Friday, October 11, 2013


(Copyright ©2013 Jennifer Ledda Vennes/Keep the Calm)
The breast cancer blogging community has lost another wonderful woman, wife, mother, blogger to the scourge that is breast cancer — Jen "jelebelle" Vennes. She was 39.

Jen penned the supremely well-written, super honest, often raw and always inspiring blog, KeepTheCalmI'd been following her story since Spring 2012, when she first wrote about the chemo drug Navelbine (something her nurses jokingly referred to as "navy bean"), which was part of the trifecta of chemo drugs she was desperate to have work...

She asked the tough questions and blogged about it all. "What about this thing called cancer is realistic? Half the people I communicate with in this cancer community seem to be people this theoretically shouldn’t be happening to… but the ‘shoulds and whys’ don’t apply when life is on the line. We all live, breathe, and walk certain lines, some of us luckier than others, some of us more determined than others, some with love and life and death all mixed within. So when meditating on completion of my stint in chemo jail, I allow myself some wishful thinking. Instead of why me’s, how about why not me? I get to best this beast into remission right, all by the end of this summer, right? Good luck navy beans, we have a race to win."

I loved her sense of humor. I believed in her navy beans. I liked her idioms. I left a comment. She was gratious enough to write back. 

Eight months and many blogs later, December 2012, her tone had changed. She wrote: "My body is aged and perhaps I will not ride a horse through the hills of Spain again, but I will see the New Year emerge with brighter tomorrows with the help of a little oblong pill that I sing to, four days a week. It’s my edge in the chess game... One step ahead, one song for the soul, one step down to the house and one step up towards my sweet son’s bedroom. Forty two steps and then some towards the road to healing."

I believed in those 42 steps. But those 42 steps were not to be. 

R.I.P. dear Jelebelle.

And thank you, AnneMarie at Chemobrain, for alerting the breast cancer blogosphere.

To read more about Jen's life — which includes being diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant with her only child — please click here.
Want to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer? Forget the pink. Sign up with the inclusive Army of Women and Health of Women studies. You can make a difference. We need your help. Sign up, spread the word. Thank you.


  1. It's truly heartbreaking. It's just too much, really.

  2. Renn this is so sad... when someone is taken much too early... :(

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Renn. Just so sad to lose another one, and so young. Just breaks my heart.

  4. Oh, Renn. This makes me so sad. Yet another family's heartache... wishing it could stop.

  5. oh Renn...... what a beautiful tribute. I'm moved to tears. I didn't know Jenn but that smile! oh, I have chills. will read more now. thank you for sharing her with me. xoxo

  6. dear Renn,

    your words about Jen and the hopes and dreams she had - so very sad she didn't get to see them fulfilled. she was such a beautiful person, and her writing always so poignant, especially when she spoke about Milo. thank you for your lovely tribute to her, and for letting everyone see that sweet and beautiful smile on her face.

    much love and light,


  7. Renn, I'm so sorry about yet another loss due to the SOB that is cancer. Your tribute to this woman is amazing. Sending you hugs.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I need to be aware of this!


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