Survivor since 2008

I have always been very active.  I eat healthy foods, avoiding store-prepared products and choosing instead to can and freeze my own produce in the summertime.  I gave birth to my three children using absolutely no drugs, because I thought it would be healthier for me and the baby.  I was a little overweight after having my uterus removed.  I carry my weight very well; I lost 30 pounds but only one pant size.  I walk, I hike, I bike.  I do not drink soda, but instead consume lots of water with some tea, coffee, and red wine for variety.  To my three sisters and to my parents, I am the picture of health.

When I got a pain in my right abdomen, I was sure it was appendicitis.  It lingered.  It worsened.  So I agreed to go to the doctor.  Turns out, it is a blessing my appendix was still with me, because it saved my life.  I still have it.  What I do not have are my ovaries or my fallopian tubes or several lymph nodes and part of my greater omentum.  I was diagnosed with a Granulosa cell tumour, which translates to a rare form of ovarian cancer that is highly curable when found early.  Mine was particularly aggressive, so I had to undergo a wicked nine-week stretch of chemo.  Each of my sisters is missing her appendix, so I am vigilant about hounding them to go get their female organs checked.  Regularly.

Many blessings have befallen me during this trying time, not the least of which was having a set time frame for my chemo.  A close-ended time was much easier for me to accept.   Another was getting to know those kind and generous souls who are oncology nurses.  A tremendous blessing for me was that, after being told I had cancer, I did not wish I had done something different with my life.  There was no epiphany about wishing I had climbed more mountains or loved my family better, because I was actively doing what I loved and loving who I live with and living each day to the fullest. I was upset because it interfered with my living a life I thoroughly enjoy.  But now I am back.  I have to go for checkups and I really, really, really, really don’t like my hair this length.  But it is growing and I am healing and life is, still, continuously, joyfully returning to my damaged body.  I am grateful that this was a physical attack and not an attack of a spiritual nature.

I am, truly, blessed.


  1. Kara Diemer says:

    We are blessed to have you, Jennifer! You are an inspiration to us all – through you love, joy and hardworkingness. Your story was deep and said everything it needed to – but I missed your amazing humor! Keep doing what your doing girl cause God has His hand on you.

  2. Chris Burkhalter says:

    Hey sis!!! I am SO proud of you; SO elated that you are still with us..You are an inspiration to all..I love you SO much; I’m SO thrilled that we can have many more dinners out together…Looking forward to the pool; the new grandchild this summer!! I pray every day that you will continue to get stronger..Keep growing your hair so you don’t look so much like your “dikey” sista!!! Love you SO MUCH!!! the crazy one…

  3. Jessy Rippy says:

    AUNT JENNY!!!!! You truly are such an amazing and inspiring person, I don’t tell you that enough but you truly are;) I have looked up to your fighting courage throughout your journey and am so proud of you and so excited to see you so happy, healthy and to read a little of your story on the internet. God has blessed you in more than one way and I can’t wait to spend more of our journies together;) Love ya so much! xoxo Jessy

  4. Elle Q says:

    Hi Jennifer!
    This made me really happy reading this. 🙂 You’re so great, and I miss your optimistic outlook on everything! I hope to see you and Claire this summer. You’re a great role model and I’m so glad that I know you!
    LOVE, Elle

  5. Kris Biggs says:

    Hi Jen! Thanks for sharing your wonderful story with others. Working with you has been a pleasure for many different reasons. You truly are one of the kindest, loving, caring and most giving people I know. You are selfless, always helping others. Now I can add to your list of attributes that you are brave and an inspiration to all, whether they have cancer or not. You are so positive about everything and have such a love for life, that is so obvious. Thank you for blessing my life as well as others with your presence! Kris

  6. Kathie Ashmore says:

    Oh gosh, Jen, the tears are coming. Your story is heartwarming, and we are so blessed to have you here with us on Earth. Your ability to see good in all things is very inspiring. You are loved!!

  7. Chelsea Veltri says:

    Jennifer I am so proud of you! When I see you online sharing your story with so many people in the world I can just see the hope that you are giving people. Because I know you so well I have seen you live everyday of your life to the fullest. Everything that you said in your survivor story was true and so real. Cancer will drive you to live your life to the fullest everday, but you didn’t need cancer for that. You are an amazing person already who never wastes any of the gifts that God has blessed you with. I love you, Chelsea

  8. Kim Diemer says:

    Jennifer, you are such a blessing to all of us! For so long you have been a shoulder of support for my family, and I personally can’t thank you enough for being such an inspiration for how to live. Love you, Kim.

  9. Bert Cooper says:

    I am so proud of my sister in law, you are one that keeps us all focused on the important things in life way to go. Even during this battle you always prayed for others. Thanks for all you give back to others.

  10. Mary Jo Diemer says:

    The world is definately a better place with you in it. You have inspired many, many friends with your positive approach. Hope you live to be 100!

  11. Tom and Ashley Crews says:

    Hi Aunt Jenny!
    You are an amazing woman! Throughout your time spent fighting cancer you were always (and still) very optimistic, I admire that in you. You are an inspiration to everyone around you. I thank God that it wasn’t your turn, because we still need you here on Earth. We love you so much and continue to pray for you in your recovery.

    Tom & Ashley

  12. Jessica Vollendorf says:

    Jen, you are the most amazing person I know. What an inspiration you are to others! I enjoyed reading your story and am soooo happy you are well. I loved the part about how you didn’t wish you had more or did more in your life. Not many people are content with what they have in life. You are a great role model and I am positive you will help others get through their battle with cancer! Love you, Jess

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