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Survivor Stories 2014: Jennifer Varner


Survivor Stories 2014:
Jennifer Varner


1. How did you first find out you had cancer? 

I found the lump myself. I became pregnant and immediatly found the lump. I went to a surgeon who insisted it was nothing. I even had an ultrasound done and again he said it was nothing. Unfortunately, I then lost the baby and I went back again a month later because the lump was still there. Again he said it was nothing so I tried to get pregnant again. Two months later I was pregnant again and still had the lump. So back to the surgeon I went. This time was different though . . . he did an ultrasound and found something suspicious. He biopsied it right on the table. I wouldn’t get the results for about a week. The call I will never forget came from his unprofessional assistant who called and tells me over the phone, “You have cancer and it looks bad.”

2. How did you react when you heard the news? 

I immediatly called my parents and said I have cancer please come over. My neighbor Michelle took my kids to her house. I stayed in my room and screamed and cried. I was in shock. I just remember thinking this can’t be happening I am pregnant. There is no way this could be happening.

3. What course of treatment were you prescribed? 

Because I was pregnant, we did a mastectomy while under a twilight anesthesia. I then had 7 months of chemo. I gave birth and went through 12 more weeks of chemo. I then had 6 weeks of radiation. After this was completed, I had a mastectomy to remove my other breast.

4. What most surprised you about your treatment?

Walking into the chemo room and seeing all different types and ages of people with cancer. It was so sad, so dark, so hopeless.

5. What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?

I would say to make sure you receive a second, if not third opinion. And prepare your body for the long haul and treatment by immediately diving into an ultra healthy lifestyle and diet. 
Ask for every treatment in the book and explain to the doctor you want the most aggressive treatment possible.

6. How long have you been cancer free?

This October, it has been 5 years since I had the surgery to remove my cancer.

7. What lessons did you learn from the experience? 

That life is fleeting. That were all dying from the minute we are born. Some of us know how were going to die and some of us don’t. It’s not how long you live, it’s how wide you live.

After I was all done with reconstruction I moved my family to my favorite place on earth, Maui, HI. I came here to heal and take back my life. Before cancer, I would have never done something so crazy. But here I am happy, healthy and totally content.

8. If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?

Live your dreams, don’t say I will do this once the kids leave, I will take this trip when I retire. NO ONE ever promised you forever or later. NOW is the time to live your life . . . Today! You truly want no regrets because I promise you, when you hear the words You Have Cancer all the thoughts of how I lived my life plagued my mind for the days to come. Oh – and check your boobies. 🙂 Regularly.


As a Breast Cancer Survivor, Jennifer Varner started the nonprofit Kilian’s Kids, which provides laptops and other electronic gear to children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses so they can keep in touch with friends or just escape from life in the hospital. It also helps ease the stress associated with long hospital stays, chemotherapy treatments, and even long trips to special hospitals for treatments.

Jennifer’s journey to launching her own business was not an easy one. On the road to starting, she went through more than what most people go through in one lifetime — bankruptcy, separation, she endured her husband having cancer, and learned she had breast cancer while she was pregnant. Fast- forward seven years — Jennifer is healthy, successful and living in paradise with her family in Maui. Jennifer says anything is possible with hard work and a belief in your ability to overcome.

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