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Trees of Hope and MOCA: Jen's Story

Updated: December 06, 2019 05:38 PM

Jen Rogers remembers waking up one morning last October with excruciating pain in her stomach. During a trip to the ER, doctors found a mass. They thought it was cysts in her ovaries. But during surgery, found stage two ovarian cancer. Life, turned on a dime.

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"Chemo every three weeks. My sisters brought me down every time," Jen told us. She was sitting in her cozy living room in Cloquet. Her five-year-old twins, Kensley and Zackary, were playing nearby. 

She is an example of a young survivor. But she never expected to be.

"I was 42-years-old when I was diagnosed. I don't carry the BRCA gene. It doesn't run in my family. None of it fits," she said.

Along with her sisters spending so much time taking care of her, so did her mother, Lillian. "She'd come and stay at the house with us," Jen said. And the care came pouring in from other places. "People showing up, bringing food, paying bills, donating vacation time, taking the kids. It was overwhelming."

Then, came MOCA, the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance. "Somehow we connected. And they've been part of my life ever since. They reach out to me all the time," Jen added.

She's been to a couple of MOCA support group meetings for cancer survivors. A place she feels comfortable. Jen also attended MOCA's Light Duluth Teal Gala in September. And recognizes the support in the community. "I had known the bridge was lit teal. But I never knew why, until I had to."

The good news is, her cancer is gone. She will keep getting checked for years to come. In the meantime, she and her family will treasure moments together. And keepsakes from the journey. Her kids know mom was sick. "We talked about how mom has cancer. They tell everyone I've been cancelled. I hope not!" she laughed.

It's moments of laughter and love, that she never takes for granted. "You gotta go through days like that, to appreciate days like this," she said, as she hugged her kids close.

It's important to note ovarian cancer can affect women at any age. There is no early detection test.

Some symptoms to know:

1) Bloating

2) Pelvic or abdominal pain

3) Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly

4) Having to go to the bathroom more frequently or urgently.

For more information about MOCA: https://mnovarian.org

WDIO will be featuring phone banks so you can call in and donate to MOCA on Monday during our 5pm, 6pm, and 10pm shows.

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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