Janet is an amazing woman and a patient of mine whom I deeply admire. Today she shares her breast cancer story – from the moment she “got the call” while in the checkout line at the grocery store, through her treatment and beyond. If you know someone who could use a little guidance or encouragement in their own path, please pass this on.
Janet, please share a little about yourself.
I’m a 51-yr old healthy woman. I was a retail store manager for most of my working career. I have also had several businesses. I was a personal assistant and an organizer. I have been a stay at home mom for the last 13 years. I have a 26-year-old stepdaughter and 2 sons that are 8 and 13. I enjoy cooking, yoga, walking, gardening, flower arranging and travel. I have always practiced living a healthy lifestyle.
When and how did you find out that you had breast cancer?
I found out I had breast cancer after a routine mammogram. I will never forget the day I was diagnosed. I was in line at Whole Foods when I got the call. I had to ask the physician to call me back. I knew what she was about to tell me by the tone of her voice.
What emotions did you feel at that time?
My initial feeling was for my family. How would my husband and children survive without me? I was in shock. How could I have cancer? I never smoked, I was not overweight, I ate healthy and I exercised!
This was a very emotional time. I cried a lot. The day I found out, my husband and I felt it was very important to tell our children. We were all in this together.
Please tell us a little about your treatment plan.
My treatment plan was fairly standard. I started with 6 rounds of chemotherapy. I went to an infusion center once a week for six weeks. I now felt like I had cancer. My hair fell out and I had a lot of side effects from the chemo.
One month later I had surgery. I had a unilateral mastectomy using my own tissue from my stomach. I recovered extremely well from surgery and had no complications. When the results were read from the lymph nodes that were removed my doctors recommended radiation. I had been through so much I did not think I would have to do this too. I did 5 weeks of radiation, this was a daily treatment.
Throughout the process and beyond, you have supplemented with natural therapies. What has helped the most?
I used a supplement and diet regimen that Dr. Taz recommended. I believe the one supplement that helped the most was the Glutagenics which is a powerful gastrointestinal lining support. I avoided mouth sores because I was using this supplement. I believe this dietary supplement helped my body tolerate my treatment.
I would suggest to anyone who has cancer to take the supplements, diet and lifestyle recommendations from Dr. Taz to help get through treatment. I also did several vitamin drips that helped my immune system stay strong.
How has your outlook on life changed?
My outlook on life has changed dramatically. One of my mantras is, “don’t sweat the small stuff”. In the past I let stress consume me. I have a different attitude today. I have started doing yoga again. I surround myself with positive people. I try to keep negativity as far away as I can.
I thank God daily for all the blessings I have received since I was diagnosed with cancer. I had an amazing medical team, a community of family and friends that helped me get through the tough times.
If you could give one piece of advice to new cancer patients what would it be?
This is a tough question. I think the best advice is to take help from others. When you are faced with a battle you need an army to help you. As the saying goes, “it takes a village”. I do not know what I would have done without all the help I received. If I could add one additional piece it would be to stay positive. I had days that I did not feel great but I stayed positive and it made all the difference.
I feel that having the support of an integrative medicine doctor like Dr. Taz helped me get through my battle with breast cancer. I had a wonderful oncologist, surgical oncologist, plastic surgeon and radiation oncologist. They were the part of my team to get rid of my cancer. Dr. Taz is on my team to help me make sure the cancer does not come back and to help me keep my immune system functioning to the fullest.
If you’d like to share a piece of your story or a word of encouragement, we would love to hear. Just leave a comment below.