Breast Cancer Survivor Stories: Meet Jen Barchers!

Over the next few days/weeks we’ll be reposting the nominations and photos from our breast cancer survivor contest in conjunction with KCMO Talk Radio and Cumulus Media! Today it’s Jen Barchers and her story as nominated by her husband Andrew Barchers:

Jen Barchers

I am writing to share the story of my amazing wife, Jennifer Barchers. Jen is one of the most unselfish people I have ever met. Her love is unconditional and determination to not disappoint is unmatched. Her battle with breast cancer has only highlighted these facts. On Friday, July 27, 2012 we received the dreaded phone call that confirmed my wife, Jen; at age 30, had breast cancer. A week prior Jen had opted for an excisional biopsy to remove a lump she noticed in her left breast during the drying up phase of breastfeeding our third child. It turned out that this lump was a tumor of an aggressive form of HER+ positive breast cancer that had already spread to the lymph nodes.

From the onset, Jen has viewed this diagnosis as nothing more than an inconvenience. She has worried more about how this would affect the lives around her than her own. She made decisions like keeping her diagnosis a secret to extended family so that an upcoming bridal shower for her soon to be sister-in-law would not be overshadowed. She immediately made an appointment with her stylist so she could donate the 14+ inches of hair that she had spent the last year and a half growing for Locks of Love. Of course she was sad and scared, but her sadness and fears were for me and our children. She worried about being too sick to care for our three young children and to play an active role in their energetic lives; she didn’t want their innocent childhood to be tainted by this terrible disease. She didn’t want me to be burdened with her sickness; knowing there would be many doctors appointments, surgeries, and treatment days ahead.

The treatment plan itself has never seemed easy. From a port infection, multiple surgeries, to the additional rounds of chemotherapy, there always seems to be a setback around each corner. However, Jen has never let the treatment define her. She has maintained her beautiful smile through it all. On days when I know her bones ache and she is just exhausted she still finds a way to get on the floor to play with the kiddos. On top of it all she has continued to work full-time, many times working on her laptop during chemo treatments when she should be resting.

For those that know Jen one of her passions in life is running. She ran competitively in high school and in college, and now uses running as way to maintain overall physical health. Jen has even incorporated running into her treatment referring to it as nothing more than a grueling cross-country course. As she says at moments you feel like you could run forever and at other times you wish it were over already, but you know at the end you will have given it your all and that is victory in itself. One of the few things Jen wanted to do since being diagnosed was to run in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure. So on August 11 of this year (while still undergoing treatment) Jen and I completed the 20th Annual 5K together “one of those special moments I will cherish forever.”

It has been inspirational to watch Jen run her personal race for a cure. Jen is a special person who has not let breast cancer get in her way of living and loving life to fullest and who remains to put the interest of others before her own. I know any survivor, including Jen, would be grateful to receive the care package being offered by The Maids and Susan G Komen Greater Kansas City. God bless all those who have been affected by breast cancer and may we continue to work towards a cure.

– Andrew Barchers

(Note: this nomination was added as a blog post vs. Facebook due to its length!)

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