My name is Jenna, and I have been a ball of energy since the day I was born. Before I could even walk, I was given the nickname “Scoochie” because I still managed to get myself around just by scooching and wiggling. Because of this, I have always been an athlete. I did everything under the sun until 8th grade–dance, gymnastics, cheer, basketball, softball, volleyball, track–you name it. Once I reached high school, I fully committed myself to dance. My studio team even won Dance Worlds in 2017 (my medal still hangs in my room). In college, I made the UW Club Dance Team. I was extremely involved in my team; I was media manager then coach then vice president and finally president my senior year. Beyond dance, I have always pushed myself to the limit in the gym and always “trained like an athlete.”

Her story: Going into my last semester of college, I felt a lump in my abdomen. I wasn’t in too much pain, but it was concerning and random enough that my gut told me to go to Urgent Care. By midnight that day in the Emergency Department, I was told I had cancer –specifically a cantaloupe sized tumor in my retroperitoneum. COVID protocols kept visitors from me that night, so I processed this alone. Within the week, I had a biopsy done and was diagnosed with a high-grade leiomyosarcoma, a cancer of the smooth muscle. As it is an extremely rare cancer, treatment choices were placed in my hands rather than a standard of care. My treatment plan was as follows: egg retrieval (treatment may leave me infertile), chemotherapy, proton radiation, and surgery.

1 month ago, I got the call that I am cancer free. I am exactly 6 weeks out of surgery today. Today, I ran 3 miles. It’s been 2 months since I have done more than walk a mile, but I needed to move my body to feel like myself again. I know I am starting with a body that isn’t as capable, but my mind is ready to move again. Recovery and fatigue are long, but I am ready. I have to live my life knowing there is a very high chance of recurrence of retroperitoneal leiomyosarcomas. I am trying to not dwell in that anxiety, but instead to truly live.

Personal Motto: “Recovery and fatigue are long, but I am ready”