up and causing pain before I have healed from previous radiation (think whack a mole), my disease is painfully spreading in areas that should be freaking off limits for breast cancer, the swelling I have been experiencing is now increasing by the day.  My low abdomen no longer looks like my own, its odd, not really recognizing oneself in the mirror. My right thigh, which we know has disease (and was radiated last month) is now newly swollen down to my knee.  It was not like this even two days ago.  It now hurts to walk and bend my knee my past 45 degrees. I now walk like Fred Sanford,  WTH?  Not gonna lie, these lower body issues have me freaked out.  Will it continue to progress?  Will I be walking around on a painful elephant leg(s) soon?  What will I wear when it turns warm again.  I can still pass for normal in the cold weather, all my diseased parts hidden under clothes.
Each time I get my head around a new problem and think it cant get worse (aside from disease in a vital organ), it does.  Its no longer funny.  This chemo I don’t want better work some serious magic and soon.
All my complaining aside, please sign up for the Checkers 5k, uptown this Sat.  The Checkers are an amazing organization and they give back to our community, their employees are actively involved in making Charlotte a better place, and they are just darn good people!  Go to www.gocheckers.com to register (and get free tix to Sat night’s game too!).  Hopefully we’ll see you there!  Jen
 

Charlotte Checkers 5k!


It is time to train for the RunJenRun 5k in March!  What better way to start?
                  Run with the Checkers on November 23rd!

 

Michael Kahn and the Checkers have been outstanding, loyal supporters of GoJenGo and now it is our turn to support them!  Sign up for the Charlotte Checkers 5k on November 23rd to run or walk.  The registration price INCLUDES a free ticket to the Ch

eckers game that night and you can buy additional tickets for only $12.  Family, fun, and fitness all in one day.  Click here to register!  We’ll see you there!

 

 

 

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