Last time Jillian Owens posted on Instagram, it was to tell her 22,000 followers that her doctor had removed a tumor (which she had named Clyde) from one of her ovaries. In the caption, Owens, who runs the thrifting and fashion blog Refashionista, said she was hoping for the best. But in a blog post on Tuesday, she confirmed the worst: Owens has been diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer.  

“I’m a healthy person. I eat right. I exercise,” Owens writes. “The cashier at the grocery store frequently comments on how healthy my food choices are (a little weird, right?). Mr. Refashionista makes fun of me for the gross-looking (but healthy!) fruit and veggie smoothies I make every morning. I try to eat lots of nutritious antioxidant-rich foods. In my mind there was no way that tumor was cancer.”

Owens says the cancer has spread to one of her lymph nodes, but there are still a number of tests ahead to learn more about the specifics of her condition. It will likely require chemotherapy, she writes, but she will continue posting on her blog to the best of her ability.


A post shared by REFASHIONISTA | Est. 2010 (@therefashionista) on

“Refashionista isn’t going to suddenly become a blog that’s all about cancer, although I will be sharing news and my thoughts on that front, as well as how my treatment is going. But I don’t want an illness to be what defines me,” she continues. “I’ll still be refashioning thrifted duds and home goods from frump to fab (hopefully for a very very long time). There may be times when I have to take breaks, but I’ll always come back when I can.”

Owens created Refashionista in 2010, where she writes about DIY-ing thrifted clothes into more fashionable pieces. Over 16,000 people subscribe to her blog, and her most recent post is flooded with more than 250 comments sharing messages of hope and sorrow at the news.

“Jillian, I have been following you for years, and feel like I know you,” one reader wrote in the comments. “You always make me laugh. Please lean on your family, friends and followers now. If good wishes mean anything, you will beat this."