There are many defining moments in our life. Moments which make a difference, perhaps change how we feel or do things. I know for sure Jennifer’s biggest defining moments was the birth of our children. Jennifer lived each day for our kids. I believe a lot of their future success will be largely due to the quality time Jennifer spent with them. Their happiness and well being was her top priority.
The moment which defined Jennifer’s courage, strength and extreme positive attitude was August 25th, 2011. This was the day our journey with Cancer began. The details of that day will always remain with me, but more importantly, I will never forget how a mild manner, soft spoken, beautiful woman became such a heroic figure. From the very beginning of our 4 1/2 year journey, Jennifer decided to take the positive approach. It was a conscious decision each morning. No matter what the day was going to bring, she insisted on having positive energy around her.
On our daughter’s 12th birthday Jennifer had her surgery to remove the Cancer. On a highly emotional day, Jennifer found peace within. I found it quite amazing, someone afraid of needles would be so calm and peaceful going toward an operation. When the doctors spoke to her after the surgery and explained the seriousness of her Cancer, her reaction wasn’t despair. Her reaction at the time was unexpected but true to who she was. She looked at the doctors and said “Let’s do this”. She had already in her mind beaten the Cancer.
Jennifer did extensive chemo and radiation treatment. They were very physically demanding days and sometimes emotionally challenging.
To help her get through those days we would use a distraction. For us it was simple. Jennifer had a passion for traveling. We would always plan a trip for the breaks in between Jennifer’s treatment. Planning the details were always kept for treatment days. It allowed us to replace something negative with positive. Jennifer and I both felt this approach would give her a better chance. I still believe it was the right approach.
After 2 years of living with Cancer, Jennifer noticed something wasn’t right. Test results confirmed Jennifer’s Cancer had spread. This time it appeared as spots on her bones. Jennifer’s faith and belief didn’t waiver. Once again she took the “Can Do” approach. We continued treatments and continued our same approach. Planning trips and enjoying our time together. During our travels Jennifer would meet many wonderful inspiring people. In return she was inspiring those around her.
Jennifer had many successes with Cancer. She won several battles and kept the Cancer under control for a number of years. Jennifer lived 4 1/2 years with Cancer. It became the new normal in our daily routine. Jennifer has proven, it is possible to live a happy, fulfilling life against great odds. On January 25th, 2016 Jennifer unfortunately lost her final battle with Cancer, but not before teaching everyone around her the importance of staying positive.
Jennifer was a wonderful mom, wife, daughter and sister. Her influence in our life will remain with us. I believe Jennifer’s approach to fighting Cancer prolonged her life. Her positive attitude and outlook will continue to inspire others through her foundation.