Our Story Series
Jaclyn is a fun-loving spirit who enjoys exploring the world. She loves to dance, dress up, hike, and meet new people with similar mindsets. She is sarcastic, funny, and the kind of person who is able to break people out of their shell. In 2020, Jaclyn was diagnosed with stage 0 DCIS, around the same time as she was diagnosed with the MLH1 variant of lynch syndrome.
She explains that the hardest parts were:
The expanders, being told I couldn't be active or climb things, and the self acceptance after surgery. The sensation of the expander shifting everytime the muscle moved near my armpit still makes me feel a certain way. The hardest struggle I still have to this day is the thought of having sex with my new implants. My body knows these are foreign and it's a trippy feeling. It took me a year to even look at myself, properly dry myself off there, and start to process everything. They were here to stay. Although I have gained a lot of sensation back, it's not 100%. Communicating that with my next partner will be intimidating.
Jacyln shared an ironic anecdote about her cancer journey that created a silver lining between the intensity of surgery and recovery.
My final surgery date (Aug 11, 2021) unintentionally landed on my dad's birthday. He passed away a few years ago. My first initial mastectomy date was supposed to be on the day he passed (in January) but I moved it without even realizing the importance of the day until my sister told me. To this day I am still tripped out at how both dates turned up at such a monumental time in my life. Although my January appt was moved, I jumped at the bit to keep the August date.
When I came out of surgery, I popped up and went home to create a video of me celebrating. I'd like to think we celebrated together. This past August was my first year post surgery and instead of having negative thoughts I woke up in the best mood ever. How lucky am I to have been able to share such an important time in my life with the one man I credit the better parts of my character too. This is truly priceless and I will be forever grateful for the gift of life.
Jaclyn’s emphasis on the importance of mental health has helped her through her journey. She elaborated that she cares deeply about mental health and community, and believes that doing the inner work during tumultuous times will maintain resilience through it all.
THERAPY AND COMMUNITY HAS BEEN MY LIFELINE! I am the biggest advocate of finding your perfect therapist. Therapy helps me not only process hard times, practice mindfulness, it also helps give me the inner knowing that I will be able to effectively communicate my concerns with my partner. I will have the inner trust that I will find someone who will be safe and understanding. Most importantly, I will love myself, give myself compassion when needed, and remind myself I have all the tools needed to overcome whatever comes my way. How powerful is that!
Jaclyn’s biggest mental health advice for keeping a strong mindset is:
Take care of your mental health (this is everything), become self aware, and build fun memories whenever you can. This can include taking those sexy pictures before surgery, after surgery, and throughout the journey to look back on. This gave me strength and self love, maybe it will for you as well.
Jaclyn is now enjoying life as her adventurous self by returning to her regular activities, hanging with her cat, “Nike”, who she endearingly calls, “Pickles”, and sipping beverages in a mug gifted to her from her sister that says, “Show me your kitties”.
A vital part of Breast Cancer Hawaii's mission is to foster a supportive community for those impacted by breast cancer. Sharing stories like these helps create a safe space for survivors and lets others know that they are not alone in their journey.
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