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ABOUT TOWN: Stoughton Spiritual Leader Rev. Jean Lenk Remains Upbeat Despite Cancer Diagnosis

Welcome to "About Town with Mark Snyder," a column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what's going on around town. If you see or hear something we could use here, let us know by sending an e

STOUGHTON PRAYS FOR REV. JEAN LENK: Rev. Jean Lenk was leading a very busy life, like most of us.  The spiritual leader of the First Congregational Church of Stoughton on Pierce Street. for the last eight years, she is also a mother of four, wife to her husband Peter, and caretaker of her 92-year-old father, who lives with them.   

She was preparing for Holy Week, the most solemn week of the church year. Ironically, she got life-altering news on Good Friday.

The 59-year-old Lenk told About Town that she wished to share the news that turned her life upside down, and the faith that she has that it will be righted once again.     

She said, “I learned that day [Good Friday] that I have Stage IV cancer.  It started in my pelvic region, and it had spread to the T6 vertebrae, both my lungs, and my thyroid. My only symptom, back pain, began in mid-January.  My primary doctor referred me to an orthopedist. He thought it was muscle strain and put me on PT and pain pills.  When that didn’t work, he ordered an MRI.  My doctor called, said something looked funky, and ordered a CAT scan.  I met with the oncologist on Good Friday (the timing is beyond ironic) and he had the unhappy task of explaining to Peter and me the extent of the cancer.”

Lenk immediately started a three week course of radiation to try to shrink the tumor in her back. It was close to her spine and threatened her future mobility.  Then, she’s slated for a course of chemotherapy.

Rev. Lenk is on medical leave for as long as she needs to get well.  As I mentioned, she’d like to share her journey with her friends here in Stoughton, and beyond.  

She wrote, “I am deeply grateful that I will not be making this journey alone.  I have my family, my Church, and God who will accompany me THROUGH the valley (not into it) to healing, hope, and new life on the other side!”  

You can follow her story at  https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jeanlenk.  You'll have to sign yourself in to that site.  Her page's password is ihavefaith.  She wanted me share that with all of you, so that you will visit her there on a daily basis.  

Leave Rev. Jean some words of encouragement, and let the community surround her with love.

She is having a biopsy on her spine tumor this morning (April 5) at Study Hospital in Attleboro. She wasn't as concerned about what the biopsy would show, or the course of  treatment or long-term prognosis.  What was she thinking about? She blogged, "I'm really more worried about how I'm going to fare without eating from midnight to the 11:30 a.m. biopsy, and whether I should go to the nail salon when it opens to get my fake gels removed so the oxygen clip will register accurately."

Her sense of humor, spirituality, intelligence and love are fully intact.  We here at About Town wish her a speedy recovery, and we'll let you know how she progresses.  But, do drop into "caringbridge" for Jean's own words as each day of her recovery moves forward.  

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Michelle Bailey April 05, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Praying for you to be comforted by those nearest to you now.

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