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Jan's Story

About her story

"I am one woman among hundreds of thousands of women who are learning to be courageous, and to overcome, and to live in the face of cancer."

Jan was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in June 2009 after undergoing a routine bone scan for an unrelated injury. A wife and mother, Jan described her initial diagnosis as a complete shock.

"I remember just the sensation of having the wind sucked out of my lungs, a sucker punch, or something that stops you mid-stride," says Jan about her diagnosis. "And then as you begin to breathe again, there's this one million questions that circle your mind. "

Realizing that her family needed her and that she had some things she still wanted to accomplish, Jan decided to fight. Her touching story of survival and hope is an inspiration to anyone facing the difficult journey of breast cancer.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    I don't understand what breast cancer is.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      This is from Breastcancer.org.

      Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. To better understand breast cancer, it helps to understand how any cancer can develop.

      Cancer occurs as a result of mutations, or abnormal changes, in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of...

      more

      This is from Breastcancer.org.

      Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. To better understand breast cancer, it helps to understand how any cancer can develop.

      Cancer occurs as a result of mutations, or abnormal changes, in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells and keeping them healthy. The genes are in each cell’s nucleus, which acts as the “control room” of each cell. Normally, the cells in our bodies replace themselves through an orderly process of cell growth: healthy new cells take over as old ones die out. But over time, mutations can “turn on” certain genes and “turn off” others in a cell. That changed cell gains the ability to keep dividing without control or order, producing more cells just like it and forming a tumor.

      A tumor can be benign (not dangerous to health) or malignant (has the potential to be dangerous). Benign tumors are not considered cancerous: their cells are close to normal in appearance, they grow slowly, and they do not invade nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors are cancerous. Left unchecked, malignant cells eventually can spread beyond the original tumor to other parts of the body.

      The term “breast cancer” refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. Usually breast cancer either begins in the cells of the lobules, which are the milk-producing glands, or the ducts, the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple. Less commonly, breast cancer can begin in the stromal tissues, which include the fatty and fibrous connective tissues of the breast.

      Over time, cancer cells can invade nearby healthy breast tissue and make their way into the underarm lymph nodes, small organs that filter out foreign substances in the body. If cancer cells get into the lymph nodes, they then have a pathway into other parts of the body. The breast cancer’s stage refers to how far the cancer cells have spread beyond the original tumor (see Stages of Breast Cancer table for more information).

      Breast cancer is always caused by a genetic abnormality (a “mistake” in the genetic material). However, only 5-10% of cancers are due to an abnormality inherited from your mother or father. About 90% of breast cancers are due to genetic abnormalities that happen as a result of the aging process and the “wear and tear” of life in general.

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      It's a plague that kills way to many people. 1 in 8 women will be touched by breast cancer. I don't know how many men are affected wvery year. It's mazing what you can tolerate when your life is on the line. My montra is "my canceris pink but my will is iron."

      Comment
  • celien thorne Profile

    I'm facing My first round of chemo at end of April .. Does one gain weight from the steroids ? Should I try to loose a few pounds before just in case ? I heard weight gain attributes to estrogen levels increasing .. I'm estrogen and Her2 positive ,...

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    over 7 years 11 answers
    • View all 11 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Celien, I'm sorry to hear about you diagnosis. Most of us here have been in your shoes. Yes, steroids given during chemo can make you gain weight. I gained weight, but some women don't. My Onc. Told me she'd rather see me gain than lose. I'm estrogen positive as well...but HER neg. I have two...

      more

      Hi Celien, I'm sorry to hear about you diagnosis. Most of us here have been in your shoes. Yes, steroids given during chemo can make you gain weight. I gained weight, but some women don't. My Onc. Told me she'd rather see me gain than lose. I'm estrogen positive as well...but HER neg. I have two more radiation treatments left & I'll begin slowly getting the weight off. I really don't think it's a good idea to lose weight before chemo. But I'd ask your Oncologist for their advice.

      Comment
    • Nikol Vega Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      For me the steroids helped me keep the weight on, chemo would have had me frail thin.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    How is breast cancer linked to ovarian cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 1 answer
  • lori simas Profile

    I have been diagnosed with breast cancer and I am freaking out... Is it bad to research on-line?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis! I heard that Beyond the Shock was created specifically to help you to get beyond the shock of diagnosis. The informational videos were created with a team of medical experts, so the information you get from these is legitimate. I would recommend...

      more

      I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis! I heard that Beyond the Shock was created specifically to help you to get beyond the shock of diagnosis. The informational videos were created with a team of medical experts, so the information you get from these is legitimate. I would recommend watching these (http://beyondtheshock.com/learn). It is okay to be wary of some information that you get online, but there are some good sites such as nbcf.org and cancer.org.

      Hope this helps!

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Lori, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I have breast cancer as well. I was diagnosed on May 19th of this year. It's a shock when you first find out and scary. There are so many advances in medicine and SO many resources out there for us! As far as going to the web...there are some...

      more

      Hi Lori, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I have breast cancer as well. I was diagnosed on May 19th of this year. It's a shock when you first find out and scary. There are so many advances in medicine and SO many resources out there for us! As far as going to the web...there are some great sites that have a wealth of information and some to steer clear of. A few of the good legitimate sites I recommend are breastcancer.org (my fav which has great medical info as well as discussion boards to be able to get support and useful info from other women that have been in our shoes) , komen.org, and cancer.org. Those are my three fav. Your local American cancer society is a great source as well. They can send you packets of info and so much more including getting involved with a support group so you can be able to share how you're feeling with other women. I hope this has helped you.
      I wish you all the best in your journey,

      Diana

      Comment

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