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Jeni: Class of 2010 | Delta Senior Photography

June 8, 2010

Have you ever meet someone and knew within the first few minutes, there was something extra ordinary and special about them??  That’s the feeling I got when I first met Jeni Kmic.  Jeni graduated from Delta High School a few weeks ago.  She emailed me about senior pictures and  if there was any way I could squeeze her in.  I did find it odd for someone to contact me after graduation, but after I found out why, it made perfect sense to me.  At the age of 16 (just two years ago) Jeni was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  As a side effect to her treatments, she lost all her hair.  It has finally grown back to the perfect length and she was officially ready to pose for the camera.   What an honor for Jeni to choose me–I couldn’t say yes fast enough!  I knew right away I wanted to tell her story here on the blog.  When I told her about my plan and ask if that would be ok, she looked at me with a big smile on her face and said: “That would be cool, but I don’t think it’s really a big deal”.  Cancer is no big deal?!  Wow, that blew me away.  So take a few minutes, sit back, and read about Jeni’s story as told by her mom.  Don’t forget to leave her a comment too!

Mid April of 2008 Jeni came home from school and stated that she had felt a lump in her throat.  Most things I try to let go but lumps make me nervous.  We took her to our family doctor and  he was concerned with the location of  the lump.  He was thinking thyroid problem so the testing  began for that.  Jeni went through several series of blood test including a thyroid uptake but all came back negative.  The second week of testing, Jeni came home from school and said that she was having a great deal of pain where the lump was and that she could not catch her breath, could not bend over and could not find any relief or comfort in any position that she sat or laid in.  I called the family doctor and he wanted her to go to the ER right away and have an ultrasound done.


Thankfully at the ER the ultrasound tech had already left for the day so the ER doctor ordered a CT scan from Jeni’s chest to her hips.  The scan showed that all of her lymph nodes were enlarged.  The ER doc then ordered a CT from her hips  down.  That scan as well showed all of her lymph nodes were enlarged.  They had also done a complete blood work up on her and that came back with some funky numbers.  The ER contacted  our family doctor with all of the results and he said it was ok of for us to go home but contact him first thing in the morning.

The hospital of course had given us the results of the scans and blood work but no diagnosis.  I know just enough about medicine to make me dangerous, so with what we had in our hands I knew things were not good, but I was holding out hope for an infection of some sort that could be fixed with some good antibiotics.  It was a long night.

Next morning I went to work and called the docs office right when it opened.  I was informed that today was doctors day off and I would have to wait until Monday to get a hold of him.  My heart sunk to my knees.  I was worried sick already and then to think of waiting until Monday–OMG.  So I politely said ok and made my appointment.  That day just drug on until about 3:00 and my phone rang.  Believe it or not it was the good doc.  Come to find out he had came in on his day off and was working on Jeni s case all day.  He told me what he was suspecting and that he had contacted Dr. S at Toledo Children s Hospital and had set up an appointment for us on Monday.  I was relieved to know that Dr. D did not desert us and that he had set a plan into motion.  It was a long weekend.

Monday came and what a whirlwind did we find ourselves in.  From the moment we walked in the doors of Toledo Children’s Hospital we felt like we were the most important people in the world.  The first person we met of course was the receptionist Tina.  We were greeted with her great smile and a feeling that everything was ok.  Next we met Beth what a wonderful and pleasant person to be with.  Beth took all of Jeni s vitals and put us in our room to wait to see the doctor.  I say wait but it was no time at all and in walks Dr. S.  I think that he and Jeni hit it off immediately.  He gave us a quick rundown of what he and Dr. D had spoke about  and what the day would hold for Jeni.  Lots of testing and a biopsy the next day.  We took a deep breath and said ok.  After a very long day of testing,  we went home to rest up for surgery.  We knew at this point that doctors were leaning towards some form of lymphoma but no complete diagnosis yet until after the biopsy.

The next morning, we met Dr. C the surgeon who will do the biopsy on Jeni.  Dr. C was a great guy and Jeni clicked with him quickly. So with the eternal great smile that Jeni ALWAYS has on her face they took our baby to surgery–the wait was unbearable.  Finally Dr. C came out and explained that they did a freeze biopsy on Jeni and found for fact that she had a lymphoma and that we would find out in the next couple of days if it was Hodgkins or not.  He also let us know that he placed her port and that Dr. S had taken some bone marrow as well. After a little bit of a wait, we were finally back with Jeni.  A little sleepy but still smiling.  The next day was filled with more waiting with lots of rest.  Thursday was back to the hospital for more tests and a PET scan.  The PET scan would show if the cancer was migrating and to where. Then it was home again for more waiting.

FRIDAY: Day of diagnosis.

Dr. C had told us that if we were praying people to pray for Hodgkins Lymphoma because it has the best cure rate. When got to the hospital, awaiting for us was Sue the social worker, Liz the nurse practitioner  (more angels) and Dr. S.

Good News! It was Hodgkins Lymphoma.  Bad News! It had migrated to her spleen and there was a mass over her heart.

Good News! Jeni has not exhibited any B symptoms night sweats ect.. Bad News! Chemo and radiation.

“OK.  What is the plan?” asks the 16 year with no fear or hesitation in her voice.  The adults all seem to be a bit stunned by this matter of fact reaction to this news.  We all seem to be waiting for a small breakdown.  Nothing? Not a tear?  Nope!  A willingness to fight this? YOU BET.  As a mother I could not have been more proud at this young women’s attitude.  WOW!!! But then another questions was raised.  They asked if she would be interested in being part of a study group if she qualified.  Again not an ounce of hesitation and If it can help someone else than of course . Again, WOW!

As the plan was laid out, and we were told what to expect during treatment ect, a small breakdown came when the words No Cedar Point, No Swimming were spoken.  Two of Jeni’s favorite summer activities.  Breath OK.  There is always next summer.  Lets get started!

We were told to plan for eight hours of treatment on the first day, it ended up to about twelve.  We met yet another angel by the name of Ruth.  Turns out we would spend a lot of time with her for the next four months.  The next day, about six hours of treatment and Ruth was there taking care of Jeni.  Then next day, even shorter treatment of about two hours–there is Ruth.  Then three days off.

For the next four months that was the routine. Mixed in that schedule was the agony of a sixteen year old girl losing her beautiful blonde hair, but managing to be even more beautiful with a bald head and ever present smile.  Also, sometimes being so tired but pushing herself to make every summer basketball camp & practice and every volleyball camp & practice. Gritting through an unexplained bout of exhaustion to be able to go volleyball camp and when she got back found that her hemoglobin was extremely low.  Looking back now she made it look so easy.  She never asked why me and never complained about having to go to the hospital all the time.  Just took everything and everyday for what it was.

Four long months later, by the grace of God and Jeni’s great attitude, she had been a complete responder to her chemo therapy. She was able to forgo radiation due to the fact she responded so well to the chemo and was part of the study group. She has had her port removed and all tests have come back negative for cancer.

Jeni’s hair has started to grow back. She played varsity volleyball her senior year and made all league and all district honors.  Best of all she was able to make a trip to Cedar Point and even swam a little.

Jeni’s beautiful smile is still ever present, and every day finds her growing stronger and ready for anything!

I made this storyboard to show off Jeni’s personality.  We had to cut our session short due to rain, but that didn’t stop her!  Most girls I know wouldn’t dream of getting a formal dress wet–let alone dance in the rain.  As I was searching the internet for quotes, I came across one and instantly thought I could hear Jeni saying this.  Congrats and good luck Jeni as you attend Ohio Northern for Volleyball.  I’m sure you’ll choose a major soon.


42 Comments

  • Cindy Dover · Posted June 16, 2010 at 7:56 pm · Link

    Wow Gloria these are fabulous. What a touching story…thank you for sharing it. Jeni you are now in my thoughts and prayers. God bless.

  • Kathe Barwacz · Posted June 14, 2010 at 3:20 pm · Link

    Loved the story and beautiful pictures, you are truly and inspiration to others who have been diagnosed with illness, and we are so glad we know you, good luck on all your future endeavors, though with your attitude I don’t even think you will need it. xoxo

  • Phil Stokey · Posted June 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm · Link

    Inspiring. Period.

  • Jill Kovnesky · Posted June 10, 2010 at 4:40 pm · Link

    Beautiful pictures, beautiful person! I am just getting to know Jeni! What an amazing young lady! What an example for young girls to look up to! Thank you Jeni. You are truly a special person. I am so blessed for you to be in my life but even more for you to be in my daughter’s life!

  • Morgan S · Posted June 10, 2010 at 11:20 am · Link

    Wow, what a strong young lady!! Many of us don’t or may never know what it’s like to go through something like this – but to take it one day at a time and fight this at such a young age with that determination is amazing! Praise God! And Gloria, what amazing pictures, it seems like she has a very fun personality and you captured it very well! :)

  • Traci Kayser · Posted June 9, 2010 at 11:02 pm · Link

    Jeni, You are an amazing person!!!! I love your pictures :) I wish you the best as you continue to live an amazing Life….

  • Natalie · Posted June 9, 2010 at 11:01 pm · Link

    I could tell there was something special about the pics in the rain! Jeni, thank you for sharing your story. Gloria, beautiful pics as usual!!

  • Amy Carroll · Posted June 9, 2010 at 10:23 pm · Link

    Beautiful images and what a beautiful person!! She is an inspiration! BTW love the images in the rain!

  • Ann · Posted June 9, 2010 at 10:22 pm · Link

    Jeni,

    Your pics are wonderful! God’s Blessings as you begin the exciting next phase of your life.

  • Summer · Posted June 9, 2010 at 9:50 pm · Link

    What an AMAZING story!!! She is an inspiration to all of us! And she is stunning!! Gloria, you did a BEAUTIFUL job of capturing her and her strength, her beauty and everything in between. These are so lovely!! LOVE THEM!

  • Tyjuana Hill-Smith · Posted June 9, 2010 at 9:22 pm · Link

    Wow! She is Beautiful. She definitely has been through alot in short amount of time she has been on this earth, but her attitude and determination just shine through in these pictures!

  • Chris Bruno · Posted June 9, 2010 at 9:03 pm · Link

    Kmic,
    I think that you should know that you are one of the strongest girls I know, and I greatly look up to you for all that you have gone through. You are a beautiful and determined young girl and there is no doubt in my mind that you are going far in life and you will succeed beyond expectations. Good luck in college and keep up your amazing spirits! I love you!

  • Jenniferer LaChance · Posted June 9, 2010 at 8:51 pm · Link

    What an amazing young woman! Glo – you captured her spirit wonderfully – it just shines through in each image! Congrats to you Ms. Jeni and good luck in college!

  • Robin · Posted June 9, 2010 at 8:38 pm · Link

    What an amazing story, accompanied by beautiful pictures! Gloria, you should have warned us that we would need the Kleenex! Jeni, you are a beautiful girl with what seems to be an amazing spirit! I know that God will continue to shine through you and inspire many others with your story!

  • Sara · Posted June 9, 2010 at 8:00 pm · Link

    Wow! This is an amazing story! Thanks for sharing it Gloria! And of course, always GREAT pictures! Jeni, thank you for letting Gloria share your story! It is very inspirational! Good luck in everything! Always keep your head held high, like you have!

  • Kendra · Posted June 9, 2010 at 7:38 pm · Link

    Beautiful girl and beautiful job as usual Gloria. From one survivor to another…you R-O-C-K!! Best of luck in anything you choose to do with your LONG LONG life!!

  • Sharon Miller · Posted June 9, 2010 at 7:18 pm · Link

    Glo, you’ve done a fantastic job with Jeni’s senior pictures. Wow, what a heart touching story of such a strong, beautiful, determined young woman. This really is inspiring.

  • Rhonda · Posted June 9, 2010 at 7:17 pm · Link

    I am blessed to know Jeni through her heartfelt mother, Mary. Jeni is truly an inspiration to us all by her faith, strength and determination. The pictures have definitely capture her spirit and beauty.

  • Katie Zuch · Posted June 9, 2010 at 6:44 pm · Link

    WOW what an amazing story! Thanks for sharing, all of you! What a beautiful girl!

  • Aunt Jo · Posted June 9, 2010 at 6:34 pm · Link

    Jeni, What an inspiration you have been to me. The pictures were worth waiting for you a beautiful person outside and in. You’re mom warned me and I’m still balling like a baby. Good luck in your future endeverous I know you will go far. Love Aunt Jo

  • Leigh · Posted June 9, 2010 at 5:54 pm · Link

    Through her Aunt Beth & Uncle Dennis, I have come to learn about Jeni and her remarkable triumph. What perserverance and humility. Jeni truly has a gift of inspiration. These photos and heart-wrenching memoirs tell a story of faith, hope and LOVE.

  • Darlene · Posted June 9, 2010 at 4:02 pm · Link

    Such an amazing story – thanks for sharing that with all of us. Love all these images – so gorgeous. Love those rain shots – but I really cannot choose a fav!

  • Julia · Posted June 9, 2010 at 3:34 pm · Link

    Inspiration to us all! Not only by having an amazing attitude, but also by having an amazing sense of fashion! Jeni these pictures are amazing! I am SO proud of you. A strong person to begin with, Jeni is a perfect example that getting through struggles can only make you stronger! I know she’ll be successful no matter what! Although, I’m not sure Ohio Northern knows what they’ve got coming… someone should warn them!

    I love you Jen Jen!

    -Proud Cousin

  • Justin · Posted June 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm · Link

    Beautiful young lady. Beautiful pictures.

  • Christina · Posted June 9, 2010 at 1:10 pm · Link

    What an amazing story of inspiration! Thank you for sharing it with us. Jeni, you are an inspiration to all of us. Your positive attitude and determination will take you far in life. May God continue to pour his blessings upon you!

  • Mary Kmic · Posted June 9, 2010 at 12:56 pm · Link

    Gloria…..It takes a very special person to be able to capture a special persons essence. You have done just that with Jeni! These pics show her inner spirit and the glory that is Jeni. JOB WELL DONE!!!! Jeni chose the right person.

  • Kelli Adams · Posted June 9, 2010 at 12:53 pm · Link

    Beautiful girl, wonderful story and the pictures you took are stunning!

  • Cindy Holmes · Posted June 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm · Link

    Stunning! Great pictures! Jenni, may your Guardian Angels lead you to exciting adventures- all better than the next!
    All our love, Cindy and Mike

  • Carrie Ingratta · Posted June 9, 2010 at 12:16 pm · Link

    What a great inspiration you are Jeni! You have touched many lives. Auntie Gabby is always keeping us posted on you and your progress and I am so happy to hear that you are doing great! You are definitely a beautiful Woman inside and out! Good luck in College! Today, because of you I am just going to enjoy life and for that I thank you! (friend from Norridge)

  • JUDY ALDRICH · Posted June 9, 2010 at 12:12 pm · Link

    Jenni — you were amazing thru it all!!!! Your Mom, Dad & Nate are so proud of U! God’s Choicest Blessings now and always! Gloria photos are wonderful.
    Love U Jenni. Charles and Judy

  • Maria · Posted June 9, 2010 at 11:43 am · Link

    WOW! What a story. There has to be more people like Jeni in our world. I know of only one other, her name is Molly. Molly, just 9, has Lukemia. She has the same glowing attitude as Jeni. I am going to share Jeni’s story with Molly and her family.
    Thank you for sharing. Jeni you are a beautiful young lady. I will keep you in my prayers.

  • Renee Whiting · Posted June 9, 2010 at 11:17 am · Link

    I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes looking at this BEAUTIFUL young lady! She is truly a hero! Glo, these photos are amazing and without knowing her I’d say that with your words and photos you’ve captured her personality and heart perfectly! May God continue to bless her and her family!

  • Kathy · Posted June 9, 2010 at 10:55 am · Link

    Jeni is one of the most amazing young ladies that I have met! Your pictures complete reveal her beauty and her strength and the quote is a mantra to her spirit!!

  • Dawn McCarthy · Posted June 9, 2010 at 10:38 am · Link

    FABULOUS!!! What a beautiful way to share Jeni’s story Glo.

  • Aunt Gabby · Posted June 9, 2010 at 10:24 am · Link

    Jeni – My eyes are filled with tears – tears of happiness and joy. I am so proud of you and happy for you. You truly have an amazing outlook on life which we all can learn from. You are a beautiful person inside and out. Never let go of that smile! Great pictures!
    Love you!

  • Aunt B · Posted June 9, 2010 at 9:51 am · Link

    Not fair Jen! Your Mom did not warn me that I would be crying over these beautiful pictures. I was not prepared to read the wonderful words put to your pictures. You are my HERO!

    Love you,
    Auntie B

  • Laurie · Posted June 9, 2010 at 9:36 am · Link

    Jeni, you are so stunningly beautiful inside and out!!! Thank you for sharing your story. With your spirit and determination, you will go so far. Gloria, your work as always is amazing.

  • Sarah · Posted June 9, 2010 at 9:11 am · Link

    Jeni you are an amazing inspiration! Bless you and your strength and positive attitude! You are as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside! I have a feeling you can do anything you set your mind to and college will be an amazing experience for you! Beautiful shots and I ADORE the storyboard Glo!

  • Sue Ann · Posted June 9, 2010 at 8:48 am · Link

    I think we ALL could learn a thing or two from Jeni! What a wonderfully beautiful girl and of course Glo, you have her wonderfully beautiful pictures to match! thank you Glo and Jeni and Jeni’s mom for sharing her story! Truely uplifting!!!!

  • Carrie · Posted June 9, 2010 at 8:31 am · Link

    WOW what a beautiful ending for such a beautiful girl. Very inspiring, your pictures really show the spirit of this wonderful young lady. Jeni wishing you the best in all you do and Glo thanks for the glimpse into another beautiful life :)

  • Stacey Lund · Posted June 9, 2010 at 7:50 am · Link

    What a lovely young lady. She is so pretty, and I love her bright smile.

    Her story, brought tears to my eyes. I am glad she was able to have such a positive attitude throughout the entire battle. She sure sounds like a strong person.

    I know she will love her senior pictures, as you did an awesome job. Love the location too.

    The storyboard is beautiful!!!

  • Lauren · Posted June 9, 2010 at 12:10 am · Link

    As a long time close friend of Jeni’s, I can honestly say she is the strongest person I know! She is like a little sister to me and I could not be more proud of this positive, energetic, sweet, beautiful girl. She is amazing and has many angels above looking out for her. It’s attitudes like Jeni’s that able some people to fight through the largest bumps in the road of life. She is so beautiful inside and out, I mean I’ve never seen a prettier bald headed girl :) After such a difficult time, Jeni is just beginning her life as she graduates high school. I have no doubt in my mind that she is going to be very successful and accomplish many things in the years to come.

    Good Luck, Jeni! I love you and am so proud of you, girl!
    <3

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