For many women diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s a nightmare they can’t seem to wake up from. For Tiffany Jones, star of reality show “Love In The City,” however, it’s been quite the love story.
“There are a lot of campaigns out there saying ‘screw cancer’ ‘f*ck cancer’ but cancer has truly become the love of my life,” Jones says in a sit-down interview with Centric. "Cancer has given me purpose and it’s taught me how to take care of myself."
Though you could never tell from her feisty personality and pint-size frame, Jones, 39, has endured quite a tall order of adversity, having survived breast cancer three times.
The first time was in 2005 at the age of 29. “I was one of the youngest Black women in the state of New York to be diagnosed Her2-positive, which is a very aggressive strain of breast cancer,” says the founder of PinkChoseMe Foundation.
But in 2007 the cancer came back.
Interestingly enough, at the time Jones was shopping for her wedding ring when she got the call from her doctor with the bad news. Though she and her then-fiance eventually did walk down the aisle, it did not come without its fair share of challenges, resulting in divorce.
“I wasn’t so nice. It had everything to do with the cancer and me being angry. I was angry that my body had let me down,” Jones reveals. “It takes at least a year out of your life because you’re really focused on your treatment and getting better.”
As shown on the show this past summer, Jones’ more recent third bout with breast cancer resulted in her deciding to get a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery for her breasts. During that time she was in another relationship.
Love and breast cancer, at least for Jones, was a journey in itself, as each time she was with a different guy.
“Cancer is different every time and I think love is different every time,” she says.
As many would assume, battling breast cancer while dating someone has its hangups. But Jones says her self-esteem was never compromised during her three run-ins with cancer, and thankfully she had supportive men by her side. In fact, she says, going through such an ordeal actually bonds you with the person you’re dating.
And for those wondering if going through chemo and radiation affects your sex life, Jones says she had no problem in that department.
“I have heard stories like women just not wanting to [have sex],” she admits, but “I think it’s my genes because my entire family, we’re all frisky,” she jokes.
One thing’s for sure: Jones isn’t one to paint breast cancer as a death sentence. She's hoping that, through her foundation, PinkChoseMe, she can continue to inspire women to not only get the health care they need, but also understand their worth.
“There are some women who get a double mastectomy and choose not to get the reconstructive surgery and not look at themselves in the mirror for months,’ she says. “I’m like ‘let’s live!’ I’m about life and living. Just because you’re diagnosed with breast cancer you don’t have to put your head in the sand and just give up.”
With PinkChoseMe, the reality star is hoping to dispel myths in the Black community about breast cancer, so that statistics, like women of color having the highest mortality rate, become a thing of the past.
“Education is one of the keys but it’s really knowing how to take care of yourself,” she says.
In addition to spreading breast cancer awareness, Jones is taking to book writing to detail her exceptional journey. She’ll also be addressing her fluid love life and inability to find Prince Charming.
“I beat cancer, yet I still can’t find love in the city.”
(Photo: Keith Major)