JahnNell L. Shofner

Breast Cancer Survivor

"I found my breast lump just 2 days after my 41st birthday.  I already had an appointment scheduled to see my Primary Care Physician that next week for my annual wellness check. Upon arrival to my appointment, I showed my doctor the lump that I had found and she informed me that I needed to have a diagnostic mammogram. This was the first mammogram that I had ever had in my life.

I went to the Unity Point Health Breast Center in September 2015 and had a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound that same day. The doctor informed me that I have breast cancer and will need to be scheduled for a breast and lymph node biopsy immediately. I had the biopsy of the breast lump and 1 swollen lymph node about a week later. I was informed that I had Stage 2 breast cancer with no lymph node involvement. What a relief!

"I found my breast lump just 2 days after my 41st birthday.  I already had an appointment scheduled to see my Primary Care Physician that next week for my annual wellness check. Upon arrival to my appointment, I showed my doctor the lump that I had found and she informed me that I needed to have a diagnostic mammogram. This was the first mammogram that I had ever had in my life.

I went to the Unity Point Health Breast Center in September 2015 and had a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound that same day. The doctor informed me that I have breast cancer and will need to be scheduled for a breast and lymph node biopsy immediately. I had the biopsy of the breast lump and 1 swollen lymph node about a week later. I was informed that I had Stage 2 breast cancer with no lymph node involvement. What a relief!

 

I went to see my breast surgeon and she scheduled me for a lumpectomy in November 2015 at Unity Point Health Methodist Hospital. During my surgery, my family was informed that I was now a Stage 3C with lymph node involvement. I had 28 lymph nodes removed and 15 were positive for cancer. This was devastating news for my family! 

Within a couple days after my surgery, my breast surgeon was very insistent that I have a PET scan done. I had my 1st PET scan in December 2015. My PET scan showed that I was now a Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer patient with metastasis to my bones. This news changed my life forever. How could I tell my children and my family this news? At that very moment, I knew to surrender my life to God. With his love and mercy, He would see my family and I through this cancer journey without a doubt. Since this particular day, we have seen countless miracles happen in my life.

 

I was scheduled for an appointment to see Dr Le-Lindqwister at Illinois Cancer Care. I started chemotherapy and anti-HER2 therapy in January 2016. After 6 rounds of chemotherapy, I had a PET scan and it showed No Evidence of Disease. I received 30 rounds of radiation therapy to my left breast at the end of May 2016. I had about 2-3 weeks without radiation and then went back for 30 more rounds of radiation for on my spine and ribs finishing that in early September.

Through this entire storm, I have continued to lean on God for strength, courage, wisdom, and perseverance. He has been my Rock, Refuge, and Keeper of my Life. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Nursing in October 2015 and wanted to continue to pursue my dream of becoming a Nurse Practitioner. But… I feel that right now God has different plans for me. My biggest dream right now is to be able to help the next woman that has to face this trial and hardship in her life and find a cure for Metastatic Breast Cancer.

 

I want to be able to reach out to women and their families with the knowledge that I have obtained through my Stage 4 journey and to tell them that there is always hope and to never give up on their dreams. Nothing is ever impossible with God. I love the woman that I become because I fought so hard to become her.

 

I wanted to share the meaning and origin of the Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer Ribbon since not many people are aware of its derivation.  The origin of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Ribbon is very unique and detailed. The base ribbon is green and teal to represent metastasis. Green represents the triumph of spring over winter, life over death, and symbolizes renewal, hope, and immortality while teal symbolizes healing and spirituality. The thin pink ribbon overlay signifies that the metastatic breast cancer originated in the breast."

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