About (2011)

2010 Picture with Santa

My name is Jen Will. I am a 31 year-old wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and now breast cancer patient. My seemingly healthy world changed the week of April 25, 2011 when a series of tests – ultrasound, mammo and a biopsy were performed on a suspicious mass on my left breast. On Friday, April 29th I learned of the official breast cancer diagnosis (invasive ductal carcinoma) from my family physician.

This first week has been a whirl-wind of tears, prayers, research, doctor’s appointments, phone conversations, hugs, more tears and more prayers. To many, the word I am about to use may seem odd or inappropriate considering I am now a breast cancer patient, but I am so BLESSED to have such a supportive group of people who are surrounding me during this journey in my life. My husband, mom, dad, sisters, extended family, church family, friends, co-workers and even acquaintances have already shown me an unbelievable amount of love and support. It is because of them, and the comfort of knowing that God is with me on this journey, that I have chosen to name my blog “Not By Will Alone”. Everyone that that chooses to read this blog is proof of that.

I will use this blog to chronicle my journey with breast cancer, but this journey does not define who I am. I have a wonderful husband, Matt, and two beautiful children, Elli (2.5 years) and Owen (9 months) who bring me great joy and happiness. You’ll learn of them, our life together and the joy, sorrow, anger, fear and victories that we will face together.

28 responses to “About (2011)

  1. Jenny – I’m not sure if you will remember me or not… it has been several years since we were a part of each other’s lives… we were in college together at IUPUI in the School of Education. I am currently teaching a 5th and 6th grade gifted class in Lawrence Township in Indy, and the music teacher mentioned being from Berne, IN. I said, “I went to college with a girl from Berne!” She was shocked that I had even heard of it, and asked who I knew. When I said your name, she told me of your battle with breast cancer and sent me the link to your blog.

    Thank you for sharing your heart and the real life struggles of being a mom of young children as you battle this terrible disease. I appreciate your candidness and willingness to share the way things really are. I will be praying for your family, your health, your peace, and your strength as well as for total healing.

    Because of Jehovah Jireh,
    Jenny Goff

  2. Hi Jen….I think we have some mutual friends….Leslie Payne and Greg Perigo….anyway, I want to share my hopeful story….I am an 18-year survivor! I was diagnosed when I was 27 and living in Fort Wayne. I endured all the crappy chemo and radiation for months on end. Since then, I moved to Indy for a job, have had two kids and have finished one full marathon and many half marathons and am a serial non-profit volunteer. Last year I lost 55 pounds after getting a little fluffy!! Please feel free to email me if you want hope and to see what can be on the other side. I was going to write a book “What NOT to say to a cancer patient” after journaling (this was before blogs) but decided to let the anger go…my email is hargens4@sbcglobal.net.

    Annette Roy Hargens

  3. Hi Jen! I am 41 had my first mammogram July25, followed with an ultrasound the same day. Then a biopsy on July 29. Waiting until Aug.3 to find out the results. ( Because Why would I have Breast Cancer?). I love reading your story. It is so true, it makes you cry, laugh, get mad, all the above. I would love to meet you. God Bless, Judy Middleton

  4. Hi Jen. My name is Chelsea Earlewine and I am on the Board of Directors for a breast cancer foundation called The Rack Pack Foundaion: http://rackpackfoundation.com/. Our foundation would like to send you one of our LoveHandles Care Bags to help you through your breast cancer treatment.

    My sister (a mother of two young children, also) was diagnosed around your same age. Keep fighting! Never give up! I can tell you are an inspiring person with a strong passion for life. I’m so happy I came across your inspiring story.

    If you feel comfortable – please send me an address that we can mail one of our Care Bags to. We are located in Salt Lake City, UTAH.

    Peace. Love. Hope.


    Chelsea Earlewine
    Rack Pack Foundation
    Board of Directors

  5. Jen, I am your cousin. From the Davidson side of the family. My heart goes out to you and yours. I will wear my pink for you and everyone else affected and changed by the horrible disease. I hope that you inspire MANY people to start checking earlier and not being a wimp when it comes to a mammogram. I myself, at 41, having no immediate family affected, will be checking a little better considering we do have some of the same genes. I am a nurse and have seen others fight your battle and win, you will do! Much love and prayer! – – Your newly found cousin, Tracy (Davidson) Johnson.

  6. A friend forwarded your blog to me. I am 44 and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. i am having a bi-lateral mastectomy in two weeks. thank you for sharing your words with all of us.

    i am a former collegiate volleyball player also! it is cool how iupui has a match. i will be active at getting one started at my school!

    God bless to you and your family!

  7. Hello Jen,
    I read the Indy Star article and then went to your blog. I am 31 and was diagnosed January 5th of this year, so I am a few months ahead of you in my treatment. I had my bilateral mastectomy prior to starting chemo. Prior to surgery, my doctor gave me an AMAZING tank top/bra made by Amoena to wear after my surgery – you must get one! It has removable drain pockets.
    I really am enjoying reading your posts, and will now follow your updates. Your honesty is touching. I can relate to so many of the emotions and feelings you share on your blog – thank you for sharing your voice with other young women who are faced with Breast Cancer. Take care of yourself and be patient. Recovery does not happen overnight. You will find your new normal.
    With love and Support,

  8. Hello! I wanted you to know I read you article in the Star. I am 48 years old and was diagnosed at 27. I have been cancer free since my initial diagnosis.I did have the bilateral mastectomy also. I had cancer in the left breast . I hope that you have many cancer free years ahead of you too!

  9. Hi Jen, I just read the Indy Start article. I was diagnosed three years ago today at the age of 41…I kinda fall right between the two groups talked about in the article. I opted to have a double mastectomy instead of a single too. And your words in the last line of the article…”I would never forgive myself if it (the cancer) recurred,” she said. “I want to make sure I have the best shot of not having to deal with this again.”…were my exact words when I told my doctors my decision. I too had all my treatments done (and still do) at the IUSCC. Much of your diagnosis seems similar to mine (from the article anyway…I’ll have to read more in your blog) Anyway, I’ll be praying for you! If you have any questions feel free to contact me. pkschoon@aol.com
    Also, being diagnosed in October I know that this month can be VERY PINK…and although that is good, it is also hard as a newly diagnosed person to have the constant reminder everywhere you turn. In the last couple years I’ve learned to love this month, but that first year I really didn’t like it at all. Being diagnosed several months ago you may or may not feel the same way.
    I’m going to keep the link to your blog handy, because I am frequently contacted when a friend’s, friend or relative gets diagnosed.
    Take care, Pam

  10. I don’t know you but read about you in the Indy Star on Sunday. Please after your surgery have follow up testing done. I had a friend that was “cured” with a double mastectomy, even though only one had cancer (she elected to remove both breasts for assurance) and later the cancer reoccurred because she was told by her doctor no more testing was needed. She did not survive the later cancers. PLEASE, PLEASE have follow up testing done, at least every year if not every 6 months. I know cancer is scary but it can be cured. You look like you have a beautiful family. Keep it all together!

  11. Hi Jen,
    Thanks for sharing your Blog with me. I’m touched by your bravery going through this. You are an inspiration to us all! I am glad you love the Lord and trust in Him and the powere of prayer. I will be praying for you and your family. Please let me know if I can do anything else for you.
    Amy Williams

  12. Jen: So sorry to hear about you having breast cancer. But, after watching the three Mertz girls play volleyball and basketball at South Adams for several years, I can say that you three were the most determined girls I ever watched play sports and if you are determined to beat this you will. Good luck and God bless and Terri and I will continue to remember you in our prayers. By the way, you have such a beautiful family.
    Bob and Terri Adams

  13. Hi Jen,

    You don’t know me but I know your family – Marcia is my special friend – I’m a 10 yr.
    breast cancer survivor. Les and I have been praying for you everyday. “What time
    I am afraid. I will trust in Thee.” Ps. 56:3 Keep trusting. Love to you. Carole Egly

  14. Jen,
    It was a great joy to see you and Matt yesterday. You are both such beautiful people, filled with uncommon grace. It is certainly not given to me to understand why great people have to be faced with adversity, but I know with certainty that you will battle bravely and that the WILL of the Will’s is strong enough to overcome this challenge.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. I can’t wait to celebrate the day when you are proclaimed Cancer Free!

  15. Jen,
    I have been thinking of you often as I know my mom has as well! Your amazing “Will” can conqour all that this thows your way. Keep those boxing gloves on, God is in that ring with you and you’ve got an endles amount of supporters who are rooting you on!!! Love to you and the family🙂 Love the family photo’s!!!! Hope to see you next time we are up from Knoxville!

    Leigh Ann Reynolds

  16. Hi, Jen I don’t know you personally but this blog was forward to me by a dear friend. I had sinus cancer it is three years remission. It was very rare type of cancer and the way they found it was a miracle. To make it short is I had alot of friends who stood by me with lots of prayers, love and support. I will be praying for you and your Family I am sure there will be a chain of them coming your way. Keep believing because He does answer prayers.

  17. Hi Jen,
    I haven’t seen or talked to you since H.S. and I was forwarded your blog. I just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you and your family! Take care and GOD Bless!
    Steph Brandt-Trausch

  18. Jen,
    I wanted to let you know that besides praying for Owen everyday, I now pray for you too. Bryan and I would love the opportunity to help in any way possible. If you and Matt want a date night I would love to be able to spend time with Owen and Elli. Just let me know how I can help.

  19. Hello Jen,
    Angie Malone shared this blog with me about you. I am the sales rep for your husbands office for Viva and am part of the optical family of supporters for you. My husband is also an Optometrist. There are so many people who have and have had breast cancer and are survivors and you will be too. Keep a positive attitude. Take care of yourself and know there is power in prayer and friendship. We will see you at Elizabeths wedding. Love, Patti Price

  20. Hi Jen! just wanted to let you know I am thinking about you and praying for you everyday. Please ask Matt to call with whatever needs done, whenever it needs done! Tim and I want to be there for your family, no task is too much to ask. We love your family and are blessed to know you. Please remember Bryce is very handy and only a holler away also! Be strong.–love, Anita

  21. Hi Jen, I am a friend of Kelly and Aarons. If the rest of your family is anything like Kelly, you are surrounded by very loving and compassionate people. My prayers are with you and your family during such a scary time. You sound amazingly strong. God Bless, Alicia Wittke

  22. Praying for you. I go to church with your sisters and i know you are blessed with a great family that loves you very much!

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