Jennifer Slade-Hammond



I was a healthy, fit and active 44 year old with no family history of breast cancer when my routine mammogram picked up ‘something’ that turned out to be breast cancer. Shock set in and fear of the unknown. Then in an instant I was whisked into a surgeons office for a biopsy that confirmed breast cancer. I will never forget the moment that the surgeon, nurses and nurse coordinator came in with big binders that I eventually called ‘my great big book of cancer ‘. Genetic testing confirmed that my cancer was random and scheduling surgeries along with doctors appointments became my world. I had lumpectomy surgery and that was the easiest part of the journey. The surgery to place my chemo port was actually more painful than the lumpectomy. Chemo began and I end up hospitalized with an infection of what had been a previously healed lumpectomy surgery site and during my week long stay in the hospital I also began to lose my hair which I knew would happen and thought that I was prepared for but I later came to realize that there are some things, such as that, where it’s extremely difficult to be okay with. Chemo round 2 on and I have an allergic reactions to the chemo and become unable to breathe. Thank goodness for the amazing nurses and facility where I received my treatments who acted quickly and reversed that issue. Next comes radiation and I start having heart palpitations and allergic reaction to the radiation. My Oncology doctor refers to me as a unicorn now because it’s so unlikely to have al lol of these oddities in one person. I love the unicorn reference and throughout all of these situations that I refer to as the shenanigans I had the loving support of my entire family and boyfriend. Today I am almost 3 years cancer free and I am so deeply grateful for every sunrise. I volunteer my time at my local cancer organization and created my own team to walk and support the American Cancer Society Making Strides walk every October. I became a mentor /support person for newly diagnosed patients and am more aware today than ever before of how incredibly lucky I am.