Jen: "Learning to Live Legendary"
"I can't have breast cancer, I don't even have a cavity!" was my initial thought. Not that they go together, of course, but 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. Just 3 months after radiation, 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. 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. As I was wrestling with the new Stage IV diagnosis another epic battle began: divorce. I couldn't focus too long on cancer before I had to turn my attention to the divorce, and then back to cancer. Maybe it was a blessing dealing with both at once so I couldn't consume myself dwelling on one or the other. I continued on in treatment until my body couldn't keep up with working full-time, being in treatment, and being a 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! Most recently I've been named to the Parkland College Athletic Hall of Fame, not for my athletic abilities, but for my work as an advisor and advocate with students, and athletes, at the community college for almost 10 years. 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 the 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
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