Young mom’s cancer story went viral. Now she’s cancer-free
CLIFTON — At Just 32 years old, Jennifer Waller couldn't believe she was waging a battle against colon cancer.
And after an invasive operation removed the cancer, Waller said she is more determined than ever to help others in their fight against the disease.
Earlier this year Waller went to her doctor complaining of "vague belly pain," which ended up revealing she had colon cancer. A video she posted on her Facebook page encouraging young people to get screened spread like wildfire around the globe.
With no family history of colon cancer, and no warning signs that she — a nurse — would think to look for, Waller said she was shocked by the diagnosis. Because most people are not screened until they reach the age of 45 or 50, Waller said she could have died had she not caught the cancer as early as she did.
Waller said being cancer-free will be just the beginning for her. She shared the good news about her surgery in a post on Sept. 13.
"I have hit some ultimate highs, unbearable pain and moments of how am I going to be able to do this," she said. "But I'm getting stronger everyday and all these scars will only remind me of what I am fighting for."
She ended the post by saying "buhbye Cancer."
The next day, Waller went into more detail, calling the time around her surgery "the most physical and emotional week of my life." The tumor was successfully removed, and 27 lymph nodes that looked "suspicious" or "inflamed" were also checked, all coming back negative.
"Tears poured down my face and my throat got so tight I couldn't speak," she said. "I have been given a gift and I plan on fully using it."
Using that gift starts with a project she is calling "Jen's Journey," which she told New Jersey 101.5 will "hopefully help people to assist patients and their families and give light during their time of darkness."
The motto for Jen's Journey will be "In a world where you can be anything ... be kind," she said.
"I believe if we all continue to spread these small acts of kindness we can bring more light into this world," she said.
Waller's original post has been viewed more than 45,000 times and shared on Facebook at least 400 times.
Information on colon cancer screening can be found on the website for Screen NJ. On its website, the project is described as being "committed to reducing cancer incidence and mortality through an effective cancer prevention and screening program."