Jen Delvaux, a wellness coach, mother to Drew and Maddie, and wife, fell into the health and fitness world by accident. After working to get herself on a healthy track years ago and falling in love with the process, she now works to help other women also discover the joy she found in being active and prioritizing overall wellness.
In February 2021, Jen was diagnosed with breast cancer after a repeat mammogram and biopsy. This, unfortunately, isn't her family's first experience with cancer. Her husband, Darren, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009 and has undergone several surgeries and treatments since. Together, Jen and Darren share their struggles, triumphs and perspective through their podcast, Not Today Cancer with Mr. Worldwide and His Bride. We sat down with Jen to learn more about how she's navigating life today.
Please share a bit about your journey in finding out you had breast cancer.
When I found out, my initial reaction was complete fear. I've always been such a strong person, and I thought I was invincible. Then, you realize you're not. In my family, with Darren being sick, I'm the person my kids come to as their strong person. And your head goes to worst case scenarios.
For me, when you're waiting for answers, that's the hardest part. Once I had a plan, I was like, "OK, I can do this." But it's also important to be prepared for that plan to change.
What are you doing to stay optimistic and active during your treatment?
My morning routine is so important. Journaling about what I was going through was so therapeutic every morning. I also scheduled all my radiation appointments first thing in the morning. I would come home right after and promise myself 30 minutes in my home gym, whether I meditated or walked the treadmill. I knew then I had conquered the most important things that morning and gave myself grace if I rested the remainder of the day.
Life is short. I was always on the go and now, it has made me slow down and appreciate the life around me and understand happiness is what's important.
How has your outlook on your health and life changed?
My health before was more about fitting into a certain size of jeans, instead of really diving into health. Now, I don't look at what size I am. I look at the nutrition I'm putting into my body. Also, I removed the fear and worry about what other people think. I just do what I want to do, which takes so much pressure off. I'm so excited for the future. I used to worry about getting older and lie about my age. Now, I'm embracing it so much! I can't wait to be a grandmother one day.
What's your advice to other women living with breast cancer who may be struggling to find positivity?
One thing that truly helped me is finding someone who has gone through what I've been through, too. I've surrounded myself on social media with so many incredible women going through this who have just led the way for me.
Not every day is perfect. I have my moments or my days, but that's all they are—moments and days. And then you have to pick yourself back up. Talk through your fears and worries with a therapist or energy healer. I even met with somebody who does tapping, and she helps me get through a lot. Get outside for walks, breathe fresh air and take control of what you can.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Oct/Nov 2021 issue of West Michigan Woman.