Jen Ballentyne

My friend Jenni Ballentyne has entered hospice.  It’s a good thing, my friends, for she is able to relax and be cared for, although of course it is a signal that all is not well.  All hasn’t been well for Jenni in a long time, though.  If you’ve ever read her blog, you know that.  You know that she has suffered in ways that most of us will never have to suffer.  And you know that sucks.

Because it does.  There is no good way to say this.  Cancer sucks.  Her kind of cancer has its own special horrors.  But Jenni has persevered through rounds of treatment, surgeries, crises, and indignities that no one should have to face — and Jenni has done it with a determination and a will that awes all who know her.

Jenni loves her children, Jack and Jamie, and is singlemindedly focused on what’s best for them and their future.  She discussed that in a comment this week, talking about her decision not to try maintenance chemo again, knowing that it will not significantly prolong her life, and it will make the last few months miserable.  She says it better than I could,

The chemo affects you so badly that you don’t even want to talk to anyone, you can’t lift your head, I mean I just don’t see the point. Say I have six months, say chemo will buy me an extra three, but the entire nine months will be revolting. Not worth it. The price is just too high. If it helped my kids then I’d do it, but it doesn’t help them to see me so ill that I can’t lift my own head, there is absolutely no good to come from that at all…. Leaving Memory Boxes, letters, just sweet, special things for my boys is my priority now and I am building on that each day.

And once again, she inspires me as she walks the difficult road that is life after a cancer diagnosis.

Go give her some love, will you?  She has plenty — oh, she has so much love — but it will make you feel better, just to be in her presence.  Pinky swear.

Go.  She’s worth it.

4 Responses to Jen Ballentyne

  1. stephhn says:

    I can’t even imagine having to make a decision like that. I’m so glad she’s focusing on what’s important in her life and her boys.

  2. amy says:

    thanks for sharing, Susan. I will continue to keep everyone in my prayers.

  3. Gerbil says:

    We’ve been fighting stage 3 colon cancer with my mom for a year. Jenni’s story is so heartbreaking.

  4. whymommy says:

    Have you read the comments over at They’re absolutely, heartbreakingly beautiful.

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