Name: Jessica Pruitt

Age: 31

Occupation: Adjudicator

Age when diagnosed with breast cancer: 30

Breast cancer type: Triple Positive

Breast cancer stage: 1

Treatment: double mastectomy, sentinel node biopsy, 8 rounds chemo, 18 rounds of herceptin, 10 years tamoxifen, 4 rounds Zometa

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that has nothing to do with cancer:

I’m a huge animal lover and currently have 3 cats and one dog but left to my own devices I would have more!

What’s your go-to pick-me-up song?

The Greatest – Sia

How did you discover your breast cancer?

I found the lump accidentally while trying to stuff my post breast feeding breasts into a sports bra. Self exams weren’t on my radar so it was a bit of dumb “luck”

What went through your head when you received your diagnosis?

What will happen to my son (who was 2 years old at the time) if I die.

What’s the craziest thing someone said to you after being diagnosed with breast cancer?

At least you got new breasts (reconstruction after double mastectomy)

Who or what is/was your biggest source of support throughout your experience with cancer?

My family and friends. They rallied around me and were beyond incredible. From going with me to chemo, bringing me food and keeping me positive and distracted they have made a world of difference.

What is/was the most difficult part of being a young woman with breast cancer?

Coming to terms with my mortality so young. Also I found my cancer a few weeks before me and my husband were going to try for our second child. Letting go of that plan was difficult.

What’s something unexpected you learned about yourself as a result of having breast cancer?

That I am stronger than I could ever imagine. My father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer 5 days after my second surgery (and a few weeks after my own diagnosis) and died 6 days later. I planned his funeral the same day I learned that I would need chemo. 2016 was the most difficult year of my life but I survived and came out the other end stronger and more determined.

In one sentence, what words of wisdom would you pass on to another young woman who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer?

Let yourself be upset and grieve but don’t live in the darkness, survival is easier when you can be positive and keep moving. Also, don’t let cancer stop you from doing the things that you love as much as you can. During treatment I took two trips, worked full-time, worked out as much as I could, and generally made some really great memories. Going through this crazy ride doesn’t mean that you can’t find some enjoyment and happiness along the way.