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Woman facing terminal cancer with joy and grace

10:35 PM, Jun 23, 2013   |    comments
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By Mike Bush

Chesterfield, MO (KSDK)-- When Jodi Allen shares a piece of her heart, it helps her get some peace of mind.

"The way she's been able to write in her own words her journey is nothing short of spectacular, " says her husband Jim.

For the past several years, the 41 year old mother of two has been writing an on-line journal with a consistent theme.

"Even during really tough times you can still choose to have joy, "she says.

We first met Jodi Allen at Missouri Baptist Hospital in 2010. She and her friends were dressing up in costume and offering patients in the cancer center some smile therapy to lessen the affects of their chemotherapy.

"I get such satisfaction out of seeing the joy on other people's faces, "she explains.

She started doing this after learning that she had cancer. Every week, she would put a smile on her face and a get a needle in her arm. Then, she says her smile got a little brighter.

"I went into sweet remission for two years."

If only two years had turned into thirty.

Jodi and her husband recently learned that the cancer was back and with a vengeance.

"The best way I can describe it is whatever it would feel like to be hit by a two by four, not once but twice, "says her husband.

Though the cancer has spread and doctors gave her a year to live, Jodi decided right then and there that she plans to do just that. Live.

"I think so much of what we worry about in our lives are things that could happen tomorrow but we still have today, "says Jodi.

So, the Allen's are spending more time with their two young daughters, 7 year old Emily and 5 year old Mia.
They even recently took them on their first trip to Disney World.

"It was so great to put cancer behind us. We left that here at the hospital and the infusion center and just went out and lived life, "said Jodi.

And then last week she was among the 40,000 people in downtown St. Louis for the Susan G. Komen race for the Cure.

"I originally said I didn't want to go down there because I didn't know where my place was, "Jodi explains. "I didn't feel like a survivor."

But she found the strength to not only show up but to run the 3.2 miles.

"Yeah, and I was running up that final hill, I just felt this huge sense of accomplishment, "she said.

Make no mistake, tears are being shed in this house everyday but when Jodi has to make her trips to the hospital, her cheerful spirit is still the most contagious thing in the building.

"She is able to find joy in the hardest situation, the most difficult situation. We are all standing in admiration of how she can do that, "says her friend Julie Purschke.

"I want her girls to know the wonderful person, the wonderful person their mom really is, "adds another friend Carolyn Miller.

As for those friends who've held her hand on every step of the journey, she can't hold back her tears when talking about what they mean to her.

Nothing can sometimes say far more than something.

Cancer can be a lonely road but more than 20,000 people have read Jodi's journal. Perhaps it's because they learn lessons about courage and faith.

"Whatever we are called to do, "she says, "Whether we like it or not, if we do it with joy and love in our hearts and a desire to serve other people then we will be successful in our lives."

With hope as her guiding light, Jodi Allen knows her final chapter has yet to be written.

Reading from her journal she says, "Again, thank you for your prayers and love during this very hard time. I do feel them."

you can find jodi's journal on caringbridge.org (jodijallen)

 

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