"That's not my style - to make big waves - but this is much bigger," Jaecks said, sitting on the porch of her Seward Park home.
It might be one thing if it was a style choice for Jaecks to want to swim topless in public. It's a whole different thing when you realize it's because of what happened last year.
"I found it on a self breast exam. It was just a lump in my right breast," she said. "When I felt the lump I knew that it was. I felt like it was cancer, so I think inside I was already braced for it."
That was 15 months ago. Rounds of chemo followed, along with a double mastectomy. Jaecks said she made the choice to have both breasts removed over the fear the cancer could come back. Reconstructive surgery was something she just wasn't interested in.
"It was an empowering decision for me," Jaecks said. "I didn't choose to have cancer but I could choose what I wanted to do about it."
After the cancer was gone, Jaecks focused on recovering and getting her strength and fitness back. Being active was always a part of life for the Illinois native, who moved to Seattle in 1991. Staying active, doctors said, would be crucial.
A facilitator in an after-breast cancer class at Swedish Medical Center suggested Jaecks try swimming as a way to help heal. She recommended the city's indoor facility at Medgar Evers Pool in the Central District.
"She knew that it was less chlorinated than other pools in the city and that it was one of the warmer pools, and both of those things appealed to me," Jaecks said.
Jaecks visited the pool, spoke to the manager, and then went to a bathing suit shop to find something that wouldn't be too painful on the scar near her collarbone where doctors administered her chemotherapy.
"I looked at one-piece suits. I looked at bikinis, hoping that there would be one that was made for a flat-chested woman. I looked at rash guard tops. I looked at men's triathlon tops," Jaecks said. "I just got really depressed. I spent an hour there trying things on, and thought, this is stupid. Accept the new me and I'll just wear my swimsuit bottoms."
Jaecks spoke to a staffer at the pool, who didn't have an issue with her intent to swim topless. Neither did the assistant manager, who wanted to clear it with the pool manager. Eventually, Jaecks says, she spoke with Kathy Whitman, aquatics manager for the city parks department, who told her that despite the fact that she no longer had breasts, she would still have to cover up.
"She said the parks and recreation policy was gender-appropriate clothing. I thought it was ridiculous because it threw it into a gender/ sex identity issue," Jaecks said. "If I called myself a man and walked into that pool they would have no problem with my body, but if I am a woman who's had breast cancer with the exact same body and I go in there then it was offensive or inappropriate. I just thought that was ludicrous."
Jaecks told her story to the Stranger, which published her story Wednesday, along with a photo of Jaecks in a bathing suit topless. The picture, along with "new information," caused the city's parks department to reverse its decision, spokeswoman Dewey Potter wrote in a statement.
The city, Potter said, would allow Jaecks to swim topless. Other surgery patients would be examined "on a case by case basis."
"After looking at the situation again," said Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Christopher Williams in a statement, "I decided to reconsider based on the circumstances of the case. Our original concern stems from our responsibility to accommodate the needs of all our patrons. In this case I see nothing that might alarm the public."
"I think our staff were correct to follow our policy at the time the earlier decision was made," the statement continued.
Jaecks said she never did go swimming - covered or topless - at the pool, and considers the city's reversal a band aid for a much bigger problem.
"Everybody knows somebody that has had cancer. It's just so prevalent in our society and we should be so far beyond when people feel shameful," she said. "I think it does throw it back on the individual for them to feel self-conscious or shameful to ask them special permission.
"This isn't about me; this is about making a rational, accepting decision to embrace the reality of the human circumstance."