I met Jessica through the Kick Ass Cancer Mamas Facebook group. Here is her story…
Tell us your story / stats:
I was 14 weeks pregnant with my first child. We were thrilled! We had been trying for years and I was finally pregnant! I was watching TV one Sunday evening when I felt a tingling sensation in my left breast. I touched it and there it was… a lump. I immediately consulted Dr. Google and the results I found were cancer. I freaked out and started crying and by the end of the week I was diagnosed with stage 2B inter ductal carcinoma breast cancer. I was 34 years old and have no family history of the disease. I was upset, but I put those scary feelings aside and I knew I had to be strong for my baby. I waited so long to meet him and I wasn’t going to let anything bring me down, not even cancer. The next day after my cancer diagnosis I went to Babies R Us to start my baby registry because I wanted to focus on the future and the happy things happening in my life. My treatment included six rounds of chemotherapy while my son was still in the womb, I gave birth, had a lumpectomy two days later, followed by twelve weeks of Taxol, and finished with 36 rounds of radiation. Today, I am on Tamoxaphen, Lupron, and I’m “cancer free.”
Where are you at in life now? Mentally, physically, emotionally…
I struggle with depression, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed. I see a therapist on a regular basis and take Effexor for my depression/anxiety. Sometimes it takes everything in me to get out of bed every morning. I cope by moving my body, being creative, and learning new things. I love to read and listening to podcasts.
What are you passionate about? Is this different than what you were passionate about before dx?
I love being creative! I am passionate about photography, music, journaling, makeup, fashion, and home decor. When I was younger I was creative, but I decided to pursue business when I was in college because I didn’t want to be a “starving artist.” Creativity fills my bucket! I thrive on creativity and it’s something I didn’t make time for before cancer, but today I make it a priority.
Do you have any short term or long term goals that you are actively working towards?
I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! I’m having fun exploring different career options. I love helping people and a dream of mine is to start a non-profit for cancer mama retreats.
What’s the latest happenings in your life now?
I’m working on rebranding my blog to incorporate other topics besides cancer. Cancer will always be a part of my life, but I’m so much more than my diagnosis! Follow my instagram @joyfulaftercancer if you are interested in home interiors, makeup, motherhood, mental wellness, and breast cancer awareness!