I have a brain tumor.

There's no other way to start this. I've written and rewritten this a hundred times but here's where we are. Yesterday morning I had a MRI to make sure that my last 6 months have been full of tension headaches and nothing weird. My sister waited in the waiting room while I went into the tube where they took pictures of my brain. Then ten minutes after I got home, the neurologist called and said they found something.

I called Chris and told him to jump in an Uber home. I called my sister and asked the same thing. Soon they were here in the living room and we were on the phone with the neurosurgeon. Then we went to his office. It was crazy news! How insane! And that's how I felt until I saw this image when we walked into his office and I saw the motherfucking large tumor behind my left eye. And then I felt very scared.

There is no way to write this post well.

I am not interested in:
1. Dying. (Please. I have a whole lot of things to do on the planet for humans.)
2. Losing abilities to speak or walk or parent or function.
3. Losing the ability to speak French (DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY DOLLARS I SPENT learning French and living there? I adore this language and the people there. Let's get this tumor out of the left temporale lobe because that's where it affects language.)

I am also not interested in someone cutting open my skull, existing in ICU for a while, closing down Plucky for months while I recover, missing planning and hosting my baby's 1st birthday party... but you have to choose your battles.

So. Yesterday was the worst day of my life. And I'm not looking forward to a lot of the next few months, but here we are. The outlook looks good, but I have a meningioma in my left temporale lobe and it's soon time for brain surgery. We've got some things to talk about.



Carl Smith said...

I love you so very very much. You're gonna kick the shit out of this tumor.

Carole Henne Strouse said...

Jen, Susie and Family,
I have wrapped you in prayer for a spectacular recovery and renewal,
Love, Carole Henne Strouse

BigSea said...

Jen, I can't believe this news but I am sending all the positive healing energy I can muster your way. <3

KYGrace said...

My sweet Jen, we have a far-reaching group that will be in constant prayer for you and everyone in the family.
As strange as it may seem, emotionally you need to rest and let God take care of ALL of this for you. Yes, I know you are a constant planner, an enthusiastic doer and a vibrant go-getter. To take a deep breath and let the Universe lead you is probably going to be very difficult for you to do.

You know that whatever outcome there may be, you will face it head-on (you are no fraidy-cat) and besides that, you will never be alone, not for one moment. We will all be holding you up, loving you, praying for you and ready to spring into action with whatever you need or want. (Yes, you DO inspire that kind of love, Jen.)

Who knows why you were allowed to have this awful thing, but whatever the reason, you will find out. I truly believe that your reaction to all of it will affect many people going forward. I am a firm believer that God (or whatever anyone chooses to call Him/Her/It/Them) gives us opportunities to learn what we are supposed to understand while we are here. This is a big one, no doubt about that.

I am scared for you (okay-there really isn't a word to describe my feeling), but I am also trusting that God will take care of you through every bit of it, good and bad. He's brought you this far. I don't expect that He will just take a walk now. He will bring you out of it to a victorious and complete recovery. I am sure of it.

There will be a birthday party for that darling little boy, plus many more and you will be there for all of them. Actually, I expect you to far outlive most of the people reading this. xxx

Tomislav Car said...

I'm sorry to hear this Jen. I know it's not easy, but when I met you I saw that you're a person full of optimism and I know you'll pull through...

Leslie Camacho said...

Oh Jen... Well shit. Too much of an understatement? All the love, prayers, support, and whatever the hell else we can do for you and yours. Don't be shy about asking for help and support. You have a lot of people who love and support you. We're with you every step of the way through this.

Lou Kotsinis said...


We only met briefly at Owner Summit '15 in Austin, but we had a nice conversation that I still do remember. My family and I have you in our prayers and are wishing you a speedy recovery.

Rob Harr said...

Sending good thoughts and prayers your way. Over the last few years I have always looked forward to being at events with you and have always appreciated your insight. Get better quick.

Jeremy Borden said...


My mom had exactly this when I was about 10. Super scary and not an easy recovery, but she's doing just fine 26 years later with no long term impact. Happy to talk or connect you with her if it would be helpful. Sending love <3

Unknown said...

I was in your talk at Owner Summit.

There is a blogger named Charles Trippy that had a brain tumor (brain slug) and is now rocking the world on tour with his band, We The Kings.

Not sure why I say all of this, other than to say I think you have it in you to beat this and continue rocking it.

Maggie Mason said...

Well. This is some total bullshit. I'm so sorry. I have no idea what you're feeling, but I would be pissed, and afraid. Please keep us posted, and let us know how we can help.

souz said...


Thinking of you, Chris, and your little ones. Sending you lots of positive vibes and prayers. I may be on the opposite side of the country, but if there is literally anything I can do, please let me know. Praying for all good outcomes for you.

Lots of Love,

Jeb Banner said...

Jen, please know that Jenny and I are here sending you love and good energy as you tackle this challenge. I know this sucks right now and I'm not going to act like it doesn't. But I know, somehow, you will make beauty and art from it since that is your nature. I don't know what else to say but to know that I am here for you. Love, Jeb

J said...

No, no, no, just no! I deny this tumor from interrupting the bright light that you are on this planet. Jeb is better than I am at handling things. I like to throw fits and get mad. You are in our thoughts. Warm hugs from Indiana. Please keep posting! - Jenny Banner

John Furukawa said...

Jen, you are a shining star and this is just going to prove it when you beat it. We are thinking of you. Let us know what we can do, and hurry up and move to Portland! Much love.
-john furukawa & Uncorked Studios

karen pery said...

Dear Jen's Tumor,

Great to finally meet you, now get out. Her brain has far way more important and interesting things to do. Get out, go with peace, you've stayed long enough, now it's time to be removed.

Jen, you've got the best team, and every bit of support you need to recover 100% and beyond. I am here for you and looking forward to a tumor free future!!

xoxo K.

Ciara said...

Sending positive vibes from Clermont Fd. You certainly have lots more to give to this world. Your post sounds determined. Thinking of you.

Ciara said...

Sending positive vibes from Clermont Fd. You certainly have lots more to give to this world. Your post sounds determined. Thinking of you.

Jon Seidman said...

Dear Jen, first, I'm sending you and your beautiful family every drop of positivity and warmth that I can muster from the other side of the world. I can't begin to imagine how tough this must be for you.

Less than a year before I met my wife, she had a sudden subarachnoid brain hemorrhage, collapsed, and was sent for emergency brain surgery. Since that life-saving procedure, she's gone on to complete her Masters, travel the world, start a distinguished teaching career, marry an American, and become a mother twice over. It's fair to say her life didn't start until after her surgery.

So there must be a waiting room on the other side of this thing of about a thousand more people needing your optimism and humor and Jen-ness in this life. I'll count myself one of them.


Sarah said...

There are no words. As a fellow mom of two young children, all I can think about when I contemplate your situation is just--FUCK. What an unfair and maddening thing to happen. Sending you love and light and holding you in my thoughts as you and your family move through these next days, weeks, and months.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you -- thoughts and prayers go out to you for a speedy recovery. I look forward to more of you alive, kicking ass as a parent and peer, and speaking French (and maybe other languages too) when this is all done.

Carole Henne Strouse said...

Know that you are saturated in prayer. I too am a planner, but at this moment nothing else is a priority, just your recovery and renewal; let everything else fall away. Lean on the multitude of those you love and care for you to do what you can’t do at this moment. Kick any guilt that pops up to the curb. You will be able to do all those things again, and you may know then that they are not worthwhile enough to continue. Just do the next right thing, that you can and need to do. Please know that “You can do all things through Christ who gives you the strength you need.” Love, Carole

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