32 years of a beautiful soul is better than none.
Jessica Lynn Halfast was born and raised in the small town of Titusville, PA on December 25th, 1985 to her parents Dennis and Karen Halfast. She was successful in school and work. In 2008, she and some of her closest friends chose to celebrate spring break on the beautiful beaches of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. After a fantastic adventure filled with wonderful memories, it took no time for Jessica to realize that she was meant to live by the beach. She went back to the farm and packed her car that spring and headed south. She was hired at The Cheesecake Factory shortly after arriving and thus began her journey in South Florida.
Jessica was a beautiful outgoing, friendly, loving woman with lots of life to live. She made everyone feel special. She met her husband, Jeff Boswell at The Cheesecake Factory in November 2008. Their relationship blossomed into an amazing life together and they were wed on April 25th, 2014. As their management careers at work grew, they decided the time was right to start a family and they had their first son Channing in 2015. They were so in love with their first born and were having the best time being parents that they decided to try for a second child.
Jessica found out she was pregnant with baby boy number two in June 2017. The first few months of pregnancy changed The Boswells forever. Jessica began to immediately have extreme upper back pain which was attributed to pregnancy. After many occupational therapy visits, chiropractors, acupuncture, and enduring so many sleepless nights, Jessica knew something was seriously wrong with her body. This was not her first pregnancy and she knew the normal aches and pains that were attributed to pregnancy. For 2 months she couldn’t lie down to sleep in her own bed so she had to find out what was up. On November 20th, 2017, Jessica and Jeff went in for a routine sonogram. Jeff was explaining to the tech what her pain was like and the tech decided to search around the normal placenta sack into Jessica’s abdomen. While searching, there was some unidentified fluid building up around the sack. At this point Jessica was rushed to the OB Triage for further examination. The surgeons decided to test the fluid and to their disbelief, it came back as malignant cancer cells.
Jessica’s health rapidly declined and her pain levels increased. The baby was healthy according to the doctors but he was too pre-mature to be born. Jessica was shortly after diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer and the only option while being pregnant was Chemotherapy. This is not something Jessica and Jeff felt comfortable with but if it gave her a shot to survive it had to be done. They scheduled her for her first round of treatment on November 29th at 2pm. On the night of the 28th, Jessica began to have what seemed to be contractions. Throughout the night she continued to dilate and on the morning of the 29th about 3 hours before the doctors were going to administer the first round of Chemo with baby on board, baby Brayden was born.
The days to follow would be some of the hardest days for both Jessica and Brayden. Brayden was born at 3 pounds 1 ounce and had severely underdeveloped lungs. The doctors diagnosed him with chronic lung disease and his battle to grow his lungs would be an ongoing issue for the next 5 months. Jessica never really recovered from the delivery and her health became so severe that Jeff would have to make a decision between life and death. On December 9th, 2017, Dr. Marcet and his team from Tampa General Hospital came for their normal morning rounds. Jessica was very malnourished, in pain and had been vomiting all night. Dr. Marcet talked with Jeff and together they decided that they didn’t have much of a choice. It was, perform an extremely dangerous surgery that could be effective or not have surgery and hope for a few more days to live. Jeff and Jessica had said from day one that they would fight until the end, so without hesitation they chose surgery. They rushed her to the OR and would spend the next 6.5 hours removing her colon, spleen, portion of the liver, and the momentum discovering that the cancer was Stage 4 colorectal.
Jessica spent 9 days intubated in the ICU with Jeff by her side. She fought and fought to get strong enough so she could walk and talk again. She was in pain but never made excuses not to fight. Jessica was born on Christmas day, so she set a goal to try and make it home for the day. She was incredible in her efforts and was able to find the strength to come home for Christmas Day. Her parents, Channing, Jeff, Harold, and Courtney were all there to celebrate the small win with her and spend her last Christmas and birthday by her side. The next day she would return to the hospital and continue the battle.
The next few months would be an up and down roller coaster for Jessica and her family. She restarted Chemo and fought her hardest to recover so she could be there for her boys. Brayden was getting stronger and after 85 days in the NICU he was able to come home with Jeff. This was another win for the Boswell family but Jessica still had a long road if she wanted to make a recovery.
The cancer was running its course but the Chemo was showing to be effective on the tumors. The problem was that Jessica’s body had become so weak that she was struggling with her blood oxygen levels and still hadn’t eaten anything in 4 months. She was only living off the TPN (total parenteral nutrition) that she was receiving daily. Eventually, Jessica’s body started to fail. One morning she failed to respond to her nurse and they rushed her back to the ICU where she was intubated. At this point she was putting up her last fight.
Jessica, Jeff and her parents had to make a decision to keep her intubated forever or remove the tube and possibly try and get her comfortable enough to last a few more weeks. The only option in her families’ mind was to get her comfortable and to spend every second with her until the cancer ran its course.
On March 27, 2018, Jessica took her last breath with Jeff and some close friends by her side. She will be remembered as one of the strongest woman that many knew. Jeff, Channing, and Brayden will live on for Jessica and promise to be the best they can be. Jessica will be loved forever by so many and Never Forgotten!