Jennifer “Jen” Lowright is a fighter, an overcomer, and an inspiration. She’s survived a deadly diagnosis and endured intense tragedy. But the brave woman chooses to focus on her blessings. Like Emmie, her miracle baby born after breast cancer and the loss of her husband.
Jen Lowright of Illinois went to high school with her husband, Chris. But it wasn’t until they reconnected later in their 30s that they fell in love and got married.
The “in sickness and health” part came early for these newlyweds. Just six weeks after the wedding, Jen received her deadly diagnosis of breast cancer.
“It was already at Stage 2. It was a very aggressive cancer,” she said.
Things could have been worse had they not caught Jen’s cancer when they did. Had she not been having annual mammograms since turning 31, it would have been too late. So, Jen urges women everywhere to stay on top of their mammograms to allow for early detection.
“Had I not done that, I firmly believe I wouldn’t be here,” she said.
Young Wife Battles Breast Cancer
Jen’s doctor recommended she begin having annual mammograms at 31 years old because of her dense breast tissue makeup. Each yearly checkup came up clean until 2008. At 34 years old, the scan uncovered a tumor in her left breast.
An ultrasound and biopsy confirmed Jen’s worst fears. The tumor was malignant.
“You don't really tune in when you hear that diagnosis,” she recalled. “It's the ultimate devastation.”
After so many years of clean scans, the diagnosis came as a huge shock. Suddenly, Jen was in the fight of her life. But she refused to give up and refused to let the news keep her from enjoying life.
“This is not gonna take me,” she said after getting the news. “I'm gonna fight this. I'm not gonna die from cancer.”
As she braced for battle, Jen brought her closest family members along as she met with multiple doctors for second opinions and treatment plans. She encourages anyone facing a health scare to have friends and family join them at appointments.
“As a patient, you're not gonna remember every question to ask,” she says.
Along the way, one of the doctors recommended Jen see a reproductive specialist. And as it turns out, this was God preparing Jen for the future.
Since some cancer treatments can interfere with a woman’s infertility, the specialist recommended Jen consider freezing some of her embryos.
“I would never have thought about that,” Jen admitted.
Determined to beat her breast cancer and live a full life, Jen and Chris decided to harvest nine embryos. That way, once Jen was cancer-free, they could start their family.
Success After A Long Fight With Cancer
Battling breast cancer was no easy task. But this inspiring overcomer did her best to keep a positive outlook.
Jen had both breasts surgically removed. But she says the chemo treatments were even tougher to take than her mastectomy. All of her hair fell out almost immediately.
“It wasn't like I had a lavish hairstyle, but it's how you identify yourself,” she explained.
The physical and emotional toll the treatment took on Jen was hard. But she managed to keep a sense of humor through it all.
“Emotionally, when you go to take a shower and you have no hair to wash and no body to shave, it's like, ‘What do I do with myself?’ One minute shower and I'm done,” she laughingly recalled.
After a five-year battle, Jenn finally got the all-clear in 2015. Now, it was time to start building a family with Chris.
Miracle Baby Born After Breast Cancer
Jen and Chris were eager to become parents after Jen’s five-year cancer battle. But another two-year journey awaited them.
Each time doctors implanted embryos in Jen’s womb, she hoped and prayed for a baby. But she and Chris kept coming away heartbroken when the pregnancies didn’t take.
“It's really tough to keep a positive outlook,” Jen said of the tough IVF battle. “Every bloodwork, and then you wait for the call. Every ultrasound, and then [you listen for] a heartbeat.”
It took four treatments and all nine of the couple’s frozen embryos. But finally, at 42 years old, Jen became pregnant.
Even her doctors celebrated the success.
“Jennifer is an incredibly strong and resilient woman that endured a nine-year journey to motherhood,” said Dr. Allison Rodgers, Jennifer's reproductive endocrinologist. “By being proactive and preserving her fertility before undergoing breast cancer treatment she was able to ensure a chance at motherhood after her recovery. She is truly a survivor and an inspiration to those who want to have a family.”
After so many failed attempts, this was Jen’s miracle baby.
But the blessing soon became even more treasured when tragedy struck in Jen’s life, yet again.
True Overcomer Faces Tragedy With Courage
As Jen and Chris eagerly awaited the arrival of their little girl, Emmie, tragedy hit the family hard. Just months before meeting their miracle baby born after breast cancer, Chris passed away unexpectedly.
Losing her husband rocked Jen. But again, this inspiring overcomer refused to let the tragedy steal her joy. While still grieving, her miracle baby was born and gave her reason to celebrate.
“She's my little piece of heaven,” Jen said.
We’ll never understand why it was time for Chris to die, but God certainly equipped Jen with what she’d need to keep going. With her little miracle, Emmie, by her side, there’s still a piece of Chris here with Jen.
“She's also identical [to him] … the spitting image of him. She's all Chris,” the proud mom said.
And Jen just keeps on inspiring us as she regularly advocates for annual mammograms. And it’s already saving lives.
Her mom, Marilyn, is over 70 where the frequency of scans drops to every two years. Inspired by her daughter, Marilyn kept going regularly. So, when doctors discovered she had breast cancer, it was early enough to successfully treat it.
Jen also continues using her story to encourage other women struggling with fertility. She wants them to keep fighting.
“You gotta believe its gonna work and you gotta believe you're gonna come through it,” she said. “You cannot go in with a negative attitude. It's not gonna work if you do that... Positive mental attitude is an essential ingredient in the formula.”
What an incredibly inspiring woman. Jen reminds us that, no matter what trials we face, we have the choice to stay positive and faithful!
h/t: ABC News
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