Bountiful resident Jentrie Williams was a healthy, active 25-year-old mother of three, until she learned that she had cancer in November. Since her diagnosis with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, she has written about her treatment and life with cancer in her blog “Jentrie’s Journey.”
“You couldn’t believe how busy I was, answering phone calls and all of this just trying to keep family and friends in the loop. Everyone was so worried and concerned and wanting to know what was going on, and it was exhausting,” Williams said.
What started as a way to inform relatives and friends about her condition has since grown into a blog with thousands of readers. Williams talks about her illness, family and LDS faith; and doesn’t mince words. She writes about uplifting spiritual experiences, but also about some of her life lows, both before and with cancer. This reality is part of the reason she thinks her blog has become so popular.
“I don’t really think it’s the cancer, I think it’s just that I share real life,” Williams said. “I’m not perfect and I’m trying, I guess, just being relatable and that I’m human and that I make mistakes, but that I’m trying my hardest.”
In a recent post Williams chronicles her experience of being taken to the Intensive Care Unit with a high fever. Things had gotten so bad that her doctor began to discuss resuscitation orders with her. It was in these dark moments that Williams writes about finally understanding how serious her situation was. Williams’ experience is also relatable. In the same blog post she writes about crying all night after being in the ICU because, having already gone bald, she finally loses her eyelashes and doesn’t recognize herself in the mirror anymore.
Williams says she started the blog because she didn’t have any experience with cancer herself. Just two weeks before her own diagnosis, she learned about a friend’s diagnosis with the disease, and wished she understood more of the details.
“For me, I know that I would want to know details. Like when you say you have cancer and you’re sick, like what sick? Like, what do you feel? I would be curious, and so I wanted to give the details because I don’t think many people would know,” Williams said. “I wanted to incorporate what was really going on and what I was feeling so people could relate or get a better understanding of what I was suffering with, and I wanted to incorporate how it can be a good thing too. How it’s okay and how I’ve had so much help and how I’ve had miracles and blessings through it. I feel that this has been more of a blessing than a trial. I mean, you wouldn’t believe the good that is in people, it’s amazing.”
Williams says she always enjoyed journaling, and blogging has been a similar experience for her. She says it isn’t hard to share the darker moments of her life with her readers, because she believes it will help other people going through similar experiences.
“I’d rather share and be the one to take the risk if it helps someone feel better about themselves or their situation,” Williams said.
Still, having such a big following has been what Williams calls shocking.
“It’s funny, I can’t go to Target or Walmart or just grocery shopping without at least two people stopping me and, with tears in their eyes, they start their whole sentence off with, ‘you don’t know me, but I read your blog…’ and it is just such a compliment, I love it,” Williams said.
Williams completed her fifth of six chemo treatments this past weekend and is looking forward to a complete recovery.
“I’m so excited. They handed me a calendar with a schedule…and it said ‘my last treatment’ and tears filled my eyes. I cannot wait, it’s going to be so amazing,” Williams said.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma has a 95 percent cure rate. Williams says she hasn’t committed to continuing the blog following her last treatment, but she hasn’t ruled it out yet either.
“I don’t have a plan for it, like I’m not going to try and make it my career or a job because being a mother is my first priority, and being a good mom and a wife, but if it naturally just keeps happening, if I keep having experiences that I feel like sharing, or if people want to keep up on how I’m doing, I would love it!”