I have breast cancer.

I don’t know what to write, or to what to say, or how to gracefully explain this bomb that landed in my life. I’m slightly numb and my vision is blurry and sound is in a vacuum.

But yeah. Cancer is basically the headline news in my life today.

I have breast cancer.

I had a mammogram in the end of August. No one told me to do it, I just knew I hadn’t had one in 3 years and I needed one. I’d never had a 3-D mammogram before, so who knows if the calcifications that showed up this time were there before or not. All I know is they didn’t see them on my last one from 2017. Then they called me on September 21 to schedule a follow up mammogram. They told me to save time in that appointment for a breast biopsy if necessary.

I knew the second she called for the follow up that I had cancer. I have strong intuition, but I kinda doubt myself sometimes. There was no doubt this time. I knew I had cancer. I knew they’d have to do a biopsy last week, and I knew it would come back as cancer. This is all just to say–pay attention to your gut instincts. They are most likely 100% right.

I talked to the “oncology navigator” today, and have a heap of gratitude for my current health insurance. I have a “navigator.” She’ll set up my appointments and basically be my personal cancer assistant. It’s like being in private school. I had 15 months of private school when I got my second MA in Teaching from Pacific University. It was very decadent, and I am truly appreciating the special treatment right now.

These are the doctors I’m meeting with, in my multidisciplinary approach. Naturally in our 20 minute call I kept detailed notes.

I’m meeting with all three of these doctors in the next two weeks.

I have two oncologists and a surgeon.

What is happening??????

I have estrogen-receptive cancer, so they’re likely going to pump me with drugs to block the estrogen from going cancer haywire in my body. I’ll probably have to have my IUD removed, but it only has a year left anyway. I will be put into menopause. I’ll either have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. If the lumpectomy doesn’t get all the cancer in good margins…I’ll have to have a mastectomy. SO. Puke emoji.

I’m not sure how I feel about either the lumpectomy or mastectomy. After the biopsy last Thursday my right breast turned green and purple. The skin where they punctured my breast is tough and hard. When I took my shower on Friday morning and removed the dressing like they told me to…I had to sit down on the side of the tub. I was so nauseated and faint from seeing my breast bruised and witnessing a bloody hole in it that I thought: “I am going to faint in my shower.” I don’t know why that affected me so much to see the beat up breast, but it did.

I have to admit, I am very very vain about my right breast. It is my favorite breast. I mean. I like both of them. I have taken really good care of them and they don’t look their age, they’re still very perky after nursing two babies and being 50. But the right one is the smaller one, and she’s perky and happy. She’s just always been my buddy.

And then she decided to go all rogue and have a cancer party inside. What the actual F, favorite boob?

I am not going to die right now. This I also know. I really do, I’m not just saying that to make you feel better reading this. What I also know is that my life lesson to learn here is this–I need to learn to accept love and help from others without being able to reciprocate. I need to learn to let people see me at my absolute unvarnished true self. I need to let Jess see my worst, and I need to let all those that want to help, to help.

Of all the things that piss me off about this, that is the #1 thing that pisses me off. I am going to have to let people help me. My first thought upon potential diagnosis after the biopsy was “I don’t want Jess to have to deal with this.” Or, “I don’t want my family to have to deal with this.”

When I realized that is where the lesson lies I actually got physically ill. I could feel the nausea surge through my body. This is how hard accepting help is for me.

I know it’s a trauma response to be ultra-independent. I know it’s not normal to think it’s weak to ask for help and accept favors and support. I know it in my head, but really, I don’t know it in my heart at ALL.

So, I’m working on it.

After work I went to the rimrocks with my emotional support animal. She’s not registered that way, it’s just her self-appointed job. She knows it’s what she’s been called to do.

We had fun and we saw big rocks.

Take care of yourself. Your physical self and your emotional and mental self. They all live inside your body.



  1. Jen,
    We love you and while we are worried, we know that you will kick cancer to the curb. I’m proud of you for telling us. Thank you for sharing it with us and not keeping us all in the dark. I think that positivity matters and so we believe that you can do anything. Such as gutting an old house and make it your own or kicking cancer to the can. I know it’s tough for you to ask for, and especially accept help. But you can do this too, and I think it will be healing for you. I love you and will be following you on this journey.

    • Thank you so much for being such a light in my life. I can’t believe how lucky I am to have you as my friend and as my pastor. <3

  2. I love you, Jen ❤️ You are often my inspiration for looking inward and knowing I have so much work to do still. I had no idea when we were kids, that we would have so much in common (internally) when we became adults. Thank you for showing me strength, love, acceptance, and self-reflection.
    I know you’ll get through this and I know you’ll have so much more to teach us all as you survive this new challenge.
    I love you 💛

  3. Jennifer, I am so sorry to hear about your latest health challenge ❤ Sending you strength & affirmations for recovery. I know a number of women who have survived this journey successfully, & have faith that you will too!

  4. I’m putting the white lite on you sweet girl. Sending you peace, energy, and buckets o’ love.

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