Sometimes the most difficult battles are not fought with an adversary, but with one’s self.
Thirty-three year old KETK-NBC news anchor Jennifer Kielman is an example of what it means to overcome that.
Kielman encountered a life changing illness at the age of 32. After performing a self-breast exam, Kielman found a lump in her breast. On Oct. 18 2010, she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma stage one grade 3 breast cancer.
“The diagnosis was very unexpected,” said Kielman. “I was healthy and had no family history of breast cancer. That’s when I realized that cancer does not discriminate and can affect anybody.”
Not long after her diagnosis, Kielman began her quest to survive. One month after her diagnosis, she underwent surgery. A month after that, she started chemotherapy, a process in which a combination of chemicals are used in order to destroy cancer cells, but may also cause side effects.
Following chemotherapy was 30 days of radiation treatment, which is a form of cancer treatment that uses strong beams of energy to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing and dividing. This process is effective, but could also cause damage to the heart. She now has five years of hormone therapy ahead and plans to persevere through it all.
“Breast cancer is hard,” said Kielman. “It’s one of the hardest things anybody can go through. My body has been through a lot of things, but I still come out on top.”
Every passing day, Kielman is proving to be a winner, with her consistent workouts in order to keep her body ready for the fight. Despite her challenges, she hardly misses a beat.
“I lost my hair; my heart has taken a toll, and I took a blow to my eyesight as well, but still I work out six days a week,” said Kielman. “On top of that, I have not missed a single day of work.”
Although, self-motivation has been her strong suit, Kielman isn’t in this alone. She is very thankful for the people around her, including doctors, nurses, family and her ever-present boyfriend.
“My medical staff was phenomenal,” said Kielman. “They were all sweet and even prayed with me. My boyfriend has been with me through everything. He was there when I got my head shaved and tells me I’m beautiful when I don’t feel beautiful. They’re all my angels.”
Faith plays a key part in Kielman’s life. She maintains a steady prayer life and continues to see light, even in her darkest hours.
“I pray hard every day,” said Kielman. “None of this would have been possible without God. I truly believe he chose me to carry this burden so that I can help others. This is my calling.”
Kielman isn’t the only one dedicated to helping others with breast cancer. In fact, to honor all survivors, the “Tour for the Cure,” will take place on Oct. 22, outside of Rose Stadium as a part of Tyler Junior College’s 85th Anniversary. It will consist of several bike rides, walks and parades ranging from 1 to 54 miles. These events have been coordinated in order to raise money for breast cancer awareness.
“I think the tour is great, especially for college students,” said Kielman. “Mammograms and self-breast exams are so important for younger students. Early detection is the key and can save your life.”
Kielman was excited to share her experiences for other breast cancer patients to learn from. She even had some advice for those in similar situations.
“Keep pushing, because you only come out stronger on the other side,” said Kielman. “You don’t realize how strong you are until life throws you a curveball. So keep the faith.