Jen Arnold and Bill Klein of TLC's The Little Couple consistently prove just how strong they each are. The couple advocates for little people and their show has opened the doors to having an open dialogue about dwarfism — so what kind of dwarfism does Jen have? Of course, no person should be defined by a medical condition. As the Little People of America's FAQ page states, "Such terms as dwarf, little person, LP, and person of short stature are all acceptable, but most people would rather be referred to by their name than by a label." In a lot of ways, it is sad that it must be outlined that someone like Jen should just be called Jen (or Dr. Arnold), but I also acknowledge that it's natural to wonder about her dwarfism, especially if you've followed her life on TLC's show for the last seven seasons.
On Jen and Bill's website, it says that Jen is 3 foot 2 inches and has a similar type of dwarfism to her husband Bill — her's being a "rare type of dwarfism called Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia Type Strudwick." She's had more than 30 surgeries and there have been other medical obstacles (like deciding whether or not to have a baby) due to her condition that she has faced over the years. And now she is advocating for her two adorable children Will and Zoey, who were adopted, but also have types of dwarfism.
Not one to let anything bring her down, Jen is an accomplished physician and wonder woman. She battled cancer this past year after being diagnosed with stage 3 choriocarcinoma, which is a rare cancer that occurs in a woman's uterus. The cancer began in Sept. 2013 but thankfully, she has been in remission since Feb. 2014.
Although her cancer was not a result of her dwarfism, her condition did complicate the treatment of it. Her physician Dr. Concepcion R. Diaz-Arrastia, told People, "We wanted to avoid surgery in her case because of her shortened airway and the difficulties she has had in the past with surgeries . . . But we felt we had no choice. The disease was not responding to chemotherapy. We had to [perform a hysterectomy] in order to save her life."
In the CNN Red Chair Interview video above, Jen discussed her and Bill's initial hesitation of doing a TV show about being little people. "I think once we felt comfortable with our production company that it would be a show that's positive, educational, and hopefully, just levels the playing field so that being a little person is no longer a difference, that people would see us just for who we are," she said.
I think it's safe to say that Jen has succeeded in that mission of being seen for much more than her appearance and as she continues to advocate for her family, fans of The Little Couple will be cheering her on.