COLUMBUS — Jenny Cheff is an open book when it comes to her fight with breast cancer. “I probably overshare a lot."
She shares through posts on her Facebook Page Montana Tough.
“I do find when I can help somebody or share something that helps somebody, it makes me feel better about everything like there’s a purpose to what I’m going through,” she said.
The 39-year-old Columbus woman is finding purpose in her second go-round with breast cancer.
Her first diagnosis came when she was just 34. This past April she found out it was back, and this time it’s metastatic.
“Statistically, a woman that’s diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer has about a 28 percent chance of making it five years. That to me is really scary. But there’s still a chance, that’s what I hear, is there’s 1-in-4 who live a lot longer,” Cheff said.
She’s fighting for that longer life but is also calling for more attention to cases like hers.
“Where I’m at, that reoccurring breast cancer, there’s not as much emphasis there, there’s not as much research, not as much support,” she said.
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She’s staying optimistic, not just for herself but for her family. Cheff has two daughters, ages 8 and 11.
“We’re pretty positive people and with two little girls, you have to stay positive,” she said.
Positive, raw, and informational posts are what you’ll find when visiting Montana Tough on Facebook.
“One thing that people don’t know…they know you lose your hair. I don’t have much for hair left. I haven’t had to shave my legs all summer, but I lost all my nose hair. So my nose constantly drips, and it’s so dried out. Something kind of gross, but you don’t think about it,” she said.
Chemo-induced neuropathy makes it impossible to run her business, Atomic Sign & Design, a sign shop in Columbus.
“With my fingernails like this, it’s hard to run the computer, it’s hard to weave the vinyl, I physically cannot do it, and it’s frustrating,” she said.
It’s unexpected information like that she wants to expose.
“I overshare a lot of my journey for people and if they have questions. I have a lot of people message me with questions. So I try to share what I can,” she said.
She’s also sharing the message of early detection.
When she discovered a lump at the age of 34, she wasn’t met with the urgency she was expecting from her doctor.
“It was kind of blown off a little bit: 'But oh, you’re young, it’s nothing,' and it was something,” Cheff said.
She wants other women to know that you know your body best.
“If something is not right, have it checked and don’t be afraid of a second opinion if you need,” she said.
Cheff also raises money through Montana Tough for local women battling breast cancer.
You can donate, get in touch, and learn more by visiting MontanaTough.com.