39, diagnosed at 36, no family history, no know genetic mutation
ILLUMINATING. Our theme for A Calendar to Live By 2021, INSPIRED, shares the word that resonates most with each of our calendar ambassadors and reflects the woman she has become since her cancer journey began. Jessica's word is ILLUMINATING. Here is her story.
When her (now ex-) husband mentioned one day that her left breast looked different, Jessica laughed it off. But in the shower later, she noticed that her left breast did, in fact, seem to look different – as though it were pulled downward. Her doctor ordered a mammogram, which led to a biopsy and a diagnosis of stage 2 breast cancer. Her treatment included chemo, a double mastectomy and reconstruction, then radiation. While breast cancer did have significant negative impacts on her life, including the breakup of her marriage and the loss of some other friendships, Jessica feels that her journey has led her in a positive direction. She has learned to take herself more seriously and to put herself first more often, plus her faith that God has a plan for her has strengthened. She aims to help other women facing the challenge of breast cancer; part of that plan includes working more closely with the women of Here for the Girls. Illuminating is a word that has great meaning to her since her diagnosis. “I am so proud of myself and everything I have endured in life,” she says. “I want to walk out of the darkness as a shining light. I want to inspire others.”
MORE TO ADD: "I was happily married and at the top of the mountain in life, planning to start a family and build my future. When diagnosed, everything was removed from my life. My husband left and I was in menopause now. This was harder than having cancer. I want to be a support for women who are hit with the same challenges."