Jennifer Stellwagon

First post: 7/11/2017 Latest post: 11/12/2017
Welcome to Jennifer's CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.


I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2016, at the age of 46.  Not just any breast cancer.  Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC).   TNBC is a rare form of breast cancer that only effects about 12-15% of the women who develop breast cancer.  Not only is it a rare cancer, it is difficult to treat and has a less than favorable outcome.  It is not receptive to many of the treatments that are used for breast cancer; it lacks three of the main hormones used in treatment.  I spent spring and summer completing 16 weeks of chemo.  I lost my hair and my ability to taste foods, but I never lost hope.  I was scheduled for a double mastectomy on Oct. 18th.   The morning of Oct. 13th I had a low grade fever and my pre-surgery blood work showed I was severely neutropenic.  My neutrophyl levels were critically low.  I spent the next three days and nights in the hospital.  My surgery was postponed.  Finally, on Nov. 1st I was healthy enough to withstand surgery.   I was nervous about losing my breasts, but more than ready to have any cancer that may be remaining OUT of my body.  The months on Nov. and Dec. were focused on my breasts.  Healing and reconstruction took up most of my time and energy.  As well as the holidays with four young adults children, and of course my more-than-amazing husband.  The new year brought a new treatment:  Radiation.  Twenty eight days, to be exact.  My last treatment was Thurs. March 2nd.  Almost a whole year of my life had passed.  It was time for more healing and preparation for a summer surgery to replace my expanders with permanent implants.   On June 16th I had back-to-back appointments with my radiation oncologist and plastic surgeon for final approval and scheduling of a late July or early Aug. surgery.  
Instead of walking out of the office with a date on the calendar I had three stitches from an impromptu biopsy.  
One week later, I would get the news no cancer patient wants to hear.  It had returned.  It probably never really left :) 
As many of you may not know, when breast cancer returns it's terminal.  TERMINAL.  Yikes.  (At least in the year 2017).
So that is my story and this is my current battle.  A battle for my life, and a battle to remain positive and cling to hope in spite of such horrific circumstances. 

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