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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

  • Margaret S Profile

    I just finished chemo today (hooray!). When can I expect that eyebrows, lashes, and hair will grow back. I've been on Taxol for that last 4 treatments (A/C before that), if that matters. Thanks!

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3C Patient
    almost 7 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I've been done 6 months and have a few inches of hair. It's curly and looks like a real hairdo, not a chemo buzz! I took biotin supplements for a little while and also used biotin shampoo (Jason makes it). I feel like it helped. Once the eyebrows and eyelashes came in they were full and back...

      more

      I've been done 6 months and have a few inches of hair. It's curly and looks like a real hairdo, not a chemo buzz! I took biotin supplements for a little while and also used biotin shampoo (Jason makes it). I feel like it helped. Once the eyebrows and eyelashes came in they were full and back to normal within a week. Good luck!

      2 comments
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Congrats I'm so happy for you

      2 comments
  • Dr. Sheila Kutz Profile

    How do people get breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Amy O Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2001

      Agree with Ali. There are all kinds of things that may be in some way related and result in higher risk (gender, age, genetics, family history, race and ethnicity, no/later children, obesity, alcohol use, lack of exercise, use of hormones, etc) - but none of these cause cancer. You can do all...

      more

      Agree with Ali. There are all kinds of things that may be in some way related and result in higher risk (gender, age, genetics, family history, race and ethnicity, no/later children, obesity, alcohol use, lack of exercise, use of hormones, etc) - but none of these cause cancer. You can do all of these and never get cancer, or none of them and still get cancer. Do NOT feel guilty if you have cancer - nothing you did caused it. However, an overall healthy lifestyle can definitely reduce your risk for cancer, as for many other potential health problems.

      Comment
    • Ali S Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Bad luck?? I did all the right things to avoid it (according to statistics) and it's not in my family. But then I found a lump at age 31.

      Comment
  • Julie Ren Profile

    Can you get breast cancer if you get your breast enlarged?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 1 answer
    • Ana Naluh Andrade Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Not because of the breast enlargement! But, yes, even with the enlargements you can get BC.

      Comment
  • Tracy Stoops Profile

    I am starting AC chemo next Monday Oct 17. I have had bouts with nausea since my surgery (double with recon expanders) and also have thrush. I would appreciate any suggestions for not getting sick, not losing my hair, and not making the thrush worse....

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 3 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Tracy,
      I would definitely check in with your oncologist (TODAY) before you start your chemotherapy since you are experiencing symptoms like this.

      With AC, you will lose your hair. Mine starting coming out in clumps at day 14. My scalp tingled and hurt so I shaved my head. You might look...

      more

      Tracy,
      I would definitely check in with your oncologist (TODAY) before you start your chemotherapy since you are experiencing symptoms like this.

      With AC, you will lose your hair. Mine starting coming out in clumps at day 14. My scalp tingled and hurt so I shaved my head. You might look into a "cold cap". (ask your oncologist) I have heard mixed reviews. Chances are, you will have to face the fact, you will lose your hair. Go wig shopping now. Losing my hair was very tough but, in the big picture, this was just one of the many things I had to face after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
      Here is a link to read about the use of cold caps.
      http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/hair_skin_nails/cold-caps
      As for nausea, you will be given several drugs to help prevent nausea. I took a drug called "Emend". Try to stay hydrated, and eat whatever sounds good to you. Most people develop some pretty weird combinations during AC treatment as it changes your sense of taste. I craved "greens" like spinach, salads. The other things I ate, were fried egg sandwiches, and "Hot Pockets". Things just tasted weird. They will return to normal after you are through with AC.
      Your first treatment will be your longest. Take all of your comfort items with you. All your electronic devices will help pass the time. Take snacks, water, a blanket, whatever brings you comfort. I hope you have a port as it makes the administration of your treatment much easier.
      Listen to your body. If you need to take a nap, do it. Stay away from crowds because your immune system is lowered. Wash your hands and keep your hands away from your face. I felt very tired and achy for about 4 to 5 days after my treatment. I gradually returned to feeling normal after that. I never felt horrible. I was out of commission for a week, like I had the flu with body aches..... not nausea. I have 7 horses so was able to take care of them just fine. That was me, and how I felt. Everybody is different. ASK QUESTIONS OF YOUR ONCOLOGIST'S OFFICE! That is what they are there for. Don't think your questions are dumb. Be your own best advocate. You will get through this. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      All of your questions may or may not occur. I was given an antinausea med prior to each infusion and also had 'scripts for 2 different ones to take at home as needed. You need to take it before you get nauseated as they won't work once the nausea has hit. As to hair loss most if not all women...

      more

      All of your questions may or may not occur. I was given an antinausea med prior to each infusion and also had 'scripts for 2 different ones to take at home as needed. You need to take it before you get nauseated as they won't work once the nausea has hit. As to hair loss most if not all women experience some sort of hair loss, I had mine short prior to and when I started losing it had my hairdresser shave off what was left and went with a hat while in public and wore nothing around the house. My friend developed thrush with her treatments and her oncologist prescribed something for it as mouth sores can occur also with chemo. Talk with your team and see what the recommendations are as they all have their own protocols.

      Comment

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