Sep 06

Okay, so there was one surprise in the pathology report.

In March, I was diagnosed with advanced cancer in my left breast.  Fairly early on, Brad and I made the decision that I would have both breasts removed because we didn’t want to worry that I would develop cancer in the other breast.  I am thirty-three, and I want fifty more years.  As a cancer survivor, I have enough things to worry about, and fifty years is a long time to worry.  Brad and I felt good about the decision to do a double mastectomy: one cancerous breast, one healthy-but-risk-of-cancer-later breast.  We both had a gut feeling to be aggressive against the cancer, present and future.  I felt a lot of relief that we were on the same page (can I just say again that my husband is AMAZING.)  Plus, to be totally honest, I am a fan of symmetry.  Walking around with no breasts seemed easier than walking around with one breast.  Maybe that is just me.  I never thought about any of this until I was forced to, and it is still surreal that these are decisions that I’ve made over the past six months.

After my surgery, all of the tissue that Dr. Awesome removed went to pathology.  My previous blog detailed the pathology of my left breast.

The surprise in the pathology report is that my right breast also had cancer in it.

I am surprised, Brad is surprised, Dr. Awesome is surprised, everyone is surprised.

There were two cancers in that breast, actually.  Cancer that Dr. Awesome thinks would not have shown up on a scan for two years.  Small cancers, “Stage Zero” cancers, but cancer nonetheless.  Cancer that would have gotten uglier with time, and would have knocked the wind out of me if we had discovered it, bigger, uglier, two years from now.

Brad and I are so thankful that we chose to be aggressive in our treatment, and conservative with my life.  We are so happy that this cancer is out.  We are grateful that we felt such peace about my surgery: clearly, it was the right decision.  Thank you God for leading us there.

For now, there are no new implications on the treatment plan or future actions.  The “old cancer” and the “new cancer” are gone now, so we are moving on to the next steps.  We see Dr. Wonderful today, and he will weigh in on all aspects of the pathology report.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  – 2 Corinthians 4:18


  1. Conservative management in any disease looking at the long term outcome is what is recommended in the research. But bravery, the willlingness to change some “Forever” concepts and cope with the diagnosis regquires a strentgh of character and vision of “what’s inside that counts”. You have those attributes and your Dad and I are so proud of you.

  2. newiefriend /

    Wow, the Holy Spirit was really leading you in that decision, so glad that you listened. Now you can rest easy, cancer free!
    Loved meeting and visiting with your mom. She knows my daughter, Andrea too. We have gone full circle. Will be fun to have future reunions with all of us! Your mom still has her Australian accent, she was so genuine. Surreal that you are both fighting this at the very same time. Good support system for each other. I can see why you are recuperating so well in their care.
    Julie stopped by, she looks great and so happy!
    Have a good day.

  3. Shannon Kahrs /

    Praise the Lord!!! I am also a fan of symmetry : ) I am pretty sure God is also : ).

  4. Rebecca /

    Wow, that is just amazing. By sharing your story I believe you will help so many people with what must be a very hard decision to make. I am totally a fan of symmetry too. 🙂

  5. H.A.L.L.E.LU.J.A.H. I also have always loved symmetry, but now there’s an even better reason to do so:) My mother taught me to “trust my gut” many years ago and that advice has always been spot on. Now my gut tells tells me you’re going to have a very long wonderfu, cancer- free life. Certainly I speak for all of us when saying, hopefully this blog will still be going strong when those two precious little girls are teenagers! ♥

  6. Terri Kaufman /

    I love hearing good news stories! My husband & I made the same choice for a double mastectomy 11yrs ago and we’ve never looked back. I also made the decesion not to have reconstructive surgery and have never ever regretted that either. I have always been an athletic & active person and it made no change at all in my daily life.
    We walk in God’s grace and Symmetry rules!

  7. Amy Wheeler /

    Absolutely stunningly wonderful. Strong work, Jen!! You are an inspiration. XOXOX

  8. suenitz /

    Hi Jen. I hope as each day goes by you feel stronger and stronger. I join you feeling joy and thanksgiving to God for answering our prayers and that your pathology reports were so good. God Bless you more and more each day with His peace and love.

  9. Hi there, you are an amazing woman! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  10. Jen ~ Thankful for a Grateful Heart !!!!! Oh once again, decisions we make now really do affect the future ~ either decision would have been a personal one ~ the road you chose is making the future road less bumpy in your cancer world 🙂 My eyes are filled with happy tears for you & your family. Have a Happy Happy Day 🙂 Continued Peace & Prayers

  11. Jen, the right breast cancer is God’s way of giving you peace of mind for the many years to come. He totally took away any second guess thoughts you might have had about taking the “healthy” breast. Love you, Dad xxoo

  12. Always trust your gut! So happy your recovery is going well! Continuing to pray for you and your family!

  13. Wow! God spoke to your and Brad’s hearts when you were making your decision…and you were both listening. I love your trust! And I love that you are sharing and inspiring us all!

  14. kathy swim /

    Dear Jen, I’m a friend of your mom and dad and I’ve been following your blog and praying for you, I’m also an 18 year b.c. survivor!!!!!
    You absolutely did the right thing to have both breasts removed! I will never regret that I did the same. You are a brave and wonderful woman with your priorities in the right place! Kudos to you and your wonderful husband. I will keep you all in my prayers! KBS

  15. sandileigh /

    You are so brave! And such a lovely example of faith in the face of something so scary. I will continue to pray for you and am rejoicing today with you for answered prayers!

  16. jen powers /

    YAY GOD! So happy you & Brad made that decision long ago…clearly you were walking in His leading. So happy you have clean margins. That is awesome. Praying for continued healing and peace and oodles of good news!

  17. Bonniebj /

    Can’t believe I just now had the time to read this amazing news…Mary gave me a heads up. Despite the seriousness of all of this I found a smile and some laughter thinking of you walking around with one breast 😉 Sooooo happy and grateful for the nudge and proactive decision that the two of you made. Thank you Jesus!! We are grateful beyond measure 😉

  18. Kim Bunn /

    Wow. I’m shocked. I’m glad that there was never doubt in your decision. Definately God keeping you and your family safe. I feel like you always felt certain to do the double mastectomy. I will keep praying that you are on the mend, and able to move around pain free.

  19. “Brad and I are so thankful that we chose to be aggressive in our treatment, and conservative with my life.” This sentence, along with your chosen Bible verse on this post, is such a wonderful testimony within your cancer story. Praise God!!

    On a lighter and much more superficial note, I had never considered the terrific blessing of symmetry before… what a great way to look at the silver lining… and the whole rainbow! 🙂