Jordan’s surgery has come and gone, I wish I could say it has gone by quickly…

After his surgery he was admitted into the hospital for 4 days where I uncomfortably slept next to him every night. (Honestly, what is up with the lack of comfortable furniture in the hospital?!) But I’m not complaining, it’s not an option to leave his side.  After being released, we started our familiar journey from Ann Arbor to Grand Rapids and started talking about what happens next.  Our major obstacle is Jordan’s inability (per his doctors orders) to drive.  Jordan will tell you that he is perfectly fine to drive, which I don’t doubt, but it doesn’t matter.  He isn’t allowed to do it. This makes me primarily responsible for making sure he gets to wherever he needs to be. This also habitually makes me late for work…  When we first returned home, we spent a lot of time figuring out what Jordan could and could not do.  Turns out, he wasn’t able to do a whole lot except sit on the couch and use the remote with his right hand.  Thankfully that progressed into using his video game controller with both hands and being able to pour cereal and milk into a bowl.  Needless to say, he hasn’t been able to do a whole lot on his own.  For the first 2 weeks, he couldn’t shower, get dressed or cut food on his own and I was happy to be right there with him whenever he needed help.  This turned into an issue sometimes because I am only one person.  It was hard for me to find time to do everything that I normally do for myself and around the house AND everything that Jordan is responsible for along with these new duties since surgery.   It has been 30 days since his surgery and Jordan can do almost everything on his own, it just takes a little bit longer. He has come SUCH a long way in such a short time.   I’ll admit, the past 30 days have been a challenge but that is all part of the territory.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.  Except maybe for Jordan to set his alarm and actually get up on time.🙂

Jordan also started chemo again quicker than we were expecting.  We are excited to finish sooner but it is hard to see the long-term benefits right now.  Thankfully this round seems to be going well for Jordan.  He has had some dry heaves but no mouth sores so far which is SO great.  His next round starts March 5 so hopefully we can get some good recovery time in between and continue working on his arm and getting him closer to fully-functioning.

Also, because he had about 6 weeks off of chemo he started growing some hair back!  His mustache looks… hispanic. LOL But overall, we are really looking forward to getting that beard and those eyebrows back. Only 5 more months!

It’s here!  Today is the day we have been waiting for since that pesky little tumor showed up 5 months ago.  This is the day we have agonized over, talked about, lost slept for and prayed about.  This is the day that Jordan Schaefer is no longer a cancer patient.  He becomes a cancer SURVIVOR.  That has a nice ring to it, huh?

We woke up at 5:00 to get the showers going and get ready to be at check-in at 5:30.  They immediately called him back when he checked in and after a quick prayer he and I were whisked back to the pre-op room.  He had to undress completely and put on a hospital gown.

An IV was hooked up for hydration and any meds they need to give him (which, by the way, is a LOT) and then everyone who will be in the room with him came in one by one.  First the nurse came in who was great to talk to and made Jordan and I feel really at ease.  She took his vitals, told stories, talked about the procedure and made sure we were all on the same page. She also asked a ton of questions like, “Are you in any pain?”, “Do you have any loose teeth?”, “Do you have any metal in your body, i.e. tongue rings?” Ya know, standard questions. After her, came the nurse anesthetist who explained what drugs Jordan will be receiving, what they are for and how they work.  This guy has a ‘team’ of another anesthesiologist and an assistant who were fabulous.  Then Jill, Dr. Biermann’s PA, came in to mark up Jordan’s arm and make sure (again) that we were in the right place for the right thing.

This went on for about 2 hours and he was ready to go back.  I gave him a kiss (for all 10,389 people that told me to!) told him I loved him and I haven’t seen him since.  It is almost noon now, so we are going on about the 3rd hour of surgery.

I will be posting on here as soon as I can with any updates so, stay tuned.  Thank you again for all of your kind words, thoughts, prayers, gestures and just being in our lives.  We are SO blessed and thankful.

It has been 2 full weeks since Jordan had his last chemo treatment and we have really been able to take advantage of that extra time.  Last week was normal in terms of chemo side-effects with fatigue and an overall crummy feeling.  This week though, life is good!  Jordan was feeling great and we were able to spend some quality time together and with others.  We had a really busy work week along with a very important appointment on Wednesday with the surgeon and her team.  (If you read Jordan’s blog about this, feel free to skip ahead.)  The appointment went great, with the surgeon telling us that Jordan’s scans and tests came back clear of any spreading or concerns.  Yay!  Jordan’s blood counts were a little low, so he will have to have a blood transfusion on Monday to make sure his counts are good to go. After that, we are all set for surgery on Tuesday and starting the road to recovery and the last leg of treatments.  Jordan’s surgery will consist of a 6 hour timeframe, a 12-inch (ish) incision/scar, 4 inches (ish) of new bone, 3 weeks in a sling, 5 days a week of physical therapy and 6 months healing time.  The surgeon suggested no driving for a few weeks (minimum) so that will be interesting.  Jordan and I live close to both of our works so we will just have to get him out of bed early enough for me to take him!🙂

This past weekend was great because Jordan felt well enough to go out with some of our friends.  One of my best friends, Lauren, was in town with a friend of hers so we all met up on Friday.  An annual event called the Brew-Ha-Ha was going on, which is an indoor microbrew festival with bands and comedians performing.  We got a few good beers in us while we were there and decided to venture out downtown to meet up with some other friends.  Jordan and I ended up being out later than we have in months, past 1 am! Haha!  However, our newfound freedom also came with a pounding hangover the next morning. Yikes, I don’t miss that!  Saturday I went bridesmaid dress shopping for my younger sister’s wedding while Jordan lounged around the house.  That night we met up with Kim and Jeremy and had dinner (no drinks!).  We ended the weekend with breakfast Sunday morning at a local place, making a trip to the library and art museum then dinner at Yesterdog (Jordan’s fav).  We are thankful for such a great weekend, amazing friends and family and are looking forward to this week.  Stay tuned for updates on his surgery!

I’ve learned throughout the course of my life that I am what is called a ‘visual learner’. I was thinking that while reading our blogs is nice, it might be helpful to be able to ‘see’ what we go through each day. So, I’ve used my super-professional iPhone 3GS camera (without a flash, what’s up with that Apple?!) to take a few pics.

These are fairly self-explanatory but if you are anything like us and had never stepped foot in a hospital before, then you will appreciate the explanations.

This is Jordan in his bed. He is hooked up here for 5 days a week from about 8am to 4pm. He pretty much doesn’t leave this spot until he is unhooked at the end of the day to go home. Also, yes, we do eat entire packages of E.L. Fudge cookies while we are here.

This is Jordan’s pump and Chemo bags. On the weeks when he takes his pump home with him, it is a different pump and chemo. When we get to that time, I’ll post more pics. He has about 6 different bags of chemo/meds a day and a sweet little nurse that comes in and switches them out.

This is Jordan’s port. Before he started chemo, this was ‘installed’ into his chest. He has what is called a Double Lumen Port. These are convenient because he can have two different types of chemo or meds hooked up at one time and makes the process a bit quicker. Also, this is where he always gets blood drawn or gets his chemo hooked up, so he doesn’t have to get poked a million times to find a good vein in his arm.

This is what it looks like under the skin. (Well, what we think it looks like anyways.)

And this is Jordan! 3 months into chemo. Gosh, I am the luckiest girl on this planet.🙂

Tomorrow is the last day of chemo before surgery so this is an exciting time for us. We are very anxious to get through this week and onto the next chapter. Jordan has been feeling pretty good, just tired as usual. He can’t even stay up to play video games!

One more week down… we’re gettin’ good at this!

My last post was 20 days ago.  Sorry about that!  We have been a bit caught up…

In the past 20 days:

  • Jordan was admitted into our local hospital (not the same place where he gets his treatments) because he had a fever over 100.5*  Last time this happened he was given antibiotics and sent home after a few hours.  THIS time, they admitted him for 3 days!  They had no intention of even letting him leave until we refused to take any more drugs and demanded to know why he was still there.  They finally let him leave, but not without a $7,000+ bill, of course.
  • Jordan had his 5th round of chemo.  This round was with the drug Adriamycin.  This is the tough stuff.  He made it through chemo just fine, but the after-effects were really difficult.  He had SEVERE mouth sores.  He could hardly talk and it was damn near impossible to attempt to eat anything.  This lasted over Christmas, so he wasn’t able to partake in any holiday food-eating.
  • We celebrated the holidays!  Despite the side-effects, this year was really nice for us.  We spent Christmas Eve  and Christmas morning with Jordan’s family and Christmas night with mine.  It was stress-free, believe it or not!  We got way too much stuff and had a really good time with friends and family.

Now we are looking forward to:

  • One more round of chemo before surgery.
  • 5-6 weeks off chemo.
  • Surgery! Scheduled for Jan. 23

Overall, Jordan has been doing exceptionally well.  While he does have nausea, mouth sores, fatigue, weight loss and gets up at least twice a night to go to the bathroom, he is smiling, happy and positive (just as he normally would be!).  It has been easy for me to get caught up in all of the holiday stress, cancer stress, work stress etc. and Jordan constantly reminds me that if I am going to be caught up in something, at least make it positive.  I hope you all have a stress-free 2011 and remember to just keep smiling.🙂

Jordan has a friend, Brandon.  He has known Brandon just about his whole life.  They grew up together, went to church together, their parents are friends…  Brandon moved to France a couple years ago, married Sarah and has been living in Paris.  About a year ago, Brandon and Sarah made a totally awesome choice and decided to quit their jobs and travel Australia.  That year has passed and Brandon and Sarah are back in the States before the go back to France and figure out what to do next.  Brandon and Sarah are two of the people I first met when Jordan and I started dating.  We have been close friends since, and we have missed them while they were gone.

Brandon and Sarah came over the other night to hang out with Jordan and I and catch up on everything that is going on in each others lives.  Even though we haven’t spoke in over a year, it was like no time had passed.  We sat in the living room, drank wine and talked for hours.  Conversation flowed from one topic to the next; we told hospital stories while they talked about Kangaroos (totally normal).  It was so refreshing to feel like what we were going through was just another topic.  Not something to dwell on or spend hours contemplating, it is just something that friends talk about between one conversation to another.

In other news, we met with Jordan’s surgeon and have tentatively scheduled his surgery for Jan. 23.  He will be off chemo for 3 weeks before and 3 after which we are really looking forward to.  The surgery should take about 6 hours and we have been reassured that his surgeon is one of the best in the country.  That will be a HUGE hurdle and afterwards it will solidify his cancer-free status and we can get closer to moving on with our lives.

Holiday season is upon us as well – can you believe Christmas is in less than 20 days?! Yikes!  I have actually started shopping AND wrapped some presents already!  This is a great time of year to think about others who might be going through what we are and how you can help.  Make a meal, send a card, knit a hat – pay it forward.


My last post was Thanksgiving morning, and it has only been a week but the events that have happened since then could easily make up a month’s time.  Jordan woke up shortly after I wrote my post and was complaining of chest/breathing pains and a sore throat.  He was having these pains the day before but this morning they were significantly worse.  I was planning on heading out of Grand Rapids around noon to get to Jeni’s house for Thanksgiving at 2 and be ready to eat and hangout with family.  Jordan insisted that I stick to my plan and that he was just going to rest all day and if he needed to see a Doctor, we would go the next day.

So, I leave at noon and am on my way to the East side of the state.  About an hour into my drive, I get a call from Jordan telling me that his fever spiked over 100 and that he is on his way to the emergency room.  He said not to worry and to just continue on my way and he will keep me updated.  So I did that, and it was awful!  I couldn’t stop thinking about him (well, not that I ever do anyways) and I wanted to be there so badly.  His parents were there of course, but I wanted to be too.  He ended up being there for 5 and a half hours and when he left, he felt the same except they gave him some meds to help with some of the symptoms. Bummer.

Since Thanksgiving to today (8 days later) Jordan still hasn’t fully ‘recovered’  He is extremely tired, sleeping almost the entire day and through the night, not eating very much and is feeling very ‘blah’ all over.

I had to work Monday and Tuesday of this week, so I wasn’t able to be at his first two days of treatments and appointments.  We have honestly never spent that much time apart and it was killing me.  We talked for a little while on Monday night but because he has been so tired, I feel like we have hardly been able to spend any time together.  I understand, of course, but it is difficult for me.  This week has been rough, and I foresee it getting rougher.  He is recovering slower between treatments and feeling less like ‘himself’.  One thing is for sure though, he is the sexiest bald guy I have ever seen.🙂  Even though these times are tough, it’s obvious that Jordan is tougher.


It is Thanksgiving morning.  Jordan is still sleeping and I am watching the Macy’s Parade and drinking coffee.  Growing up, it was always a tradition on Thanksgiving and Christmas to wake up and watch the Macy’s Parade.  I used to absolutely love it.  Since my dad is from New York, it was a big thing for him too.  While we were visiting his parents one year, we went the night before the parade and watched everything come to life – it was amazing.  I love watching the parade in my adult years and feeling the same feeling I had when I was a kid.  Since our lives have flipped upside down, it’s these moments of normalcy that I crave.

Since my last post, Jordan has went through another round of chemo and it may be his toughest one yet.  He has new symptoms: ‘milky mouth’ and chest pains and continues to have significant fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss and overall unhappiness.  Not that he isn’t happy, just maybe less so than normal.  These symptoms come and go, but it is making life a little more difficult.  This is our new normal.

I don’t want things to go back to normal.  I am so thankful and appreciative for everything that a new day brings.  Normal is an interesting concept anyways.  Whether or not you have experienced something like this, life is forever changing therefore always creating a new normal.  What I want is to be able to anticipate the new normal, which is impossible right now.  I want to be able to answer questions like, “what is my day like today?”, or “what are you doing Friday night?”.  We have no idea.

On top of not being able to see into the future, I have been presented with new stressors. Caution: I may go into a huge venting session.  The end of the year is coming and that inevitably changes a few things.  1. I lose insurance through my dad’s company because I am turning 26.  2. My job is looking to change how it pays me.  Also, they don’t think that being at all of Jordan’s treatments is ‘important’ and they want me at work more. 3. Jordan’s insurance starts over in Jan. so we have a whole new deductible to meet.

Now, I’m not complaining.  This is life.  I get it.  But, can’t life be a little more normal for once?  Sigh…

Happy Thanksgiving Y’all.  Enjoy your day and be thankful for what you have.  And don’t have.

Three is the magic number.  I used to love that Schoolhouse Rock song!  But seriously, everything happens in threes.  It’s just the way nature works.  You get 3 chances, wishes, strikes… Jordan and I have an exciting ‘three’ to celebrate – years!  We started dating 3 years ago on Nov. 8.  Here’s the story:

My freshman year of college I met Dave, who lived on the same floor as me in the dorms.  Dave had a cute friend from high school named Jordan.  Jordan would visit Dave and we would all hang out, and Jordan and I became friends.  Both of us were dating other people for a while, so anything more than a friendship wasn’t even being thought of.  A couple years later on one random night in Meijer (trust me, we’re making a commercial for them about this) we bumped carts in the frozen foods aisle.  Jordan was buying a carton of milk (seriously, a real carton) and I was doing my normal shopping.  Halloween was that weekend and we had decided that it would be fun to meet up since we were both single and didn’t really have any plans.  The weekend came and I was downtown at some bars with my friends and Jordan was at a house party on the NE side of town.  After texting back and forth, Jordan left the party and RAN ON FOOT for at least 2 miles from the party to the bar I was at.  As he got there, the bar was closing so we decided to get something to eat and hang out for a bit.  The next night we went out with some of his friends and he invited me to a wedding the following weekend.  I accepted, we went together, started dating that night and I haven’t left his side ever since!

Even though we have hit this bump in the road, there is nothing that will make me leave his side.  Jordan has showed me what true love is. He has showed me compassion, strength, sincerity, honesty and how to love others. We get asked a lot about getting married and while I look forward to that day, I truly feel so blessed to just be in his life that I am in no hurry to change this amazing thing we already have.  Cancer sucks, yes.  But love is much greater than cancer and I honestly believe that our love can overcome this – and anything else that comes our way.🙂

Ok, done with the mushy, lovey stuff.  In honor of our anniversary, I’ve put some pictures up of a few of my favorite times together.🙂

     Jordan and I in Paris

Ugly sweater party

Graduation Day!

In beautiful Key West

On the beach🙂


You hear or see the articles all the time.  “Drinking alcohol once a week could cause cancer.”, “Sitting for a prolonged period of time could cause cancer.”, “Not working out twice a day could cause cancer.”  Ok, that last one I made up but I don’t doubt someone will ‘find’ that out soon.

Since Jordan’s diagnosis, the word ‘cancer’ has caught my attention quite often – and not while we are in the cancer center.  Every time I turn on the radio, watch tv or read something online, there is some sort of article about how to prevent cancer.  Sure, not smoking could reduce your chances of having lung cancer, but nothing is for certain.

Jordan didn’t (couldn’t) prevent his cancer, but he didn’t cause it either!  Not only are these ‘findings’ becoming very annoying, they also make for a very awkward moment when you are sitting with a cancer patient.

I am all for a healthy lifestyle, but let’s just live life and enjoy it, OK? Let’s be honest, it’s too short to not be sitting down for hours and drinking alcohol once a week.