Jennifer Weallans – Angel on Earth 2010

My name is Jennifer Weallans and just days before my 40th birthday, on September 25, 2009, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I found a lump in my right breast and made an appointment to see my doctor the very next day. He immediately sent me for a mammogram and the biopsy. The biopsy revealed I had breast cancer. I can’t even explain the emotions that went through my head-shock, fear, the unknown…

I had to decide either to remove one breast or both. Genetic testing revealed I was BRCA 1+ (a gene found in only 5% of the population)-I had a double mastectomy. Immediately following the surgery, I began reconstruction (six long hours of surgery) in November 2009.

From the mastectomy it was learned that my limp nodes were clear, (fantastic news) but micro spots of cancer are found within the cancerous breast. Chemotherapy was the best fix. My doctor has often told me that he hopes 30 years from now there will be a different treatment other than chemotherapy… that we will look back on chemo as being barbaric and people will be shocked that anyone actually went through it. I hope that day comes soon.

Once I begin chemo treatment, it was only a matter of time before I would begin losing my hair so I decided to take what control I could and cut it all off. I donated my hair to Wigs4Kids, a nonprofit organization. My hairdresser came to the house and with my husband, Simon, and my two sons, Jack age 7 and Max age 6 by my side I received the shortest pixie cut you can imagine. It made it much easier for on me when I went bald only in a few weeks later.

Chemo was difficult on my mind and body and relief came when I finished my last treatment in April 2010. In June 2010 I had another surgery to replace the expanders in my chest with breast implants. Once my body healed I had my final procedure-the removal of my fallopian tubes and all ovaries. Because I am BRCA1+, my chances of getting ovarian cancer by age 80 are 54% and the survival rate for ovarian cancer is currently 50%. As the phone rang on this past September, I had a rush of feelings-this was the expected call from my doctor telling me of my anthology results on my ovaries. I am happy to report I am now has CANCER FREE as I can possibly be.

I feel great and I’m training to run the fifth leg of the Free Press Marathon this October. To say this past year has been a whirlwind is an understatement. We have so many of our own Angels that have surrounded us and made our lives easier. The cards, e-mails, meals, play dates for the kids, rides to activities, hugs, tears, and the laughter have all helped me get through this life altering time. It really does take a village!

I am proud and lucky to be a BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR and I am honored to be this year’s Angel on Earth. Thank you team Angels and thank you FIAT.

Health and Happiness Always,

Jennifer Waellans