Greater Than Series: Claren Englebreth
One Year Cancer-Free!
Over the next few weeks you’ll be meeting some of my favorite friends and their inspiring stories. The idea behind the phrase “Greater > Than” is that we are all greater than the challenges life presents us, and we can get through them!
Today, meet a fellow Young Mom Against Cancer. Claren and I met in chemo, and, as it would turn out, our families go back decades and we’re second cousins by marriage. It’s crazy and we still can’t believe it.
I’ll let Claren tell her story…
Greater Than My Toughest Obstacles
It's hard to believe it's been a year - I'm back at work, immersed in activities, trying to keep up with my kids. And while the details of cancer treatment have faded, I don't remember much of what life was like before cancer.
Rounding out the Easter season: My live witness at The Gathering
We climb the Mt. Everest of life obstacles, and then we just want to slide down the other side of the mountain and creep back into everyday life so no one asks us about what we just did.
I JUST CLIMBED MT. EVEREST - why would I want to talk about it?
Sounds kind of silly doesn’t it?
When we scale a challenge, WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT IT! We should acknowledge what we’ve overcome.
In the words of Carl: Our home away from home.
A few weeks before Easter, our pastor, Will McLeane, approached me with an idea: “What if you shared a live witness of your breast cancer journey in front of the congregation on Easter morning?”
What I heard: “No pressure, but how about sharing your testimony in front of hundreds of people on the church’s most visited day of the year?”
I love public speaking, but there’s something so reverent about being on stage at church and leading those in the congregation. It was something I had never done before and hadn’t very much seen before, as I spent a majority of my faith life growing up in the Southern Baptist church.
In the words of Carl: She called.
It was April 10, 2018.
The girls spent the night at Jennifer’s parents’ house because we were headed out early to Rex Hospital. This was a planned visit, though. Jennifer had surgery scheduled for the morning with Dr. Jendro to get her port placed.
Just one year earlier, to the day, I was driving Jennifer to Rex for another appointment. 2017’s third passenger was a soon-to-be-born 9 lb, 1 oz Halle. 2018’s third passenger was a 6cm cancerous tumor and what felt like the weight of the world on our shoulders.
What it's like to find a tumor
Two words so simple, but two words I’ll never, ever forget.
Meet the Young Moms Against Cancer (and join our team!)
March 25, 2018 was like any other day.
Unbeknownst to our group, in approximately 48 hours, our lives would change. Our roles as parents and siblings and in-laws would evolve into oncology amateurs, fundraiser event planners, and the strongest support system.
What I've Learned: A Support Spouse Point of View
When I received my breast cancer diagnosis last year, I didn’t know anyone else under 40 with breast cancer. I reached out to women 10, 15, 20, 30 years older than me. And thank goodness I did - they were incredibly supportive and continue to serve as some of my biggest cheerleaders.
But there’s something about being 34. Being told that you’re part of the 5% of women under 40 who receive the diagnosis. Having toddlers and kids who can’t grasp why you can’t get off the couch. Debating on how and when you work (aka attempt to lead a normal life) while your spouse makes up the difference in every other aspect of life.
There’s a bond that forms around women in these kind of circumstances. I like to think of it as the club none of us wanted to join, but I am so happy we’ve found each other and we’re all here to cheer each other on.
In this post you’ll meet the four amazing breast cancer survivors that I get to call my friends. It was like a domino effect - one introduction led to another and we all came together over our diagnoses and similar situations in life.
A post by Carl.
We started 2018 not too different from the last handful of years: Jennifer at home with the girls and me in Los Angeles for work. We had our list of things we wanted to get done in 2018, along with the places we wanted to visit and the people we wanted to see.
In January, we purchased tickets for a concert that would take place in July - The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks in Denver. We planned to fly out and meet our good friends Patrick and Christy for a long weekend of relaxation and music.