An Old Routine

I’ll open with a couple of apologies. First, I apologize because I haven’t written in awhile. I could say that we’ve been very busy, or that no news is good news. Those statements are both true, but there’s another reason why I haven’t posted to Jordan’s Journey for awhile.

I started writing this blog nine years ago when Jordan was diagnosed with cancer. At the time, it served a functional purpose. She was in the hospital and so many kind people wanted to know what was happening, how she was, her prognosis, our condition–a littany of information–that I felt overwhelmed. It was just too much for me to manage multiple phone conversations and it pained me to repeat the story and go through the emotions and processing of it all. So, I started a blog. At first, the posts were dry, informative, and directly related to the release of new news. But then, the writer in me engaged. I had all these emotions pent up inside me. It needed an outlet and when I’d write a post the feelings would creep in. Releasing the story I witnessed became therapeutic. I was stronger after I wrote. In fact, writing became the only way to exorcise the restless doubts that haunted my mind.

Of course, I allowed my therapy to be public. Anyone could read what I was thinking and feeling, and in time the blog developed an audience. I’m not going to lie. I’m a ham. It is a great pleasure to to write. It’s an even greater pleasure to know that someone is reading what I write. And it’s intoxicating to hear that some of those readers actually enjoy it. That’s what happened. And when it happened, my therapy became something else. I started thinking about what I wanted to write and very often I found myself saying, “no, you can’t write about that because you already wrote something like it a few days ago,” or “well, this story’s a downer and the last story was depressing, so maybe write this one to shed some light for the reader.” After awhile, the pressure to write what I thought the reader needed next–a habit that has been drilled into me as a writer since high school–closed the outlet that was supposed to inform our friends and family while also giving me a place to talk about what I was going through.

Nine years later, we’re all tired. We’re exhausted, to be perfectly frank. Make no mistake, we don’t waste time moping around, wallowing in our misfortune. Jordan would never stand for that! We carry on quite well. In fact, the last few months have been quite pleasant. While she still has bad days and days that are interrupted by seizures, there are fewer bad days than good. I’ve been busy building a business, working on a new book, and spending time with my greatest blessing–my family. There have been moments when I’ve thought, “I should write about this on the blog.” But I didn’t. I decided to be a little selfish. I took a break from the blog, only posting a photo here and there. Don’t interpret it negatively. Our family is grateful to everyone who follows our journey with us. We continue to be inspired by the profound sentiment and generosity from all of you. Thank you.

It’s a long way of saying I’m sorry for not writing. I’m not sure how much I’ll write in the near future. I know I’ll come back to the Journey because Jordan is still traveling on it and there is so much in her life that deserves to be shared. In short, there’s so much to write about. But it has to feel right. And, for the past few months, it hasn’t felt right to write about it. So, I didn’t.

Now, the second reason I want to apologize is because I think I may have alarmed a few of you with our Facebook updates today. Yes, Jordan was back at CHLA for a lengthy MRI, but it was a scheduled MRI–meaning that this is the scan she has every 3-4 months. There’s not any cause for alarm. It’s always a bit of an ordeal because Jordan has to be anesthetized and our nerves are prickly at these moments in time. You see, it is at these junctures that we have the opportunity to look inside Jordan’s body to guess at what the beast is up to. It’s imperfect. As our doctor reminds us, an MRI is not a microscope. The results are not always very illuminating, which leads to a slightly disatissfying experience because the news is bland and inconclusive. Then, there have been the scans when we discover something alarming. Two years ago, the scans showed us a solid tumor growing in a dangerous area of Jordan’s spine. We have come to view the scans as an experience that leads to one of two outcomes: banality or danger.

When I say “we,” I don’t just mean Jeanette and I. Jordan is increasingly anxious around MRIs. This morning, while we were waiting at the hospital for the nurses to hook up her port catheter, Jordan burst out with, “I’m worried!” It came from nowhere. A few seconds earlier she had been joking about Zack and Cody. Then she started fidgeting and made her confession. We were very glad that she felt comfortable enough to voice it. Usually, she buries it and engages, instead, in the most odd behavior. Today, she expressed how she felt. Until that moment, I hadn’t been emotional at all. The whole day felt routine up until that moment. Then, I was overcome by emotion. We’ve done so many MRIs we’ve lost count. Jordan told all the nurses today that she was “a pro at this.” And she is. But no matter how many times we’ve gone through the emotions, there’s always that bit of tension. Today, Jordan acknowledged it.

So, I really am sorry if my posts sounded dark. I didn’t mean to worry anyone. I posted what was coming through live on my end. Jordan was nervous, and scared, and a little bit edgy. She had every right to be. This will sound strange, but I was so happy that she could express these feelings. She works so hard to be brave. And she is brave. But I think sometimes she tries so hard to be brave that she bottles up what she’s feeling, the same way that I started bottling up what I was feeling because I didn’t want to write about something that I’d felt two days before. Our family excels at “putting on the good face.” It’s routine for us. Today, Jordan broke the routine and I hope she allows herself to do it more. It will only make her stronger, and it will only let her enjoy the wonder of her life more.