Meet my friend Janet, a young, single Mom to Hannah and Alexander, who works as a hairdresser, and enjoys gourmet cooking and volunteering at her church. For the past six years, Janet has learned and continues to learn what it means to live, and live well with breast cancer. She credits her faith, along with the support of her church family, community, and family members for bringing her to a place where she can look back, and describe her personal experience as a “tremendous blessing.”
Janet smiles as she recalls how she used to tell herself that nothing bad would ever happen to her because she didn’t have the family, the support system, or the adequate insurance coverage for such an event. As a healthy, self-employed woman in her early 30s, it was actually much easier to secure life insurance than it was to secure health insurance. And, then, one early Sunday morning as she dressed for church, she discovered a small lump in her right breast. The next six years would see Janet receiving and continuing to receive aggressive surgeries and treatments meant to arrest and stun the unwelcome cells that have traveled to other parts of her body, so she can continue to live her life to the fullest, doing what she enjoys most, rearing her children.
“I don’t regret one moment of the past six years,” says Janet, “The good certainly outweighs the bad. The one thing I ever really wanted was to be able to be home with my kids, and I am. That is a blessing. Also, I know what it’s like to enjoy and really experience a full day of real satisfaction. I appreciate it so much.”
Although Janet was an active member of her church congregation prior to her diagnosis, she didn’t see herself as one with a particularly strong sense of spirituality.
“You know, just knowing that people are out there praying for you and for your family, lifting you up in prayer, is humbling and calming. It allows you a sense of peace when making the decisions you need to make.
“This journey is definitely one God and I are taking together,” says Janet, “Today, I think, all He ever wanted me to do was to depend on Him, and put everything in His hands.”
Over the past six years, Janet has experienced her share of miracles, from beating statistical odds, to being the recipient of community-wide love and support.
“St. Peter’s [Episcopal Church] came to my rescue. They put food on my table, provided Christmas for my children, transportation, finances, physical support and prayer. The community did the same. Cynthia Hill, Jeana Flannery and Brandon Horack pulled together a fundraiser within days so I could receive an emergency surgery. I have been continuously provided for over the past six years, and am blessed with so many good people in my life.”
On the subject of spirituality and living with cancer, the one thing Janet wants others to know is the importance of letting go, and allowing God to be in charge of everything, including, outcomes.
“I win if I get to go Home, and I win if I get to stay here. Either way, I don’t lose.”
Janet looks forward to crossing the finish line with her daughter Hannah, when they walk together this November in the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk in Dallas.
Walk On Sister!
Carpe Diem Y’all, Michele