“I was 30 years young, nursing my 8 month old baby when I found the lump. After the diagnosis settled in, I was determined to get through the year. My "to-do list" included a lumpectomy, 6 months of chemo, and 7 weeks of daily radiation. I thought then breast cancer would be behind me. One year from the date of my surgery I decided to celebrate being cancer-free with a tattoo of a cross with a pink ribbon hanging on it.  It’s on my left foot to remind me that my faith has been crucial in this journey.  Just weeks later, a scan showed a recurrence in the breast. Another scan showed several lesions in my bones. I was 31 and forced to confront the illusion of immortality due to a terminal diagnosis.

I decided my focus would be to see my son go to kindergarten. At the time, he was almost 2, and I knew the odds were against me seeing this goal. I continued on in treatment until my body couldn't keep up with working full-time, being in treatment, and being a divorced, single mom. So, I left my job and when statistically I should have been dead, I created my bucket list, which I named The Magic 7 of 2011. After accomplishing all 7, I wrote a memoir to thank those who helped me in my feat. "Learning to Live Legendary" was a surprise to everyone! I truly am content in my life. I've learned my time is a precious commodity. I've also learned that quality of life is extremely important, especially when quantity of life is unknown. With this new year came a new theme: the Delightful Dozen for 2012. One goal, each month of the year. My goal for August...taking my son to his first day of kindergarten.  I’ll drop him off, then head to get another tattoo that says BELIEVE.”

Jen

Diagnosed age 30, Stage IV at 31

BELIEVE