Anyone who has followed Jessica St. Clair's career knows that she's one of the funniest women in the business. Whether she's playing best friend and vice mommy in USA's Playing House or Forrest MacNeil's fed up wife in Comedy Central's Review, St. Clair has proven to be one of the best comediennes working today.
But as busy as St. Clair was and as prominent as she's been on our televisions over the last few years, she kept a big secret: She was diagnosed with stage 2b estrogen positive breast cancer in September 2015. In a touching post on Stand Up to Cancer's website, St. Clair revealed her diagnosis and her survival story, as well as explained that her entire turmoil will be replayed on Season 3 of Playing House. It's an excellent, emotional, funny read, and I encourage everyone — whether cancer has affected your life in some way or not — to read it.
In it, St. Clair discusses the fine doctors who helped save her life, the support system that held her up that included her husband and on-screen and real-life best friend Lennon Parham, and, most hilariously, her new boobs, which are a lot like her old boobs thanks to some great doctors.
"Ten days after my one-step reconstruction, I was on the beach with my daughter," St. Clair says of a relatively new procedure that removes cancerous tissue from breasts and replaces it with an implant in the same surgery. "No joke. Oh, and I got to keep my nipples which made me really happy because apparently my nipples are really important to me. I am so proud of my new boobs that I take them out whenever I can. I cannot tell you how many women I have pulled into closets in order to show them the results, just so that they can get the word out about this approach to surgery. All I'm saying is: if we bump into each other and there's a closet nearby, be prepared to see my new boobs."
St. Clair's Playing House character Emma will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Season 3, she says, because she and Parham always told their stories in that show.
"We were worried about bringing such serious subject matter to a comedy show, but we've always written what we've lived," she says. "And our real story is that with the help of her best friend, and the people who love her, my character is able to get through the treatment and actually emerge somehow happier and more fulfilled than she was before she was diagnosed."
Playing House Season 3 premieres Friday, June 23 on USA.