Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent and life-altering health issues women face in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer at some point in her life is approximately 13%. The impact of these words, "you have breast cancer," reverberates through the lives of thousands of women every year. In this article, we share the inspiring journey of Jennifer Breen, a friend and former colleague, who defied the odds, fought against this relentless disease, and emerged stronger than ever.
Discovering the Initial Concern
Jennifer's story begins in March 2020 when she noticed a small lump in her right breast. Concerned and determined to address the issue promptly, she reached out to her gynecologist for an examination. However, the timing couldn't have been more challenging, as the COVID-19 pandemic was sweeping across Michigan, leading to closures of medical facilities and doctor's offices.
Her gynecologist, considering Jennifer's age, initially dismissed the lump as a minor concern, advising her to monitor it for a month and report back if it didn't resolve. This response, however, didn't sit well with Jennifer, prompting her to seek a second opinion from her primary care physician. This decision proved to be pivotal, as it ultimately saved her life.
A Lifesaving Diagnosis
Jennifer's primary care physician wasted no time. After a thorough examination, she referred Jennifer to a breast imaging team. The specialists conducted tests that revealed not only the initial lump but also a smaller, secondary lump. To err on the side of caution, they recommended a biopsy. The days leading up to April 1st, 2020, were filled with uncertainty, anxiety, and apprehension.
On that fateful day, Jennifer received a life-altering phone call from her doctor, confirming what she had feared - it was indeed breast cancer. Her life was suddenly turned upside down, and she found herself grappling with a diagnosis that coincided with the global uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Battle Begins
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Jennifer was determined to fight her battle against breast cancer. She embarked on her journey with remarkable courage and resilience. She was fortunate to find an exceptional team of breast surgeons, plastic surgeons, and oncologists, who would become her unwavering support system throughout this arduous journey.
At the end of April, Jennifer underwent a mastectomy and her first reconstructive surgery. After six weeks of healing, she began a series of chemotherapy sessions, with the added burden of facing them alone due to COVID-19 restrictions. The pandemic prevented friends and family from accompanying her to provide the emotional support she needed during this challenging time.
Triumph over Adversity
Jennifer's journey was a testament to her strength and determination. On April 12th, she completed her final round of chemotherapy and transitioned to anti-hormone therapy, a treatment regimen she would follow for a decade. Over three years have passed since she completed chemotherapy, and her health has remarkably improved.
Jennifer's dedicated team of doctors continues to closely monitor her well-being through regular check-ups, blood work, mammograms, and MRIs. Her journey has been an inspiring one, showcasing the incredible power of human resilience in the face of adversity.
The Importance of Early Detection
Jennifer's story underscores the significance of early detection in the fight against breast cancer. If she had not insisted on a second opinion from her primary care physician, the outcome could have been entirely different. It's a stark reminder that being proactive about your health, even during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic, can make all the difference.
Finding Support in Community
Jennifer's journey was made more bearable through the support she received from various organizations. She found solace and camaraderie in The Pink Agenda, a community that played a pivotal role in her mental healing. Their collective strength, understanding, and resources offered Jennifer a support system like no other, showing that there is strength in unity, even in the face of adversity.
Jennifer's remarkable journey is a testament to the strength of the human spirit in the face of one of the most formidable challenges—breast cancer. Her story serves as an inspiration to all, highlighting the importance of early detection, resilience, and the power of community support.
Breast cancer affects the lives of thousands of women each year, and Jennifer's story is a reminder that with early detection and unwavering determination, one can overcome even the most challenging of circumstances.
To support Jen's cause, we've created a limited edition t-shirt and will be donating 20% of all the proceeds to The Pink Agenda to fund cancer research and raise breast cancer awareness. Join us in making a meaningful impact. Get your limited edition t-shirt here!