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Jenn’s Story (Breast Cancer)

Jenn's Story (Breast Cancer)I am a married mom raising two teenage boys. I am a print and textile colorist by day and a freelance writer, blogger, author, and Tamoxi-babe by night. I speak frequently at cancer centers, health fairs, and libraries making it my mission to inspire, educate, and empower women dealing with their own cancer diagnosis. Why? Because I have survived breast cancer…twice. Here is my story.

Diagnosed for the first time in 2007, with no family history of the disease whatsoever, I was astounded at the lack of resources for young women battling breast cancer. Most books on the market were geared toward older women that viewed the cancer diagnosis as a ‘gift’ using it as a catalyst to take an early retirement and slow down their lives. Could I relate? Ummm, no. I was 38 years old with two young children ages 9 and 11. Slowing down was not an option…and retirement? Yeah right, like that’s gonna happen. As a freshly laid-off fashionista going through chemotherapy (yes, because companies can legally do that) I found I had an awful lot of time on my hands. So I began writing. First it started off as a documentation of doctors appointments and tests, peppered with my snarky comments simply for my own amusement. It then evolved into a journal that truly helped me process my feelings, and as I neared the end of my treatment I began to think that my experience may help other women in a similar situation. The book, “Does This Outfit Make Me Look Bald? How A Fashionista Fought Breast Cancer with Style” was born. I attended writing workshops and hired an editor. I self-published and began a website for all things bald. ​Ultimately, I wrote the book that I needed to read.

I dished the nitty-gritty details doctors leave out and took a difficult subject and created a witty and okay-to-laugh-out loud memoir that moves the reader through the unmentionables of breast cancer using poignant humor and my favorite rock lyrics. No niceties here – I kept it real – from chemo brain and the torment of the unofficially yet aptly named Nipple Torture Test to red pee and drop foot.

It was all good until five and a half years later when I was diagnosed again (yes really, because once wasn’t enough fun). This was not a recurrence but a brand spankin’ new cancer at my lumpectomy scar, an anomaly that can happen 20% of the time. Who knew? So off with my boobs! A bilateral mastectomy was a no-brainer now and as I recovered I took to my Facebook fan page for Bald and began documenting my second journey in both “Confessions from the Chemo Chair” and “Chemo Girl’s Words of Wisdom.” Today, I am cancer-free and I am a regular blogger on the Marlboro-Colts Neck Patch as Beating Cancer With Style – The Fashionista Fights On! I’ve had an article published in Coping With Cancer Magazine and I will continue to write and submit articles to various cancer and non-cancer related publications. I found that I have a lot to say … it just took the damn cancer to find, and free, my voice. So come along and join me for the ride. To learn more about me check out my website and become a fan on the Facebook page for my book: “Does This Outfit Make Me Look Bald?”

New Jersey
Submitted 05/08/2014

The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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