CAF Story | Breast cancer survivor Capt Jenn Jackson: “I’m still here. I’m still dancing.”

Video / October 13, 2016


It was October, it was Breast Cancer Month, so I thought ok, it’s Breast Cancer Month, I should just, you know, give a check. And I was surprised that I actually found something.

In November 2014 I was diagnosed with two different types of breast cancer.

My name is Captain Jenn Jackson, and I’m a Public Affairs Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, based, CFB Esquimalt. Competing and training in Ballroom and Latin dance was always a big part of my life. So when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the things that I talked to the medical professionals about was to keep dance a part of my life while I went through treatment.

So the performances and even the competition that I did, was just one way to keep me motivated, and something concrete that I could work on and that I could focus on while I was sick; other than being sick.

The six months of chemotherapy was probably the hardest part of the treatment. I did lose all my hair. Whenever you get sick, especially being in the Forces, it’s always a very scary thing. You don’t, besides being sick, you don’t know what is going to happen next. The health services professionals here were amazing. I had some issues after my surgery and I saw the health nurse here every day to help treat some of the wounds that were having difficulty recovering after my surgery.  But I also saw the medical doctor here regularly, just for assessment. Just to check in and see how things are going. If I was having a particularly bad day, I had a mental health nurse and she was a phone call away. And she would return my call, and we could talk and just sort things out. And everyone was always supportive. And the message I just kept getting from the commander right on down to my colleagues, was just focus on getting better; we look forward to when you’re back.

Just to say that, wow, I can’t believe I really went through all this and I’m still here, and I’m happy, I’m positive, and I’m still dancing. I’m still in the Forces and I’m still doing what I love.

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