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Meet Beautiful Janet! What can I say about this wonderful woman! She is a TRUE fighter! She’s suffered so much, life has dealt her a bad hand. You’d think she’d question her faith and God. But she remains positive through it all! She does this for the immense love she has for her daughter! Being a single mother I can’t even imagine having cancer and trying to care for a child at the same time! BUT she manages! I am sure her daughter is proud to have such a warrior for a mother! She even had the courage to allow me to take pictures of her warrior scars! What a brave woman! Please read more of her amazing story below :
On July 27, 2012 at 1:27pm my world was turned upside down for that was when a nurse told me that I had Breast Cancer. I was a single mother of a beautiful 10 daughter living in Charlotte NC with no family close by. When I was diagnosed I was at Stage II but two weeks later when I saw my Oncologist for the first time my cancer had progressed and I was then at Stage IV. At the time I was diagnosed, I thought my life was so on track. I had just moved to Charlotte in 2010 after being recruited for a dream job in a male dominated field (I was a stock broker), we had moved into our condo, Arianna had finally gotten use to her new surrounding, my divorce was in the works……Arianna and I were really happy.
My diagnosis completely blindsided everyone in my family, Arianna and I had just returned from a family reunion where I had seen my mother and the rest of her extended family. My Cancer wasn’t found by discovering a lump in my Breast for my tumor was only 1cm large and was very deep within my breast tissue, however the cancer had broken through the tumor wall and gotten in my Lymph nodes and was spreading fast. I did monthly exams and got regular mammograms (it just wasn’t time for my 2012 exam). My cancer was discovered because my arm started swelling from my elbow to my wrist. I had seen my doctor at the time (which was a female) in April who dismissed my arm swelling as water weight. I felt that wasn’t right and changed doctors but didn’t push the arm swelling until it continued in July. My new doctor was very persistent about what he felt was wrong and even called me at home to push the mammogram……I owe him my life.
Once diagnosed my concerns turned to Arianna more than myself…..What was going to happen to my daughter? Who was going to care for her, HOW was I going to take care of her? I became a mother late, I was 39 when I had Arianna. It was the BEST blessing I could have received, I was 4 months when I found out I was pregnant after being told I could not have children and I am so proud to be a mother. My daughter is my number one priority, she is the reason I fight EVERYDAY, I will walk through fire for her.
Having cancer and being a single parent period is the hardest journey anyone can endure, it brings about soooo many challenges as well as concerns. I have been very honest with her from day one, as soon as I found out I came straight home and told her. Her first response was “Why us” and I responded “Why not us, God picked us to walk this road for a reason. I don’t know why yet but just know that not everyone can do this but we were picked.” She has never asked me why again. I heard her tell one of her friends one day when they asked her how she handled having a sick mom and she responded with such conviction “I don’t worry because God’s got this”…..talk about a “mommy proud” moment. I know it has been hard on her as far too many times she has been my caregiver instead of a child. And all I want is for her to have a normal life.
After a year of what I thought was COMPLETE HELL, chemo made me so sick I was in the hospital after my first three treatments (which brought about a whole new concern, “who was going to care for my daughter for a week while I was in the hospital?” Sometimes I had no one and I would leave after 2 or 3 days because I had no place for her to go). I would be so sick I was confined to my bed, I could not care for my daughter. The chemo was tearing my body apart so they would switch me to different chemo medication several times until I was placed on maintenance chemo in January 2013 which I currently still take. I had one treatment of the maintenance chemo, took a nap, woke up and I couldn’t feel my hands or my feet…..I had developed severe Neuropathy, I had such nerve damage that the nerves weren’t even firing anymore in my feet. It can be so bad at times that I’m confined to the bed before dusk everyday.
From the moment they told me I had Breast Cancer, I knew I wanted BOTH of my Breast removed even though my cancer was only on the right side. On April 14th, 2013 I received a double Mesectomy, on April 13th, 2014 I received my breast implants. In addition to my mesectomy, I have had tumors in my brain twice (the first being June 2013 and then again in December 2014) for which I received radiation for, I had to have surgery on my MCL as well as a partial knee replacement. I had to have emergency back surgery to have several disc fused and a mass removed that was pressing on a nerve in my back rendering my leg unusable.
I know that I will be on chemo for the rest of my life, if I stop chemo my tumors come back. The damage to the nerves in my hands and feet is suppose to repair itself a year or two after I stop chemo. Since that will NEVER happen, I will never regain that feeling, never wear REAL shoes, never walk normal or like a lady should. But regardless of how poor I feel my quality of life is one thing for sure…..I’M STILL HERE!!!!! STILL HERE to watch my daughter grow up, laugh with my mom and do my best to leave my mark on this world.