For most moms it’s nothing out of the ordinary to feel tired or particularly worn down. But after being diagnosed with colon cancer, a 32-year old single mom of two from New Jersey is sharing her story to encourage self care.
Jennifer Waller had been losing weight and feeling tired. Besides that, there weren’t any red flags when it came to her health. That is, until she was diagnosed with colon cancer.
In a video shared to Facebook, Waller told her story, reminding moms that their health matters.
Waller, a nurse who worked two jobs, thought her tiredness could be attributed to long hours and a busy schedule. But after continuously suffering “vague” symptoms like stomach pain and weight loss, Waller, a nurse herself, went for a colonoscopy.
“When I woke up and [the doctor] told me I had a large tumour, it was a complete shock, because I can’t have cancer,” she said in a now-viral Facebook video.
“I mean, I’m a nurse. I take care of people. I tell you if you have cancer. I treat you. I can’t have cancer. Yet, here I am.”
Waller said that by the time she received her diagnosis, the disease was in her blood and lymph nodes.
“There’s a lot of feelings that come with it, that you can’t necessarily stomach. I’ve been angry, I have been sad – I have cried my eyes out for days. I feel guilty – a weird guilt because I’m a nurse. Maybe I should have known better, maybe I should have gone sooner,” she said.
Now, Waller is encouraging others to take their health more seriously and to get screened.
“In the United States, you don’t screen until you are 50 years old,” said Waller.
“That is 18 years from now. According to my biopsy, I would be dead… if I hadn’t gone in.”
Women are praising Waller for her message.
“You are a strong and brave woman for being able to put this out there. So you have taken a step to beat cancer by sharing with others, this may truly save someone else… Prayers for you and your family,” commented one follower.
“I am so sorry to hear this news but your attitude and strength are going to help you through this. So proud of you being so positive. You’ve got this!” added another.
Waller ended her post with a final plea for women to have regular screenings.
“So please, get screened. Get checked, because you never know,” she wrote. “Your entire world can change in a moment.”