Jess Higgins says in 2018 she’s focusing on being a mum again and treasures every kiss and cuddle from her children after battling inflammatory breast cancer (IBC).
In 2016, then 30-years-old, Jess was diagnosed with the rare and aggressive form of cancer.
In August Jess said she will celebrate being one year clear of treatment after a grueling year of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery in 2017.
- Read more about Jess’ journey here
Jess, her husband Dale and their two children Skylah (7) and Logan (6) moved back home with Jess’ parents during her treatment.
In 2018 Jess has been able to move into the Kew property which they built in 2015.
“It’s significant, becoming independent again,” she said.
Jess said another highlight of 2018 has been able to see her son Logan start his first day of school.
“There was a time when I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to see him go to school,” she said.
Jess said a lot of the time medical staff would tell her they were ‘aiming to cure her’.
“All I ever really wanted to hear was ‘we are going to cure you’,” she said.
Jess said everything she has incorporated to help her physically and mentally during the cancer battle ‘has paid off’.
Jess changed her diet which is now primarily plant based and organic. She rarely has any processed food, alcohol or caffeine.
Jess said she in now conscious of what her whole family eats and how they live their lives day to day.
“We’re focusing on being happy each day,” she said.
While Jess hasn’t undergone cancer treatment since 2017, she still takes daily medication which she will have to do for the rest of her life.
She also has surgeon appointments, lymphatic massage, skin checks and has her blood taken.
Becoming sick again is something which Jess said she will always carry in the back of her mind.
“That’s why I now have a heightened sense to take care of myself and to maintain wellness,” she said.
“I don’t ever feel exempt.”
One of the hardest part about being sick Jess said was carrying the thought that she might not be around to see her children grow up.
Her lasting legacy
During her cancer journey Jess started recording her experiences online through a Facebook page called Do it for the girls, which now has over 3000 followers.
In the future Jess would like to write about her cancer journey to be published as a book.
In the meantime she has become a rock for other women who are battling cancer.
“It’s so scary to think that so many young mums are going through this,” Jess said.
Jess encourages those who are going through a tough time to get in contact with her via her Facebook page.
She has met up with a few people who have contacted her for a supportive chat.
“I help them with that mental strain which comes when you go through cancer," she said.
“Cancer impacts your whole life, and it’s all consuming for your family too.
“I want to try and give some hope to anyone going through any kind of adversity.”
In the future Jess would also like to give back to the community who did so much for her to help support the funding of her treatment
“I’m so grateful to be living in a community who genuinely want to see me do well,” she said.
Jess is the Mother’s Day Classic ambassador for the event on Sunday, May 13 at Westport Park, Port Macquarie.
The Mother’s Day Classic is a nation-wide community based event that raises funds for breast cancer research.
For more information about the event or to register please visit www.mothersdayclassic.com.au/events/event-map/port-macquarie