Jenna Days

It's always one of those days


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I went back and forth on how to headline this, along with some humorous options, but decided straight to the point would be the best. I recently was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I’m writing this for a few reasons. The first is that I want my friends to know, but it is really really hard to tell people. It’s terrible news and I just can’t go through the conversation that many times so I thought this would be an easy way to share what’s going on. The second reason is that I want to write about it. I need an outlet and I think it’ll be helpful to post the updates in one location too (ok maybe that’s reason 3).

It’s pretty crazy to have just turned 30 and find out I have breast cancer. I’m defying all sorts of odds because I was actually tested for the gene earlier this year and came back negative. If I could pick, I’d use that odds defying skill to win the lottery instead of have cancer, but oh well.

Currently I don’t have a lot of information. I’m going in this Friday for an MRI and Chest X-Ray and then next Thursday will meet with an oncologist and surgeon to discuss the results and next steps. I think that’ll probably be when it gets scary. Right now it’s pretty inconceivable to me that I have cancer so it doesn’t feel real and I’m trying to enjoy each of these days because I know once it’s real I won’t be able to go back. So the waiting part is totally fine for me. I promise everyone who thinks “waiting is the hardest part” that when they actually start to fix me, it’s totally going to be worse. I am cool with waiting.

On the positive side, I couldn’t be in a better place to deal with things. I’m going to DHMC which is a great hospital, I don’t have a job right now to have to sort out, A. and I are at my parents and not paying rent, and my parents are here to support us. My Mom has had it twice so she’s practically an expert and great to have for explaining all of this overwhelming new information. Basically the only thing that A. and I have to do is work on me getting better without anything else to stress about and great support.

It may take me a little to respond to email, but I promise I read it immediately and it makes me feel great, it just takes me a little bit to respond. 

I have hated pink ribbons for a long time (see notes under my Facebook page for reference) so please for the love of god don’t send me any. I would prefer pirate flags. No particular reason other than they’re kind of bad ass.

I prefer “that sucks” to “I’m sorry” because it totally sucks, but there is nothing for anyone to be sorry about. If you say “I’m sorry”, I get the immediate urge to say “It’s ok”, which is not an appropriate response, so let’s just skip “sorry” and go straight to “this sucks” and then I can agree with you instead of saying “it’s ok”.

So this sucks, but I will get through this.



So even though I’m taking the summer off and hanging out in beautiful Vermont I’ve managed to get really sick. No stress or lack of sleep, but sick as a dog. Started out with flu like symptoms and have been stuck with a nasty respiratory thing for about a week now. I’m now on steroids and antibiotics, so hopefully I’m on the mend, but in the meantime, here’s a list of things I miss in my current state:

1. Non-noisy breathing

2. Not coughing

3. Not feeling things in my chest when I cough

4. Not being exhausted

5. Swimming

6. Wine

7. Beer

8. Saying no to exercise because I don’t feel like it, not because I can’t

9. Drinking tea because I enjoy it, not because I think it might make my chest feel better

As a reward for making it through this self-indulgent post, here’s the top responses to the poorly thought out VH1 and Robin Thicke twitter Q&A #AskThicke: Click it, you know you want to

Before we traveled to Yellowstone we visited Glacier National Park. It wasn’t a park I’d heard a lot about before we had some friends go there on their cross country trip last year, but I knew it was supposed to be one of the most beautiful places in the country. It did not disappoint.

Well it might have disappointed just a tiny bit, but not on looks. Glacier is aptly named, even in mid May it was still covered in snow for the most part. Some of the lakes were still frozen, and we actually heard an avalanche while hiking. Because of this, we couldn’t drive the Going-To-the-Sun Road. Apparently this famous road opens fully at the end of June (at the earliest). Below is a photo of the road plowing progress while we were there.

(photo from the Glacier National Park flickr page)

What we could drive of the road was around the lake and it was absolutely stunning.

As you can see from the photos, when we arrived the lake was like glass so the reflection was crystal clear.

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I could write a love letter to Ko Tao. Definitely my favorite spot on the trip. We arrived in Ko Tao via our ferry speedboat around sunset. image

 We found our hotel pretty easily. We were staying in town which was a nice change from our previous stops because we could walk to food, massages, bars, etc. We rented two scooters the first day for around $7 a day each, hard to pass up a deal like that. Most of the “taxis” were guys on scooters, so also made a lot of sense for two people getting around a small island.
Ko Tao is known as a diving island, people come from all over to go to the many dive spots off the island. It also turns out that most of the beaches have great snorkeling right off of them. They also aren’t crowded because most people are diving. We rented snorkeling masks for about 75 cents a day and traveled to the local beaches. The roads were pretty bad and also really steep which was interesting at times with our sub par scooters. However, this also meant there were absolutely stunning views.


I traded my scooter in after one day because the back breaks were shot. The guy tried to tighten them and I had to explain that the break pad was obviously gone, so that wasn’t going to work. Little did he know I am well versed in scooter break issues. Our first night we went to a japanese restaurant on a hill that over looked the bay and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. We were on a porch overlooking it and it was lit up by the town and boat lights and just gorgeous. Food was great too.

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Alternative title: We got charged by a grizzly and chased by a wild mustang stallion.

spoiler: we survived.

The third stop on our road trip was Yellowstone (Glacier will get its own post later). Everyone who knows me knows I’m an animal lover, how you know me tends to skew what kind of animals you associate with me. Childhood would tend to make you think I’m a horse person, college would make me a dog person, and adult life would make you think in the cat and/or dog direction. I grew up with two parents who were animal lovers in Vermont with cats, dogs, horses, chickens, pigs, and the occasional turkey. Those were just the domestic animals. I’m a mostly indiscriminate animal lover who will get excited about pretty much any type, especially if they’re wild. There’s something really special about getting to observe a wild animal, it’s a gift.

Yellowstone was a place I’d wanted to go since I was a child and to go there exceeded all expectations. The first thing we saw crossing into the park were buffalo grazing right by the road. They were massive and completely care free to people stopping and taking photos. You really got the sense after being there a couple of days that these creatures really didn’t fear anything. They’d walk down the middle of the road at times and weren’t concerned when a grizzly or wolf was around either. They weren’t tame though, they ignored people and cars because they didn’t perceive them as a threat (or anything else).


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Almost two months to the day was my last day of work. Today I watched a wolf roam around for about an hour in the wild. Worth it. #unemployed #yellowstone (at Yellowstone National Park)

I’m a bit behind in my travel blogs and will continue my Thailand memoirs, but don’t want to get too behind on current day. We’ve just arrived outside of Glacier National Park in Montana after staying in Portland for two nights. Neither of us had ever been to Portland before and decided to give it a go before we vacated the west coast. We spent about 11 hours getting from San Francisco to Portland and did an air bnb in a nice family’s basement around 16th and E Burnside.

If San Francisco was clean compared to Bangkok, you could eat off the sidewalks in Portland. Our first night we got in and carried our many things from the back seat into our little room. Every place we stay except perhaps the place in North Dakota, we’ll be carrying half a cars worth of things inside and then repacking. We get to do this 7 times. We went for some ramen and then a walk across the bridge and then back to a bar nearby our place. Portland is in the basketball playoffs so it was sportstasic. Then in typical Jenna fashion, I got really sick and had to go home and that was my night. Left A. with a full beer to watch the game by himself at the bar. Typical me. There may have been an experiment in self-medicating that technically worked but also went horribly wrong. I’m not sure what the lesson was.


Anyways, woke up the next morning and was fine, as also per typical me. We took a walk to a good coffee place nearby and on the way A. got a haircut (first one in many moons). I had an ice coffee which was a little crazy, but couldn’t resist trying it. I’m a coffee fiend and quit successfully last April, but in Thailand I started dipping into it a couple of times. We’re casually flirting right now, but I have to watch it or we’ll end up u-hauling again.

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11 hours of driving, 637 miles, and a whole lot of tunes: we made it to our first road trip destination. #Portland

Shed some tears driving over the bridge this morning. Going to miss our friends, family, and San Francisco life. Feeling very sad. (at Golden Gate Bridge)

What a bittersweet throwback morning. Brought my car to SOMA for a tuneup and had breakfast in South Park, which I spent over 4 years of my time here working near or on, took the Geary bus through downtown where my first job was, and ride right by my first apt on Leavenworth and Geary #leavingsf (at South Park Play Area)