The photo you see here is one of Kristen Jensen’s “Courageous Faces”. This and many other photos of cancer survivors and those in the midst of treatment will blanket the walls of Bernard’s on October 10 telling a story of life, struggle, friendship, and hope.
Here, we couple the many Courageous Faces with their unique stories. We thank each and every one of these ladies for sharing their difficult journey with us.
Occupation: Realtor, Neumann Real Estate (and wife of Ridgefield First Selectman, Rudy Marconi!)
Tell me about when you first learned you had breast cancer
I went for my annual mammography in October 2012. I received a letter in the mail several weeks later stating that something looked as though it needed a follow-up appointment with an ultrasound. I scheduled that appointment within a few days and was told on the table I needed to go and have a biopsy immediately. I did just that and found out that I had breast cancer.
Who did you turn to for support and how was that person or organization supportive?
Fortunately, my husband immediately got involved and learned everything we needed to know about the type of breast cancer I had and attended every appointment with me and asked a ton of questions and took notes at every meeting. I knew I had a great support system with him and ultimately my family and close friends.
Tell me about something someone said or did that helped you through your most difficult days
I thought about this question for a long time and I had very good doctors and surgeons but my husband had the most significant impact on my attitude and ability to stay strong. He was with me in my darkest hours of feeling really sick from the chemo and radiation and always told me I was going to make it and that he was there to make sure I did. Three years later when I had to have a bi-lateral mastectomy he was there every day to handle the extensive care I required because of the complicated surgery.
Do you look at life differently pre/post breast cancer diagnosis?
There is no question that I totally approach life with a different attitude. I have a much more realistic attitude about insignificant issues that people worry about every day of their lives. I am so capable of knowing what is important in my life and definitely what is no longer important. I want to make sure that my family learns from my cancer that life is uncertain and to make the most of every day.
What message do you have for others who have been diagnosed with breast cancer?
I would wish for every person diagnosed with any form of cancer to reach out to close family and friends. I think most people do not realize how many people want to help with every aspect of someone's health care and journey to wellness. Facilities like Ann's Place is a wonderful, safe place for people going through treatments and for families to learn how best to help their loved ones.