Jennifer Greenhut on Surviving Triple a Negative Breast Cancer—and Her Give Back
The power of positive thinking.
In 2016 Jennifer Greenhut was at a low point in her life. Despite three rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF), she’d failed to get pregnant.
“I met my husband on the later side of life and I desperately wanted children. With each failed round of IVF, I got more and more depressed, thinking the universe was punishing me for some reason,” Jenn, as she prefers to be called, reflects.
Then things got even more bleak. She discovered a lump under her arm. Although she’d recently had a mammogram and a manual exam by her ob-gyn, everything appeared to be normal. “If you’ve ever wanted proof that women should be getting yearly ultrasounds, here is it,” says Jenn, who is a yoga teacher and singer/songwriter.
Jenn’s doctor told her she had stage 4 triple-negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of the disease. It turns out those failed IVFs saved her life.
“My doctor said that if I had gotten pregnant, the pregnancy would have killed me.”
And then, a life-changing epiphany: “In that moment, I realized that everything might be happening to me for a reason—a much bigger reason that I didn’t know about.”
Jenn says the initial terror she felt gave way to gratitude. “I was grateful for everything I had, and everything I was about to go through—chemo and all!”
From the moment Jenn picked her team of doctors at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, she wanted to help raise money for its research foundation.
With help from a friend, Jenn created a line of bags under the label Zero Negative (shopzeronegative.com). Her signature item is a spacious white leather tote that has artfully designed cutouts creating the word “love.” Another bag is designed for women going through breast cancer surgery. It is a cross-body bag (which women can’t wear in the post-surgery months) that can be adjusted to become a fanny pack.
Cancer-free for two years now, Jenn views disease as a wake-up call. “It teaches us something, helps us evolve in some way, and so our only power in healing our disease is to embrace it, and believe it is happening for a reason. Fear is only going to cause stress, and a negative mindset. If we can get past our negative thoughts, we can really help heal our bodies.”
For more on Jenn’s battle with cancer, check out the SheSez with Linda Grasso podcast at shesez.com.