Diaries of a Twenty-First-Century Heroine: Battering Breast Cancer with Positivity



A memoir written by the brave Jessica Cotner, a client of Ruth Swissa

The day I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was at my mother’s house. When I hung up the phone I hugged my Mom and cried for a moment, I soaked it all in. I remember thinking how will I let my family know, I was worried about how I to tell my husband and kids and how it would affect their lives also. As I though about it, I decided to make the best of it and NOT to be overwhelmed by the big picture, just to take it one step at a time. I have watched the movie FINDING NEMO with my boys a million times and I couldn’t help but hear a song in my head that the character named Dori sang, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” She inspired me. I tried to find ways of making light of things I had to go through, finding humor or fun to help me through it all.I knew I was going to loose my hair during chemo, so my husband I put together “Shave Party” in the salon I work at. All my friends and family surrounded me. They each took turns shaving funny hairstyles in my head laughing until I was bald. It made me happy to look at my children’s faces as they helped and giggled at how silly mommy looked. Weeks later, after I started chemo I quickly began loosing all my stubble so I shaved the remaining fuzz. I had my children put temporary tattoos on my scalp like an art project. As many know its never fun being sick so I tried to find things to look forward to each step of the way, whether it was camping, swimming, buying a new wig or makeup. Falseeyelashes became a musst!!  I would wear them everyday and it would just lift my spirits and make me feel pretty again. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing fun about chemo, reconstructive surgery and hot flashes or being forced to start early menopause but one carrot at the end of the stick was to get my tattoos!!  Its like the cherry on the top of my Sunday. What better way then to have a good experience with Ruth Swissa. She was so personable and easy to talk to. She made this experience comfortable and fun.And now I can look in the mirror and feel complete. They are like little badges of what I went through.I can’t help but smile about how they remind me of all the friends and loved ones who helped me through it all.