I met Jenn through the Kick Ass Cancer Mamas Facebook group. Here is her story…
Tell us your story / stats:
I was 34 at diagnosis, stage 3C IDC with 21 lymph nodes positive. I was a full time Hairstylist and had a 4 year old daughter! We had been trying to get pregnant with #2. For a year before diagnosis I had felt a lump, it only really bothered me during my period, until I got pregnant then the pain was unbearable. Went in to my OB office and saw someone other then my ob, she thought it was hormone related due to pregnancy. I was not convinced. I had been pregnant before and this wasn’t the same. Oddly enough that morning before going in I kind of had a gut feeling it wasn’t good.
C aside, tell us about yourself. What makes you, YOU!
I am a wife, mother and hairstylist! Unfortunately with all the lymph nodes I had removed, doing hair isn’t in the cards right now. I stay home with my 15 month old chemo baby Riley Joy! I sell Younique makeup for fun as I love makeup! I’m spending time making memories with my girls!
What went through your head when you were first diagnosed?
Am I going to be able to keep this baby? I don’t want to die! This isn’t fair! Why me? Hadn’t I had enough!??!!
What are some of your personal coping skills during difficult times?
Honestly having a good cry! I have since turned to God. Praying has really helped heal me. I have this amazing support group of Cancer mamas that are there when I need a pick me up! These ladies help more then can even imagine! They get me and what I went/am going through.
Tell us about your support system. Or lack of. Where do you get your support from?
My family and friends have been great! Well, of course you lose a few along the way. My sister in law came to most all of my chemo’s with me. My friends set up meal trains and play dates for Sophia.
Many people are unaware that you can do chemotherapy while pregnant. Thoughts and personal experience?
I was one of those people before diagnosis. I still didn’t know until I met with my High Risk OB, she looked at me and said “if you were my sister I would tell you to continue your pregnancy and we can do chemo in the second trimester. Knowing there were some risks with doing chemo while pregnant we decided we were going to continue with the pregnancy and I was going to fight like hell! I found my amazing KACM group and I knew if I had them in my corner with my husband, then I was going to beat this!
What have you learned about yourself since dx?
I am a heck of a lot stronger than I thought I could ever be. Life is so short, there is no reason you can’t do anything that you put your mind to! I never thought I would be informing young women about Breast Cancer, but if it is my path then I will travel it as far as I can!
What do you believe is a common misconception about being diagnosed? Or something that you’d like the general population to know about C.
That it had to be hereditary. I did the genetic testing and I don’t have the genes.
Thoughts on the pink…
Before diagnosis, I always bought pink for Breast Cancer, thinking I was making a difference! Little did I know that the organization I was donating to in fact did not actually give money or any help to women battling breast cancer. Donate to metavivor.org or the American Cancer Society.
Where are you at in life now? Mentally, physically, emotionally…
I now stay home full time with my girls. Everyday is different, some days I wake up and can get out of bed without pain, some days I can’t get out of bed due to the pain. Pain being from the anti hormone drugs I am on for the next 5 years and menopause as I had my ovaries removed also. I go to a therapist at least every other week for my mental health.
Do you have any lasting side effects- mental, physical, etc.?
My joints ache everyday, but I am actually taking CBD capsules and that has been helping!
Have you noticed any lasting effects on your families and friends?
My family thinks I should just go back to the person I was before diagnosis. However that is not realistic. I am forever changed, I no longer worry about big things, I worry about little things! Is this headache cancer, is this back pain cancer?
Whenever the day comes to travel to the “great beyond”, what do you hope people remember about you?
Honestly hate thinking about this but that I lived life and loved as hard as I could! I made them smile! 🙂
If people take away anything from your story, it would be…
Know your body! Advocate if you feel something isn’t right!