This Mom Thought She Was Just Run Down -- She Actually Had Cancer

mom ignored cancer symptoms
Jennifer Waller/Facebook

When you're a parent, it's normal to feel exhausted. Parenting means getting little sleep, rarely having time to eat a good meal, and working pretty much constantly to keep your kids safe and happy and make sure you family has a roof over their heads. But a 32-year-old nurse and mom is begging parents to stop -- just for a second -- and take care of themselves after what she thought was just normal "mom burnout" turned out to be cancer.

  • In a viral video posted on Facebook, Jennifer Waller said she saw the doctor for abdominal symptoms, unexplained weight loss, and just feeling "off."

    For a while, she ignored her symptoms, thinking they were just a product of being busy and 32. “I mean, I work two jobs, I have two children and I run around like a crazy person,” she said.

    But after a few rounds of tests and a colonoscopy, Waller got some devastating news: she has colon cancer. “When I woke up and [the doctor] told me I had a large tumor, it was a complete shock, because I can’t have cancer,” she explained in her video. “I mean, I’m a nurse. I take care of people. I tell you if you have cancer. I treat you. I can’t have cancer. Yet, here I am.”

    Waller didn't comment on her prognosis, except to say she's lucky she caught it because the cancer is in her lymph nodes and spreading fast. "I'm gonna fight," she said. "I'm gonna fight like hell."

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  • Hundreds of people have commented to share stories about beating cancer and to thank her for inspiring them to take their own health more seriously.

    jennifer waller colon cancer
  • jennifer waller colon cancer
  • Waller said she made her video to encourage other people to get checked out. 

    "I made this video because here in the United States, you don’t screen [for colon cancer] until you are 50 years old,” she said. That is 18 years from now. According to my biopsy, I would be dead. If I hadn’t gone in … I would have been dead."

    More than 50,000 Americans die from colon cancer each year, even though doctors see the illness as largely preventable and treatable when caught early. But Waller's reminder isn't just important for raising awareness about colon cancer. It's also the inspiration most of us needed to do a better job of keeping an eye on our health in general. 

    As parents, so many of us worry about being super mom or super dad for our kids. But as Waller's video proves, sometimes the most important thing we can possibly do for our own well-being and for our families is to make ourselves a priority.