Survivor Jenn Rosa, Life after Cancer & “The Middle”
This week’s guest on DJ Breast Cancer is my new friend and breast cancer survivor Jenn Rosa. It was a cold winter’s day in February and I was packing up for the end of my work day and I saw an email on my DJ Breast Cancer from a fellow survivor. It was one of those emails that was screens long on my phone and told her tale of how my podcast helped her through and how our journeys were so similar. My eyes immediately filled with tears and gratitude that what I was doing was making a difference in this world. Honestly, when I set out on making a podcast, I had no idea if my mom would be my only listener... My mission and purpose and reason for my podcast was always simple “HOPE”, Help One Person Everyday! To know that I was helping someone in active treatment was my dream come true.
Fast forward a few months, hundreds of Instagram posts and messages, some texts later, and I was headed to NYC for work, where Jenn lives. We made plans to meet up for coffee early and it was like we were forever friends. I came back to NYC a few weeks later and we started right where we left off!! It’s amazing how something so big and life changing like cancer can put some wonderful people in your path that just “get it”. I recently just watched a video on life after cancer and a survivor stated that it was not a bump in the road, but a fork in the road. Cancer allowed them to be a better version of themselves, an opportunity to make different choices. All of this is especially true for myself and Jenn.
Cancer found both of us at the peak of our careers, climbing the corporate ladder and fulfilling our pre-cancer dreams. I think you know how the story goes, like a Hollywood film, we both realize that work is not everything, relationships and LIVING your life are what matters! What the Hollywood movie forgets to tell you is that cancer sucks, re-entry to work is hard, and cancer can make you question everything you loved and worked so hard for, leaving an empty hole in its place.
Jenn describes the difficulty of “life after cancer” but also shares hope and joy and talks about the positive changes that followed her diagnosis. Jenn also describes this space called “the middle”. Note that we are not saying we are middle aged (even though we both turned 40 shortly after cancer), but there is a space in social media with a need to discuss cancer and career. This is a life stage with unique needs and sometimes some unhealthy habits. Neither Jenn nor I blame ourselves or our jobs for cancer, but having cancer can provide a much needed opportunity for version 2.0, a healthier and hopefully happier version. Balance, rhythm, exercise, priorities, are challenges we all face, but a cancer diagnosis can shine a light and make us truly see ourselves and demand that we be present and have a purpose.
I am so happy to have Jenn on my podcast this week, but I am even happier to have a new friend to talk about life after cancer, to share my fears with, and to learn and grow in this new life after cancer.