It was a roller coaster of emotions on Tuesday night's episode of TLC's "The Little Couple," when the heartbreaking news of Dr. Jen Arnold's cancer diagnosis was revealed. Although the TV star's diagnosis was made public months ago, viewers got a first-hand look at the sobering reality of her situation as it played out when she got the news last December.
The neonatologist reality star was in India with her husband, Bill Klein, and toddler son, Will, finalizing the adoption process of their little girl, Zoey, when she began bleeding irregularly. After Jen flew home to get treatment, the life-changing news was announced to viewers.
"While Bill was finishing up the adoption process with Zoey in India, I ended up going through multiple tests to find out why I'd been bleeding so badly in India," she revealed on the episode. "And it turns out I have a form of cancer called gestational trophoblastic neoplasm — stage three, which means that I had a rapidly growing tumor in my uterus."
Unfortunately, the bad news continued with the revelation that the cancer had spread; doctors also found three nodules in her lungs.
"When you first hear it, you hear 'cancer,' my heart sank. I felt nauseous," Klein said. "I didn't have control. There's nothing you can do. It scares the hell out of you."
The National Institutes of Health describes the disease as "a quick-growing form of cancer that occurs in a woman's uterus." The abnormal cells start in the tissue that would normally become the placenta during a pregnancy.
The rare cancer, which occurred after a failed pregnancy last fall, was complicated by the fact that Arnold has the bone-growth disorder skeletal dysplasia. Chemotherapy dosage levels had to be carefully adjusted due to her size.
But even after the grueling chemo process caused the mom of two to lose her hair, her adoring husband told her, "You don't need hair in order to look pretty. You're perfect. I thought you looked cute. Now I can see your ears."
Even in the face of Jen's dire health news, the couple vowed not to let the diagnosis overshadow the happy occasion of Zoey's adoption.
"That's what's getting me through this cancer diagnosis, is getting Zoey home and acclimated and continuing to watch Will grow," she said.
The positive attitude of the brave mom seems to have helped her. Last month the 39-year-old reality star told People that she had completed her last official chemo treatment: "And while I'm hesitant to say I'm cancer-free — maybe that's common for people who have had cancer — I'm doing great," she said. "Everything is moving in the right direction. I am very excited."
"The Little Couple" airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on TLC.