Three weeks ago, Jennifer went to her very first mammogram, and at 41, had no reason to worry. Two days later, her OBGYN called her at work. He hadn’t even read the full mammogram report...just enough to want to know if Jennifer knew about the mass.
Three hours after that, the radiologist told Jennifer her gut feeling: that she found a cancerous area in her left breast. She left with appointments for biopsies, a surgical consult, and a radiology oncologist consult.
The biopsy was scheduled on October 4, and it was no surprise when it was confirmed on October 7. Stage one. Intermediate grade. A span of over 8 cm. At first, there was hope that a lumpectomy and radiation would be the best treatment option, so long as the size and area remained the same when Jennifer had her MRI the following week.
But it didn’t...the MRI revealed an additional spot, so she was up to 9.5 cm. With that size and the depth of the area, Jennifer is no longer a candidate for lumpectomy.
Jennifer lost her stepdad to lung cancer when she was 24, and lost her mom to lung cancer when she was 34. Her only family is her 12 year old daughter, Aidyn.
The best treatment option for Jennifer now is a double mastectomy, with immediate reconstruction. Her lymph nodes (at least three to five) will also be removed during the surgery. The hope is that her nodes will be clear and no additional cancer will be found, to eliminate the need for additional chemotherapy or radiation. Her goal is to do both the double mastectomy and the reconstruction in one surgery, which will be a difficult process, but the best option to keep the amount of time she must be out of work to just over two months.
Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for pathology to discover more or invasive cancer following the surgery, which is scheduled for November.
Aidyn is understandably terrified. This will affect her future as well; Jennifer will see a genetics counselor in December and have various tests conducted to see if she is a carrier of the BRCA genes, or other genetic mutations that could’ve caused her cancer at a young age. Regardless of the results, it will be recommended that Aidyn begin cancer screenings and mammograms at 25.
Jennifer moved to Duluth from Minneapolis in 2017 to take care of her daughter full-time. She is already a single mom working two jobs to get by and to provide her daughter with the life she deserves. I created this GoFundMe for Jennifer because between the doctors appointments, taking care of her daughter, and working as much as possible to try to stay afloat in the face of this medical battle, she has not even had the time to take a day off to process this new reality.
With the impending complicated surgery and the months of recovery to follow, Jennifer will be unable to work and will need as much help as possible to keep her family afloat. This GoFundMe will contribute to housing costs, utilities, groceries, outstanding medical costs, prescription drug costs, necessary mastectomy undergarments, travel costs, and holiday gifts for Aidyn while Jennifer rests and recovers. She is bravely trying to do this on her own, but needs our help. Any amount, even a dollar or two, can help make all the difference.